Teeka, my Teeka

An update from Teeka’s adoptive Mom.

Teeka. Her name makes you think of the warm, sandy beaches of Tahiti. And it is Teeka, my honey-coloured Boston, who has made such a difference in the life of this very grateful senior.

She is the second Boston I’ve owned. Sadie, my first, passed away last February at the age of 10. She had come to live with me a few weeks after my husband’s passing, and I truly believe that he sent her to be my guardian angel. Sadie was a beautiful brindle with a vivacious personality and we were inseparable. My whole world revolved around her, and my entire family adored her.

When my little “sidekick” passed away, I didn’t know what to do. I became deeply depressed. At 74, I just wanted to be with Sadie. Getting out of bed each day was a chore, and without my constant friend by my side, life, for the next few months, didn’t hold much meaning for me.

Then, over the long weekend in May, I agreed to sit for Odie, my daughter Cheryl’s dog. When I stopped by the local vet to get his special food, I noticed one of the vet techs holding a precious little Boston who had just been spayed and was snoozing off the effects of the anesthetic.

I immediately fell in love with her and asked all about her. That was when I learned about BTRC and the many dogs they rescue, and I knew that I wanted to get involved. Since I don’t own a computer, my daughter used hers to help me fill out a foster application. I was contacted the next day, the wheels were set in motion, and on June 7th I became Teeka’s official foster mom. It seems she had been rescued from a puppy mill, and after undergoing patella surgery, she came home to me.

Although she was skinny and very skittish, I was thrilled to have a dog in my home again. To limit her activities following the surgery, I used a stroller, and she soon seemed to understand that I was there to help her and keep her safe. She would give me the odd lick, but she didn’t really show much affection. As the weeks passed, however, the bond and the love between us began to develop.

Being unfamiliar with the life of a puppy mill dog, I was saddened by how fearful Teeka was. She was afraid of stairs and of going through doorways. She was hand shy and didn’t know how to play or to be a real pet. She was 8 years old, and all she had ever known was life inside a kennel and mothering litters of puppies.

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As her leg healed over the summer, she became more active, mastering the art of potty training and growing more comfortable with her surroundings. She loved running in my yard and especially loved rolling around in the grass, which was still so foreign to her. Treats were a great motivator, and she would dance around the kitchen when she saw me heading for the treat jar.

She was so quiet that I’d never once heard her bark, until one August day, when she suddenly responded to the doorbell. I was so excited! She actually had a voice! I found myself ringing the doorbell myself, over and over, just to hear her beautiful “music”! We were becoming fast friends, and I soon realized that I could never let this little princess go. Teeka had my heart and I was hooked.

One of her favourite activities was bringing numerous stuffies and toys onto my bed and sleeping with them during the day. It was as if she was gathering up her babies and nesting. Every now and then, she would come out to check on me, exchange a few kisses and cuddles, then return to the bedroom. She slowly graduated to keeping me company in the living room, while I crocheted or worked on my Sudoku puzzles. She began bringing me her toys. She started curling up on my knee for lots of cuddle time, often falling asleep on my shoulder.

I could not believe the change in that little dog. With her confidence building daily, she grew more and more exuberant. She was not the same Teeka who had entered my world, skinny and skittish, in June. She had become my shadow and devoted companion.

Then, in September, two of my three daughters were diagnosed with cancer: one curable, one terminal. Life, as I knew it, had changed once again, bringing with it sadness and stress and many dark days. How thankful I was that I had adopted my precious Teeka. Where once I had helped her, she was now helping me, day by day, through a very difficult time. She was and is my comfort and my strength.

Thank you, BTRC, for the gift of Teeka, and for all of your wonderful rescue efforts.

Elaine Westmacott

Editor’s note: Sadly, Elaine’s daughter, Cheryl, recently passed away at the age of 55. Her dog, Odie, aged 9, passed within days.

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