On July 31, 2020, one of our Special Provincial Constables investigated a cruelty complaint involving four adult and senior dogs who had been neglected.
These beautiful animals had a variety of issues, including matted fur, periodontal disease, sore and inflamed skin, ears and eyes. None had been spayed or neutered.
Sweet Gemma, a six-year-old Dachshund, was friendly but fearful when she arrived at the BC SPCA Vancouver Community Animal Centre.
Her social, easy-going personality shone through her hardship. In the time she was at the shelter, she showed us how she loved carrying around her squeaky toys, surveying the neighbourhood and meeting everyone who would greet her.
It wasn’t long before that personality captured a human heart. After some dental work and her spay, she went home with her right match on August 22, 2020.
We’re delighted to say that it seems we won’t be seeing her again, judging from this letter from her forever mom:
Hello, I thought I was time that I send you guys an update on beautiful, sweet Gemma.
August 22, 2020 will go down as one of the best days of my life. It was definitely the best day of all of 2020 for me.
I had no idea when I woke up that morning that I was going to be going to bed that night with the sweetest, kindest, most playful, forgiving, resilient and absolutely perfect little dog.
It has been five months almost to the day since we met, and she has continued to grow and become more trusting and brave and relaxed as the weeks go by. She was my velcro dog the day I got her, never wanting to be away from me, nor I from her.
I’ve never met a dog before better suited or more comfortable with car travel. The way to her heart and the cure for any obedience issues is forever and always food.
We’ve managed to clear about 90% of her skin problems, getting her down to an allergy-free diet, and adding CBD and pumpkin daily.
I’ve yet to see her be aggressive in any way, shape or form to another dog and only one time to another human (but this was on her third day with me).
Most of the time she presents as shy and we stand back and observe until she’s ready to introduce herself. Having become accustomed to oohs and ahhhs at her anytime someone passes her by on a walk, you’ll notice that when someone doesn’t send adoration her way, she turns to look at them confused as to why she wasn’t the centre of their attention for that passing moment.
Although always expecting attention, she is highly judicious about who she will approach and offer any cautious attention to and it is a very rare and special occasion when she greets a stranger with her special wiggly joy.
Her most ardent and instant fans are the elderly Germans we come across on our walks, who always regale us with histories of the Dachshund and stories from their childhood of this special breed and speak to her in German as though she knows her mother tongue.
One of her most surprising strengths is her off-leash work. We regularly practice off leash when we’re in a safe space away from traffic and she always impresses me with her recall.
Part of this comes from our attachment, part of it comes from her perpetual keenness for snacks, but I think the biggest part is her good heart and her strong brain.
Have I mentioned yet she is an absolute dream?
It is so beautiful to see her brighten up people’s days as she crosses their path. Her stumpy little legs, her big floppy ears and her cheeky little bounce have brought so many smiles to so many stranger’s faces in this short little time.
I count myself as the luckiest of these strangers, having started off as one myself, and now having the privilege to spend every day with her, seeing her grow, seeing her begin to trust more and lose the anxiety. It has been nothing short of a miracle and the greatest gift and privilege to be witness to.
Thank you so much for calling me that day and picking me to be her person. I do not know how I would have gotten through 2020 without her. She has been every bit of grace that I needed and I am forever deeply indebted to her.
If Gemma could talk, we bet she’d say the day she went home with you was the best day of her life, too!
Thank you for your decision to adopt Gemma. We have no doubt the two of you will carry on this love affair for years to come. By the way, all of Gemma’s rescued pals were also adopted into loving forever homes!
Have you adopted an animal from the BC SPCA and want to share your joy with others? Submit your adoption story!