Here it goes:
Nikita has quite a story to tell. One thing I know: I'm her thirteenth owner. The remainder of her history is a little hazzy, but I'll recount to you what I've been told.
Nikita in all likelihood was born in a puppymill. This I can assume from the fact that she has less than perfect conformation (underbite. A slightly roached back, connected paw pads, double-jointed shoulders and hip displacia). Nikita also displays a higher than average maternal instinct, potentially indicating to me that she has had a litter or two of puppies. After being sold or given away from the puppymill, Nikita ended up in an abusive home where she was beaten, starved, ignored and overall neglected. Presumably after a complaint, she was seized by the SPCA. At this point she was already 3 years old. Nikita was at the SPCA about 6 months being rehabilitated before she was ready for adoption. Luckily for her, somebody did come along. Unfortunately for her, they didn't have the best intentions. This person traveled frequently, was here a month, was gone a month and repeat. Sometimes, this person even left for up to six months at a time. Each time, Nikita was put in a different home, with differing people. She was obviously being ignored (if not outright neglected and abused) and day by grueling day, she grew hardened to the world. The person who had her before me (I'll call him John) was a tree planter here where we live. Thus he was only here during the spring and summer months. John stayed with his parents during this time, but his parents' yard wasn't sufficiently large for Nikita so he asked my dad if he would take the dog. My dad said he would, but only if we could keep her.
So Nikita made the lengthy journey from where she was to here in the box of John's truck with nothing to lay on and nothing to shelter her. The trip lasted 13 hours. When Nikita finally arrived at our house, I remember she was panting heavily and was absolutely terrified. At 90 pounds, she was grossly overweight (her healthy weight is 65 pounds). She was so heavy that she couldn't even independantly descend from the truck; Nikita had to be lifted out. I quickly ran to get her some water. Since that first task, I've become her definite caretaker.
I worked with Nikita each day at every opportunity that arose. For the first month she didn't even desire to enter our house. The look in her hurt eyes said it all: "Why should I love you? You're just going to give me away." That explained it to me. She needed love. She needed to be a dog. Nikita was so distant. I romped with her daily in our yard, encouraging her to play. For the first month she looked at me stupidly as I tried everything to get her to play. During the second month however, tug-o-war became her favourite. In the third month, she looked me in the eye for the first time and told me "I'm home!". I cried at that point, and she licked away my tears.
From that point on Nikita and I were one entity. She followed me everywhere and continues to do so today. Her story goes to show that love, and NOT force, is the best remedy.
I have had Nikita since April 14th, 2006. She will be turning 13 on August 1st! I'm so proud of how far she has come. I love my dog!
This is Nikita in February-
I hope that showed up! I can how you more recent pictures if that one worked...
Thanks for reading. You get a cookie if you finished it all.