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Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Have You Ever Had a ''Gotcha Day''?

We are suffering with the bitter cold moving into Wisconsin and the Midwest.  Tonight we are down to zero already and wind chills are in the 15 below range. The winds are going to kick up and drive them down to the 20-30 BELOW range. Brrrr then followed up by about 8-12 inches of snow arriving on the weekend. Geesh. We are cozied up with a fire tonight in the fireplace and no where to go. Winter is really here I guess.

As for the title... do you ever have a Gotcha Day?

We are celebrating the anniversary of TWO Gotcha Days this week.

It was a mere three years ago we had a Gotcha Day for our little Finney!!!  Yes, a Gotcha Day is an anniversary of the day we adopted our little sheltie from the Michigan Sheltie Rescue with the assistance of the Wisconsin Sheltie Rescue.

At that time we only had old Duke.  Since our silly Ducky collie had passed away the previous summer, he was slowing down and looking sad.  We applied to the Wisconsin Sheltie Rescue to find him a pal .

A little background: In June of 2013 a wicked lady name Jean had 38 shelties crammed in a mobile home in Midland, Michigan.  The neighbors reported her to the sheriff and they arranged to remove all the of animals from the horrid conditions.  I won't go into the details, but it was bad... really bad.  Including the two dead males stuffed into dog food bags in the hall... why?  Because they were ''fighting'' she said. Oh geesh.

The Michigan Sheltie Rescue took over caring for the malnourished sick and uncared for dogs, setting up temporary nursery stations because a lot of the female dogs were pregnant.  Soon they became 72 dogs when all the pups were born.  One of those pups was destined to become our Finnegan.  The pups were born with all kinds of health issues...  This particular pup had ''puppy strangles'' which are swollen cheeks and neck. It could cause failure to thrive and block the ability to swallow. Robin, the caregiver, had to get him and a few of his littermates some special medicine. This took months to heal so he was not adoptable until he reached the age of 5 months.

On Dec 14, 2013 we got the call that the Wisconsin Sheltie Rescue had a young male pup, age 5 months, coming in on a transport and our application had been approved. Our home was deemed suitable and we had experience with other two other rescue foster dogs years ago, from when I worked with the Green Bay Shetland Sheepdog Club.

The weather was raging with the start of a three day blizzard.  A wonderful transport volunteer named Ceora was driving back from doing business in the Lower Peninsula of Michigan and had the pup with her at a motel overnight. She planned to bring him up to her home in Marquette and then drive it down the next day to the Wisconsin Sheltie Rescue at Stockbridge Critter Sitters Boarding and Grooming.  Well,  the weather was only going to be worse on Sun and Mon so she said she would drive the pup as far south as she could on Sat... and could we drive up and meet her halfway?  About Menominee, MI was a good halfway point.  We grabbed a dog crate, a leash and harness and some snow gear.  Hopping into our four wheel drive Tracker, we headed out into the blizzard to get our new pup!

We met up at the predetermined place and they handed over this shivery little ball of legs and elbows, and HUGE ears!!!!  Yup, it was LOVE AT FIRST SIGHT!

We scooted back home with him to meet his new big brother Duke... we introduced them outside on neutral territory.  Well.. the old Duke needed a new buddy.  He instantly bonded with the pup and took him under his wing.

We took them inside and it was sniff sniff, and drink some water, share some food and then they started to PLAY!!!! Awwwwwwwww

The first night we kept little Finnegan in his crate, but we brought it up to the foot of our bed so he was in the same room. Duke laid down next to the crate with his fur touching the little pup, who laid with his back tight to Duke from the inside of the crate too. They were bonded.

The next morning (this is my FAVORITE pic) ...  we took him downstairs for potty outside and then a snuggle on the couch while I was still in my jammies. I swear the look on his face is a smile that says ''Wow! I wasn't dreaming after all!  I DO have a new family!''

They slept together, ate together, went outside together and back in... Duke taught him how to be a ''Good Dog''.

Duke taught him all the good stuff like fetch, tug, treat and how to dig through the big basket of toys to find just the right one.

