Whole Dog Journal's Blog June 20, 2018

The 10th Adoptaversary of My Dog, Otto

Posted at 03:23PM - Comments: (17)

Happy “Gotcha” Day, Otto!!

Above my desk, I have a five-foot by four-foot poster*, mounted on hard foam-core, featuring a fantastic photo of my dog Otto along with his name and his adoption date on the poster: June 16, 2008.

otto from whole dog journal

The view from my computer chair is dominated by a giant photo of Otto (complete with his adoption date); photos of my previous heart-dog, the darling Rupert; and a photo of my horse best friend, my companion from childhood through young adulthood. I really should have a photo of my son up there, too, shouldn't I?

And yet, when I received a card in the mail earlier this week from a work colleague, someone who works on WDJ’s website and marketing team from our publisher’s headquarters in Norwalk, Connecticut, wishing Otto a happy 10th “Adoptaversary,” I was flummoxed for a minute. Oh my goodness! Did I actually miss the opportunity to celebrate the TENTH anniversary of the date I adopted my beloved Otto?? And how did my colleague remember when I did not? (I asked! The answer was, in a blog post about vaccinations some weeks ago, I mentioned Otto’s date of adoption, as it related to how long it has been since he has been vaccinated . . . and she actually took note of that date! And found a card that specifically mentioned the 10th “Adoptaversary” of a dog!! And sent it to me on time!)

otto from whole dog journal

Otto on the day I brought him home. He was estimated to be about 7 months old. He was about 40 pounds at the time, and I thought he might not get much bigger. But he's still rocking his adult weight of 70.0 pounds.

The fact is, while I have definitely been counting the years that I have shared with Otto, I don’t think I have ever celebrated his “gotcha” date (as other dog owners I know call it). And that’s a shame, since I don’t celebrate his birthday (estimated to be sometime in November), either. And I treasure our time together; I really should be celebrating this date every year – and I’m putting it on my Google calendar so I won’t miss it next year. My sincere thanks to my colleague for the card and the nudge! What’s WRONG with me??

Do you celebrate the date that you adopted your dog? Or his or her birthday, if you know it?

* I got the poster from a chain of California-based pet supply stores, Pet Food Express. They have something called their “My Mutt Program,” whereby a person can send them proof that they have made a donation of $250 or more to a shelter or nonprofit animal rescue group, and Pet Food Express will send a professional photographer to take a photo of their pet, have a huge poster made, and hang it in the Pet Food Express store of their choice for about six months… And after the poster hangs in the store for a while, it will be taken down and the pet owner gets the poster to keep. Check out the link. It’s an absolutely great program that encourages more donations to needy shelters and rescues, and provides owners with stunning art of their pets. And it makes a great gift! You can make a donation to your local shelter in a friend’s name and let THEM receive the photography session and poster.

Comments (17)

We always do birthdays for our dogs. Our last four dogs have been rescues, and sometimes we know a definite day (dogs were originally bough from puppy mills with "papers") or we know a month and year; other times, we just guess with a date based on vet opinion and the adopted date. We observe Gotcha Days and birthdays with special meals and treats! We have two dogs now, and their importance in our lives are reasons to celebrate!

Posted by: Three Dog Mom | June 25, 2018 1:30 PM    Report this comment

Birthday celebrations for sure, and now adoption anniversaries too! Thanks for the article and idea. I love tagging along your canine journeys via the blog, the adventures are welcoming. How blessed you and Otto are......

Posted by: Houndz6 | June 23, 2018 8:09 PM    Report this comment

I celebrate their birthdays with home made treats and special outings (including best wishes to their siblings & thanks to their breeder) and their gotcha days. I don’t think they notice, as I express thanks and appreciation to them every day. But it’s the other 364 days a year that matter most !

I love Otto’s poster, and his special place in your heart. (Thoughtful colleague, too!)

Posted by: Jcampbell | June 22, 2018 4:23 PM    Report this comment

I remember when you first adopted Auto I have been a member of your magazine for way over 10 years. He was such a cute puppy and he looks exactly the same only larger now LOL. I adopted my first rescue dog in 1997 when he was 3 months old in June so I chose to make his birthday March 1st. I was fortunate enough to have him 17 years 3 months and 10 days and I still miss my little buddha boy after his being gone 3 years now. They go way too fast. And right now I adopted a rescue girl 5 years ago after she was a companion for a lady with cancer. After her passing her husband wanted to find her a new home. At first it made me angry because she had done her job and he was disloyal to her. But it was my good fortune to have her as she is the love of my life and will be 10 years old next month. Thank God for the love of dogs because they remind us what love is when people forget and I don't know what I would do without my dog and all those that have preceded her who kept me going to make it to this point when people can't be bothered to reach out and say hello. They ease my pain.

Posted by: meanmorgan | June 22, 2018 10:56 AM    Report this comment

We have two Ridgeback rescues. When we adopted them, we were told their birthdays and celebrate by making them a special "layer cake" of ground turkey or chicken patties for the "cake" and then "frost" it with whipped sweet potatoes.

