Gotcha Day

Dear Baxter,

Today is a special day. Your Gotcha Day. One year ago you came to live with us.

I know you’re a low-key guy who doesn’t like a whole lot of fuss, but this is a special occasion.

When Matt and I started looking for a dog to join our family, you were the only one who stood out. You looked out at me through the computer screen with your floppy velvet ears and your dark worried eyes, and something clicked.

My dog Baxter's profile on Petfinder

I wasn’t sure Matt would like you as much as I did, but he agreed that we could try to adopt you.

As soon as we brought you home, Matt and I both fell in love.

I realize now looking back at pictures of your first day that you were a little unsure.

Baxter on his first day with us

I saw some small changes in you in the first few months as you adjusted to life at the farm, but it seemed like it took next to no time for you to fall in love with us too. At night when you sometimes have your squeaky twitchy dreams, I hope that you’re chasing rabbits and not remembering something not nice from before. I want only good things for you.

I love that you’re such an easy-going fellow who likes to be with us, whatever we’re doing. You’re content to lay on the grass (or dig a hole in the dirt) and hang out with me while I weed the gardens. You’re also happy to sunbathe in front of the dining room window while Matt works in his office. You’re good at keeping me company in the kitchen while I’m cooking dinner, and you know exactly where you have to lay down to get samples every so often.

When we’re not home, we know that you’ll keep a good eye on things around the house. I don’t even mind that every so often you and the pillows have a party on my bed. Matt and I sometimes make fun of you for sleeping 23 hours of the day, but we really do like how relaxed you are. You definitely make things easy for us.

We realized exactly how easy you are when we started going to doggy class a month ago. I know you don’t get to be the example dog very often, but that’s only because you won’t misbehave and help the trainer show us what to do.

Dog training class

Now that we’ve progressed to off-leash lessons, you’re going to have to work a lot harder, bud. You’re such an independent dude, confident to do your own thing. But last year’s three run-away incidents are quite enough. I hope that you’re able to learn how to focus and ignore your nose a little bit more.

Dog training class

It was pretty much a gong show trying to get four dogs to sit together on a park bench, but everyone worked so hard for this picture that I had to include it, even though you haven’t got your footing.

Classes have also helped me realize what a people person you are. Not every dog would make the effort to greet all of the people as well as each of the dogs the way you do. At the dog park, you meet everyone, whether they have two legs or four. Whenever new people want to say hi, that makes you very happy. The trainer thought you might have potential as a therapy dog.

Baxter at Christmas

One of the neatest things you’ve given me this past year, Baxter, is getting to know a different side of Matt. I knew he was a loving, caring person. But watching him with you is very special. He’ll do pretty much anything to make sure you’re safe and healthy and happy. And you love him just as much as he loves you. You give him your best helicopter tail when he comes home and work so hard to say your very best speak when he asks you to. Sure sometimes I feel left out when you do your manly dude things together, but seeing the bond between the two of you is pretty amazing.

Baxter looking for his best bud

As I was writing this letter, I thought back to this time last year when I was begging our rescue organization to let us adopt you. At the time, I thought my heartfelt pleas were because I’m not good at taking no for an answer. Now, I realize it’s because we were meant to be together.

Happy Gotcha Day, bud.

Love,
Julia

Later this week you’ll hear from the dude himself.

Baxter’s adoption story

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10 thoughts on “Gotcha Day

  1. I’ve never heard of this site before. I think it’s a wonderful idea. There are so many terrific dogs out there that deserve a great home!

  2. Such a beautiful post about Baxter. Congratulations to you and him. He is such a special dog, and such a loved dog. I didn’t realize you have only had him a year. And I’m also glad to hear he is about as lazy as my dog. Ace is soooo laid back at home, we make fun of him as well for sleeping all the time. But as you said, that makes them easier 🙂

    • Thanks, Lindsay. Yours was one of the first blogs I found when we got Baxter. Your posts are very helpful and encouraging as we find our way together. Matt and I have been joking that given he’s only 3 1/2, by the time he’s Ace’s age he’ll be comatose!

  3. Aw, that is such a gorgeous post! Baxter is such a love, and it’s been a real pleasure having a little window onto your journey together. The way you describe him at the doggy class reminds me so much of our dog, Bear. Incredibly laid back, super friendly, but once off-leash, if he catches a scent, he’s gone – nothing gets through to him at that point!

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