Most of all, Duke had to show him the ropes about the MOTORHOME.. ya know---- that big moving house thing that when it stops, the door opens to a NEW place to sniff. Each time it stops, it is a new place to sniff and there isn't anything to be scared of.

He taught him how to get up the stairs into the motorhome, 
where the water dish goes next to the toilet
and best of all, 
which drawer the dog treats are kept in! 

Life went on for a year.... Finney grew into a fine young dog, and did everything with his buddy Duke.  But old Duke just could not make it much longer.  He was 12 and having congestive heart failure. He was slowing down. We knew the end was near. He was also having more and more seizures. It was time.

Our Dukie Palookie 
Nov 3, 2014

Six weeks went by.

Sunday, Dec 11, 2014 was our Gotcha Day for Binney.

Here is how it happened:

In that same hoarding situation, another dog was being fostered over in Michigan. This is what she looked like when they removed her from that awful place.

Our little Binney (then named Number 16) was skin and bones, and her hair was falling out. She was heartworm positive and needed a lot of gentle love and care.

Number 16 needed a lot of care, and special medicine to slowly kill off the worms wound through the muscles of her heart.  If you kill them off too fast, you kill the dog too.  It can take a year or more of the medicine to take care of it.  She was fostered out to a MSR member who took care of her and a few others dogs too in her home.  She was named Debbie, as in Debutant (being number sweet 16).  Awwwww  After a year, little Debbie was finally able to be adopted out.  The foster family was seriously thinking of keeping her, because she was such a little sweetheart, but long term illness struck their family and it was better to find homes for the foster dogs.

In came Ginny!  She is a gung ho Wisconsin Sheltie Rescue Transport volunteer who is full of energy, love and willingness to drive long distance to transport the dogs.  She buzzed on over to Lower Michigan and took those sweet three foster dogs and trotted them right back to Wisconsin where Lisa had homes pretty much all figured out for them.

What I didn't know, and Lisa usually does, is that we were READY for another dog in our home.  Yes, our old Duke has passed away and Finney was very lonely.  It had been six weeks.  Our hearts were broken over Duke being gone, and we were fawning all our attention on Finney. But he was hankering for canine companionship.  I made a play date for Finnegan to go play at Lisa's boarding kennel while I ran errands up in Appleton for the day.  I didn't know anything about Ginny bringing three new dogs to the Wisconsin Rescue until I got there to drop off Finnegan.  Well, that Lisa popped little Finney in the same crate with that Number 16 Debbie Debutante and they bonded instantly!

When I was done running errands in Appleton, I sat right down the floor and held that tiny shivering girl in my arms. Finney of course had to be right there too.  Lisa said the little Debbie needed a ''sleepover'' at our house because she was so scared and timid in the big noisy boarding kennel.
Bwhaahaaa what an excuse, eh?   I called Steve at work and asked him to swing by on his way home... stopping at the boarding kennel to check this out and see what he thought.  Hmmmmmm what do you think?

 Yes.. she came to a sleepover ... and never went back!  
This is from the first night, cuddled on the couch with me. 

We named her Binney.  Mostly we wanted a name for her that was close to Finney so when I called him, she would hopefully come too? We sometimes had said to Finney in the past:  ''Finney Binney, do not know what a Binney is....''    just for some silly reason we would say that to him.  Well, now we knew, it was the new name of his friend to come to live at our house! 

Binney Name Meaning. English (chiefly South Yorkshire): topographic name for someone who lived on land enclosed by a bend in a river, from Old English binnan ea 'within the river', or a habitational name from places in Kent called Binney and Binny, which have this origin.

She was very timid, emotionally damaged and high strung.. and would sometimes zone out, freeze in terror, or have flashbacks of the horrid place she came from.  When things frighten her, she will blindly run in any direction and not seem to hear or see us. That is why she can never ever be off a leash. We even double leash and harness her, just in case. She is easily frightened and even after two years of trying to socialize her, when meeting people, she just reverts back inside to a quivering bundle of nerves. 