The dogs love the human food. . . and we hope the ritual makes them understand that on those days we are recognizing how special they are to us. But that's likely our wishful thinking.

Posted by: RidgieFan | June 21, 2018 6:15 PM    Report this comment

Hearty Congrats to Otto and you!!

Posted by: SainathK | June 21, 2018 5:28 PM    Report this comment

Wow! I can't believe it's already 10 years since you've adopted Otto! Time goes by so quickly with our pups. I've always rescued, so that either becomes my pup's "birthday" or if I have a roundabout time of their true age/birth month, then I celebrate their adoptiversary.

Posted by: lydiaf | June 21, 2018 4:40 PM    Report this comment

Of course we celebrate Gabby's birthday. She was a rescue but we've given her
a special date and we always celebrate with a party - cake & ice cream. And,
we celebrate Roxy's birthday too. We know her date of birth and it's always a
special party with decorations, cake & ice cream and plenty of pictures. They're
not fond of the party hats but do manage to keep them on till pictures are
recorded. I can't imagine not celebrating their birthdays - they're special to us.

Posted by: roxypoo2 | June 21, 2018 3:58 PM    Report this comment

When my GSD/mix? Nacho showed up at my husband's business in 2009 he was matted, filthy, scared, skinny. We sold the business and Nacho home on Dec. 5, 2009. Vet said he was about 2 years old so we celebrate his birthday on Dec. 5. He is the best dog and I treasure every day with him!

Posted by: chicken lady | June 21, 2018 3:39 PM    Report this comment

We celebrate both Lucky's (estimated) birthday and gotcha day. Lucky spent over 9.5 years at a shelter. No special days there. We've made everyday a fun day since his adoption but there's nothing wrong with two extra special days to celebrate his silliness.

Posted by: LuckyPono | June 21, 2018 3:20 PM    Report this comment

We celebrate all of their birthdays (real or estimated). On their tenth birthday (and fifteenth) we hold a special party for them. Depending on the dog we have guests (species depending on the dog) or take them out to a restaurant or have a private party. We don't "torture" shy dogs with a big party of strangers but we go as big as we think they would like.

Posted by: Furrykids | June 21, 2018 2:24 PM    Report this comment

We most definitely celebrate our girl's birthday, homemade carrot cake and all! We are lucky to know her exact birthday because the rescue we adopted her through rescued her mama who then gave birth to a beautiful litter of lab mutts!

I don't have a large photo of her over my desk, instead I have a large collage of the dogs that are near and dear to me. Some are currently in our lives, some have passed on. Each one has touched us in special ways. The collage always makes me smile, even in the middle of a contentious conference call. Oh and I do have a photo of my daughter but half of it is covered with a goofy polaroid of my current girl!

Posted by: stucker | June 21, 2018 1:54 PM    Report this comment

I celebrate my Maggie's birthday (estimated to be June 24) with a puppy-approved cake and my kids bring their furbabies (usually about 5). We celebrate "Gotcha" Day (Nov. 11) quietly at home with an extra treat (or two). Life should always be celebrated, and the memories created doing so last forever!

Posted by: djw429 | June 21, 2018 1:45 PM    Report this comment

We have three dogs. The Chihuahua has an actual Birth date, the older Shepard/Rot we adopted from the animal shelter, the mix, who knows what she is, we think she is Chihuahua-Pug, was just was at our gate and we couldn't find out who she belonged to and couldn't just take her to the shelter so she became ours. For the adopted ones we just picked a date in the month the vet thought they were born. But bottom line is yes we do birthdays and I always cook pot roast for all their birthdays.

Posted by: LLG | June 21, 2018 1:40 PM    Report this comment

We celebrate birthdays. If we don't have an exact day (we don't for our rescue girl) we picked a day of the month we were told she was born in. We too have participated in the My Mutt program for VIP Dog Teams. VIP Dog Teams is a nonprofit 501c3 we rescue dogs, place them in our local county jail and teach the inmates how to train them to be potential therapy or facility dogs. Then we adopt them out to the public who want to do therapy work with them. It's a triple win, rescue, rehabilitation and a trained therapy dog! We are graduating our second class of shelter dogs turned therapy dogs this July 13th. www.vipdogteams.org Pet food express has been wonderful with helping us spread the word locally. People can donate to VIP Dog Teams and an amazing photographer meets up with you and your pet ( dog, cat bunny?) and takes many photos and you get to pick the best one. It is made into a HUGE poster and hung in the store of your choice for 6 months then it's yours

Posted by: VIP Dog Teams | June 21, 2018 1:29 PM    Report this comment

I celebrate every day with my dogs as you clearly do with Otto. But I'm not a birthday person for myself so it isn't something I think about for them. Once they are past the milestones of youth I ignore the passage of time and pretend they will be with me forever.

Posted by: Chaosbean | June 21, 2018 12:14 PM    Report this comment

We celebrate birthdays and gotcha days! Those are important milestones and are fun. Ours involve cake or large frosted cookies. There are special banners and of course, embarrassing photos.

Posted by: YIKMDLF | June 21, 2018 11:42 AM    Report this comment

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