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Happy gotcha day!


First day home
One year ago today, Mera joined us.  Coming from Mrs Murray's Cat & Dog Home in Aberdeen, all we knew was that she was an unclaimed stray.  We had no history on her at all.  She was chipped, so we knew she was just about to turn 2 years old. and that's all we knew.   No name, no background, nothing. 
Having passed a virtual home check, we were meant to collect her on the Saturday.  We met her and spent a good hour with her, and in that time, she didn't even look at us, let alone acknowledge us or interact with us. She wasn't a sad or nervous dog, she was just wholly disengaged.  Had no interest in entertaining this new couple who'd come in to see her. Was lovely with the kennel worker, but barely even glanced in our direction. 
Post 18 mile walk

I still knew she was for us. It was disappointing when the kennels said they couldn't let her leave until she'd been to the groomer - this was a 120 mile round trip to collect this wee dug - and now they were saying to come back Tuesday.  I got it.  I'm pretty sure it was to give us a cooling off period, and say we wouldn't be going back for her.  The next few days, Mr No Books wasn't sure we were doing the right thing.  He thought she'd never take to us.  I, on the other hand, just saw a shut down wee dog, who was independent enough to not be a performing monkey for strangers.  I just knew she was right for joining our wee menagerie. 

So off I went on Tuesday, to pick up this wee dog, who hadn't even glanced in my direction a few days earlier. Plonked her on the back seat in a car harness, and headed the 60 or so miles to her new home.  It was a sunny day, and I had sunglasses on.  Just a few minutes after driving away, I noticed she was staring at me in the rear view mirror.  Really, intensely staring.  So I took my shades off, and yup, it was my eyes she wanted.  That wee dog pretty much stared in to my eyes all the 90 minute drive home, and when we got there, she hopped out, and a switch had been flicked.  She'd decided I might be alright after all. 

I wont bore you with a trillion details of her first few days.  Suffice to say, she slotted in perfectly with our other pets.  Mr No Books was still convinced she'd never take to him, but by day 2, she was greeting him with cuddles after work. 
Looking pretty - Post bog diving
Looking pretty - and ten minutes later haha
And then the real fun started. I was just getting back in to long distance and hill walking, after a few years of sitting on my arse. Less than 3 weeks after she came home, I signed us up for walking 11 miles. She was getting maybe 3/4/5 miles most days straight away, but was still building muscle on her very slender frame. Now, 11 miles isn't all that far, but for a brand new dog, with an unknown history, walking a long way, with a new owner surrounded by strangers, through livestock, on roads, over hills...who knew how she'd go. 
What did I discover?  I discovered that this dog was sent from heaven. She was created to be my walking companion. And I know that sounds dramatic, but fuck me, right from the start, she has nearly made my heart burst with love and gratitude, pride and adoration. 
I love and have loved all of my dogs. Most have been rescues, and all have had their issues.  I was quite prepared to start that journey again with this wee one, but she is practically perfect in every way. I've loved all of my dogs, but I have never felt such surges of complete pride in any of them, as I do with this wee one, every single day. There's not been any new situation that she hasn't just been entirely wonderful, and I don't know how I got so bloody lucky.
At the start of that walk, I heard things that I've heard dozens of times since - "will the little dog manage this big walk?, "are you sure the wee dog will be OK?", "you might have to carry her". And on that first walk, I just replied "I've no idea, I'm about to find out".  Now, when I'm asked, I just laugh and say "YES, this wee dog is a machine!".  She was on and off lead during that walk, and just stuck to my heel the whole time.  Didn't get under other people's feet, ignored other dogs, listened to every word I spoke to her. No one could believe I hadn't even had her three weeks. I wasn't even sure - kind of felt like we'd been together in a previous life. And that's how she continues to be. 
Since that first walk, we have covered, I dunno, 2500 miles together.  She's walked hills, mountains, 20+ miles at a time. We walk alone, we walk in small groups, we walk charity walks with 1000s of other walkers. We give people lifts, we get lifts in stranger's cars, we walk overnight, we walk in the heat, we walk on beaches, the edges of busy roads, middle of nowhere and busy towns. She walks so politely, whether on or off lead.  99% of the time she chooses to walk right behind my heel, never getting in the way, and occasionally she enjoys chasing a bird or jumping in a bog haha But her neutral position is right with me, just me and her, in our own wee bubble, striding out together. 

She's bold, she's polite, she's feisty, she's independent, and she's chosen me as her person. 
Have I gone on enough? We all think we've got the best dog, and we're all right. But out of all the dogs I've ever had, I've never bonded so quickly and so deeply and on such a primal level, as Mera. Sometimes I lament the fact that I missed the first two years of her life, but clearly the universe brought us together at exactly the right time, because the past year has just been incredible, for both of us. 
Happy gotcha day, Little One. I love you. Here's to many more adventures together ♥

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