A year of couch cuddles and adventures with Hattie

We’re coming up on one year with Hattie (formerly Penelope), and in the spirit of counting our blessings, we felt moved to write about the amazing first year she’s had in her forever home. Even though we weren’t the first or even the second family on the waiting list to adopt her, we think she was destined to be with us.     

Hattie started out as a reservation rescue, with a broken hip, a puppy in tow, and a lot of fear. AAC and her wonderful foster mom, Kelly, nursed her through two surgeries and gave her the love and patience she needed to transition from living outdoors in a literal hole in the ground to becoming a happy, healthy house dog.

When we met her, she was recovering from her latest surgery and was still very mistrustful of strangers. And we were still grieving the death of our two senior dogs who had both passed within the last six months. After we fed her an entire package of treats, one bite at a time, she showed us that there was a warm and loving dog underneath the nerves. If we could earn her trust she would be an amazing friend and help us heal from the sadness.

She made the trip from Jackson Hole to Salt Lake City very quietly, and shook with fear when we brought her into our home for the first time. But little by little, she opened up and eventually became my little shadow, following me around the house and yard, and napping for hours on the coziest spot available – next to my desk in our home office. It took her a little longer to trust my husband, but fast forward a few months, and he became THE best play buddy – the only person she will really let loose and wrestle with.

Also in her first days home, she made a frenemy (our cat, Duncan), who is always a competitor for the best lap spots. She was introduced to our horses and chickens, and immediately accepted these funny creatures as part of her new life. She met the neighbor dog, Lucy, who is now a regular visitor for a quick session of chase. She learned the joys of hiking and is now the perfect trail dog, exploring nature while being respectful of other hikers, dogs, and even a pair of hiking goats we met on the trail one day. She has learned so much in the past year: how to find the absolute coziest spot on the couch, the unadulterated joy of splashing around in a lake, how to sit quietly so you don’t tip the kayak, how to keep pace alongside my bike for daily runs down the road, how to be an office dog with my husband at Traeger Grills HQ, how to deal with a million different strangers in our home during months of noisy home renovations, but best of all, she’s learned that she doesn’t have to be afraid of everyone and everything around her. She has learned to trust, and though she may always be more shy, she is willing to reach out to make friends where previously would run away.

Best of all, we’ve gained the absolute cuddliest and most loving friend. She is happiest when she is snuggled up between us on the couch, and we are so happy to have a dog that fits perfectly into our lives and allows us to have a peaceful homestead. She continues to provide us great comfort and joy through some hard personal losses that we’ve experienced this year.

One year and a million sloppy kisses and cuddles later, we can’t thank the AAC and Hattie’s foster mom enough for giving her the best possible care to become healthy and ready for us to welcome her into our lives. A dog with her injuries may have been euthanized at another shelter, so we feel incredibly grateful she landed at a place willing to put the time and money into making her whole again. We take adoption very seriously and consider the commitment to our animals as lifelong, so it was very important that we found a dog who was the right fit. Not many organizations have such an enlightened outlook on foster-to-adopt, and we were delighted they gave us the opportunity to make sure Hattie was perfect for us before we finalized the adoption. We feel extremely lucky to have found Hattie and are so thankful for all the wonderful people who help dogs like her transition into their new lives.