Diva D, Sweet Girl, Little Lady, and of course Dahlia, are a few names that my Catahoula responds to. Dahlia is my senior rescue (and foster fail). I write about her a lot, and her strength and growth never fail to amaze me.
Dahlia lived a pretty suppressed life for the first 8 years, used as a hunting dog, kept in a cage unless out on a hunt, and smacked around if she got in the way of anything, she had no reason to like or trust humans. When her hunting prime was over, she was hit with a car, breaking her leg in three spots and left in a ditch to die in the Florida heat.
That’s when two of my heroes, Eddy and Sherri-Lee sprang into action. They received a phone call, about Dahlia, and the person offered to shoot her, if they didn’t want to come and get her. Needless to say, they went to her and the rest is history………………………..
Sherri gave Dahlia her name, a name that is so suiting to her strong, beautiful personality. The Dahlia flower means:
•Staying graceful under pressure, especially in challenging situations
•Drawing upon inner strength to succeed
•Traveling and making a major life change in a positive way
•Standing out from the crowd and following your own unique path
•Staying kind despite being tested by certain life events
•Finding a balance between adventure and relaxation
It’s been almost three years since that call was made and Dahlia has had quite the adventure, after 6 hours of surgery and 4 months recovery at Eddy’s Dogs, she made the long drive from Florida to Mississauga for foster care and further rehabilitation. And two years later she drove from Mississauga, ON to Kamloops, B.C. with her mom and younger brother, Flipflop.
When I look at Dahlia today, that first month with her seems unreal. Is this really the same dog who would pee in fear if I looked at her? Is this really the same dog, that would only be able to walk on 4 paws for a few minutes and then would not be able to put weight on her back left? Was this really the same dog I thought I was failing as a foster parent and I thought she would do better in another foster home?
Even as I type this, she is siting beside me, looking up at me with so much love in her eyes. After just a few short months of living here, in B.C., everyone in my building knows her, everyone knows that she’s the sweet dog who wants all their attention! And fortunately, many indulge her. Those who didn’t know her when……would never believe the shell of a dog she once was. And those who met her then…..well now they marvel at what a different dog she is.
Dahlia is confident, happy, healthy (except her mom constantly has to put her on a diet! She’s a foodie like me!) and most importantly, she knows she is loved and safe.
And she loves to hike with Flipflop. She doesn’t do the crazy mountain cliffs like him, but she happily walks along beside me or slightly behind me. Stopping periodically to smell things along the way and then will run to catch up wth me. Dahlia is the only dog I know that prefers to be on a leash secured to her mom, then be off lead running around and enjoying freedom.
It makes me laugh at how happy she is when she’s off leash and I go to her and put her lead back on her. She looks up at me and smiles and dances. I often refer to her as the Benjamin Button of dogs, and with good reason.
About a month ago, Dahlia seemed to be showing her age, for the first time since I got her, she seemed like she was getting older and not younger. So I decided to introduce CBD oil into her diet. And a couple weeks later, my young dog was back! In fact yesterday, on our morning hike, she actually ran, a lot!! She did amazing and she’s back to playing with toys and wanting to bring them out on her walks and being my silly girl again.
I know eventually, there will be a day when Dahlia’s age will catch up to her, and nothing I do will bring back my Benjamin Button, and at that time I’ll do what I can to keep her happy and comfortable until she wishes to leave and join her big brother Dupont. But I hope that day is years away!
I couldn’t imagine a world without my Dahlia in it. Sherri and Eddy chose me as her foster mom, to help rehabilitate her and help her with her socialization. Dahlia picked me to be her mom and it is really an honour and a privilege to be the love of this Sweet Girl’s life.