Ronon’s Birthday & Gotcha Day!

Ronon’s Birthday is October 25. He’ll be four! And his Gotcha Day is October 29. It’s about to be TWO YEARS since he came home to Philly.

We’ve Had Our Ups & Downs. (And They’ve All Been Expensive.)

It’s been a lot. The first couple months were so hard that I wasn’t sure if I could keep him. The next year was challenging and extremely costly. We had to move out of Center City. I had to buy a car to take him to daycare because of his separation anxiety. The first daycare that accepted him kicked him out not long after and wouldn’t refund over $400 in prepaid visits. Around the same time, I suffered a deep personal loss, and Ronon was the only reason I got out of bed every day for months. Considering all the changes and stress in his life, I know that drastic change in my emotional state wasn’t easy for him.

I spent $2k for him to attend the AMAZING Opportunity Barks Farm Dog Program where he learned how to be a good daycare citizen. Then I found a great local daycare where he could spend a half day once a week. Also, during all this time, we were attending one after another obedience class together to build our relationship and communication.

He Proves Over & Over That He’s Worth It

Two years in, he has earned the Advanced Canine Good Citizen title, and he’s a certified therapy dog. He is silly, sweet, smart, and sensitive. He approaches new situations cautiously, but with confident curiosity. He trusts me. He listens. He makes friends with other dogs and humans easily. He’s still the only reason I get out of bed some days, but he makes me laugh every day. He makes me proud every day.

He’s still expensive. Training classes and activities are not cheap. Feeding a 70 pound dog isn’t cheap. The big thing though, is his separation anxiety. I spend almost $500/month on daycare, so I can go into the office a couple days a week. I’m confident that we can conquer it together with time though. He’s made such amazing progress over the last two years.

How To Celebrate His Birthday & Gotcha Day

Snick and I used most of his birthdays to raise funds for rescue and for veteran’s causes. I’m sure that Ronon and I will do that in the future as well. However, considering the “start up costs” and current ongoing expenditures of the venture that is Ronon, we’re going to do something different right now. This year, I’m asking that if Ronon’s journey so far inspires you, throw him some treats! There are a number of ways you can treat him for being such a very good boy:

I promise we’ll put any gifts to good use continuing on this journey, and I’ll continue to share his progress here, on facebook, and on instagram.

Some Favorite Photos from this Two Years

Of course, I have thousands of photos of Ronon at this point, because, that’s normal, right? But here is a small collection of photos that help illustrate the journey so far.