Except for one granddaughter...  Chelsea.. who seems to bond with Binney and keep her comforted. From their first meeting, they have a special bond together. Actually both dogs do. They enjoy her visits and Binney does not run and hide in the corner or the closet like she does with other visitors. 

One time, not long after she came to live with us,  I heard Binney crying and whining in her sleep... and I looked over the edge of our bed. I saw Finney lean over and lick her face to calm her, and they both went back to sleep.  Yes, she needed us as much as we needed her. 

(they sleep at night together, alternating from one dog bed to the other,
and both get covered with little blankets that the grandkids made for them) 

We have talked with the folks in the Michigan Rescue and figured out that Finney's mom Daisy and our Binney are most likely sisters!!!! That makes Binney the Auntie and Finney the Nephew!

Daisy and Binney certainly seemed to recognize each other when we got them together at a later date. They are the exact same age and coloring, have the same mannerisms and quirks that their rough start in life bestowed on them.

Daisy on the left, Binney on the right

So our home has adapted to the loss of both Ducky and Duke..
and now we have these two goofballs
Finney and Binney.  

They are training us well.

We have made a big difference in their lives 
by adopting them to our home. 

And they have made a huge difference 
in our lives.  
I can not imagine us in a ''dog-less'' house.

Every day is full of exciting puppy fun
adventures and 

So this is a pretty good reason to celebrate these Gotcha Days! 

 Thank you to the 
Ginny and Ceora and Robin and Carol and Lisa
and all the other wonderful volunteers
for trusting these souls to our care. 

on edit... here is an article on where our dogs came from:
Seized shelties on the road to recovery


  1. Lots of Gotcha Days here too, but such a lovely story. Two very lucky dogs and so beautiful both of them. Blue certainly is their color! Hats off to all the folks who rescue too. It can be so heartbreaking.

    1. Yes, it breaks our hearts to not be able to save them all. Like any breed specific rescue, we learn the traits and special needs of the breed and try to place them in homes where they are understood and accepted. So as each dog is placed, they are taken in and cherished to live there forever. Shelties can be strong instinct driven as herding dogs, and need to gather, nip at heels and be on guard for strangers. It makes it hard to place a herding dog with a family which children.... and the dog is trying to herd the kids. Or if they place the gog in a home with animals like ducks, chickens or livestock that the dog feels they need to be herded. Dogs get returned to regular animal shelters for doing these things which are natural to their breed. That is why our breed rescue tries hard to place them in the right homes right away.

  2. LOVE LOVE LOVE this Karen and Steve <3 <3 and remembering Dukie Palookie too.......<3 Thanks for rescuing.......

  3. I am a soft touch for rescue dogs and cried when I read how frightened little Binney gets after all this time. We rescued a little border collie when we had no intention of getting another dog (we had just lost one two months earlier and were going full time) but the little gal wouldn't respond well to anyone but me. We had her for 14 years and I still cry when I think of what she must have gone through before she rescued us.

  4. I've read many times how people hoard pets but didn't realize they were that bad. Congratulations to you and Steve for bringing peace to these precious soul's lives.
    Be Safe and Enjoy!

    It's about time.

    1. Yup, it is sad when it gets out of control. But this lady was whacked. She talked about doing scientific experiments on the dogs. She was purposely breeding blue merle to blue merle, genetically resulting in blind and deaf dogs. They are all emaciated and full of worms and fleas. She was selling puppies at other locations so people could not see that her place was filthy. She had no running water, no food, and the dog crap on the floor was packed down many inches thick like a dirt floor. The sheriff could not stand the smell or the sight of these poor dogs. So glad the Michigan Sheltie rescue was called to come in and take them all out right away. She got charged with multiple felonies, but got off the hook saying she was incompetent to stand trial. Bet she is out there doing it again.

  5. Such beautiful dogs. It's cats that adopt us. :) We lost our last kitty at almost 16 yrs. old well over a year ago. I miss her & really don't want to get another cat, but I'm surprised one hasn't shown up at our door ready & willing to fill the vacant position. Finney & Binney are so lucky to have you and Steve.


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