Tikka came to our Old Dog Haven home directly from the shelter, where she was left as a stray. The shelter guessed she was about 13 years old. She had a mast cell tumor on her leg, three other growths, and a couple of fractured teeth. She arrived extremely anxious, vocal and disoriented, and frantically pulled on leash wherever she went. It became clear to us that she was once a beloved family pet, so her transition home with us seemed very difficult and confusing for her. We now know she is a dog who bonds very strongly to her people.

After only a few short weeks (and the removal of those tumors and bad teeth) Tikka began to thrive with her new routine and enjoyed her new titles: Resident Couch Potato AND Fitness Coach. Quite the juxtaposition! Though most often you can find Tikka napping in the sunshine or snoozing on the couch, she just lives to explore. If by chance, she believes we have forgotten to take her on one of her daily walks, she is not shy about letting us know and demands we get moving, NOW! Once she sees us getting her leash, she sits very politely, furiously wagging her tail, waiting for her head collar to be put on before walking for as long as we’ll let her.

Tikka no longer has debilitating separation anxiety and she’s got such spirit and energy for her age! We are so proud of her resilience. We feel fortunate to have been given her trust. Her true self shines now, as she cuddles up close with us whenever she can, desperately begs for human food, enjoys car rides with her head out the window, gives endless kisses, constantly wags her tail, requests regular belly rubs, begs to be tucked in with big cozy blankets, and has even started playing with toys (her favorite is a miniature stuffed moose which she fetches, catches, gently nibbles on and uses as a pillow)! She is a deeply sensitive, caring, and curious little girl who just wants to be next to her people whenever possible.

Contrary to the old adage, this old dog has learned so many new “tricks!” Tikka absolutely loves treats and is smitten with clicker training. She knows sit, down, shake, stay, touch, and most importantly, is learning leash manners! She gets lots of compliments on her beautiful heeling throughout the neighborhood; we are in awe of how much progress she’s made and how smart she is!  She’s an adventure dog through and through and we feel so lucky that she’s now healthy enough to join us exploring. She leads us on hikes every week, and I get tired before she does! We are absolutely in love with her zesty personality and her deeply affectionate nature. We can’t wait to fill all of her remaining years with love, adventures, and endless couch cuddles.

Update:  Dear Tikka’s health finally failed her and her loving family knew it was time to let her go.  She is an amazing example of the healing that can come from a loving family.  She went from a clearly distressed old girl to an affectionate girl ready for new adventures.  Her new family gave her a wonderful home and will greatly miss this very special girl.