A funny thing happened last Friday…

Those of you who follow us on Facebook know what I mean when I say “a funny thing happened on Friday” but let me set the stage for the rest of you. So…have you ever considered sponsoring a dark-complexioned foreign exchange student (from the foreign shores of Greeley, Colorado-trust me, that town’s a world away even though it’s a mere 49 miles northeast of Denver)? Me neither but our world was about to change.

For many months, I’ve been contemplating the addition of a baby brother or sister for Sam. I’ve  looked at a number of dogs that might be suitable for us with no luck. For one reason or another, none of those other pups seemed to fit. But that didn’t stop me from still trying to find a sibling for the doofus. I knew I didn’t want a new puppy so limited the search to Standard Poodle rescue groups across the country, looking at hundred’s of dogs.

I had a small connection with the lady who runs the Poodle Rescue of the Rockies who happens to also be a breeder, shows them and is a big lover of standard poodles. She was friends with the former CFO at work whose wife bred show quality champion Standards. And it was quite by happenstance that I actually met Jeanne at a local dog show a few years ago and have stayed in touch with her over the years. Purebred Standards aren’t exactly plentiful in the rescue area-there are far more hybrid dogs. Jeanne might get a few in a year but every time I contacted her, the answer was still the same, “Nope, nothing right now, but I’ll keep you in mind if something comes up.” Then over a month ago, I called and heard this, “We’re getting in 6 standards from a puppy mill from up north but it’ll be a while before they’re ready. Keep in touch and we’ll see what we can do.” So I kept in touch. In fact, I called every week, “Are they ready now?” was my new mantra. Finally the week came where I could meet two females from the group. Color me overjoyed.

When the dogs came in, Jeanne named the females Hope, Faith, Charity, and Love. We came to the conclusion a female would be a better choice with Sam so we proceeded on that basis. I met Love who everyone called Lovey first. She was a gorgeous girl, as tall as Sam though very skinny with a regal face and half tail. Faith was a bit smaller and all of the dogs came from the same breeding hell-hole (aka puppy mill farm in Greeley) where the 92-year-old owner passed away. The dogs were filthy, matted, and completely unsocialized. Picture the worse, times two. Faith was more aloof but making progress much in the same way as Lovey. I felt Lovey would be a better companion with Sam and the two met. After the initial “sniff, sniff…yup…it’s a dog” reaction, I watched this girl to see if she and I would connect. Something inside me said…”this is the one.” Every few days, I reached out to Jeanne to express my continued interest and see where they were in the process of rehoming. A couple of people had contacted her before me and I was afraid I might end up being a bridesmaid yet again.

Lovey was temporarily placed with a foster while Faith stayed with Jeanne. After a freak accident involving electrical arching from a transformer at the foster’s home, Jeanne took Lovey back so as to minimize the stress. However the 19 (yes, count ’em) 19 firefighters and all the activity associated with determining the house was safe to inhabit, overwhelmed poor Lovey causing her to stress out to the point that she needed to be hospitalized and given medication to stop the dehydrating diarrhea. Then the medication caused her to suffer a reaction and resulted in an evening of seizures. Once the vet diagnosed it was a reaction and not some other medical issue (i.e. epilepsy, etc.), the meds were stopped and the seizures disappeared as quickly as they began. Poor Lovey though lost a bit of weight and needed to be nursed back to health. Last week Jeanne called and said she’d like to see how Sam and Lovey interact together since she thought a ‘big brother’ would be critical to her socialization. The impression I was left with was this was strictly a meet and greet session. We arrived mid-afternoon and were greeted by a number of standard poodles (Jeanne had 6 she was either placing, boarding or part of her own pack). It was doggie Disneyland and Sam was overjoyed at the prospects of ‘playtime with poodles.’ Lovey was used to that commotion and romped with all the big dogs. In true Sam fashion, he was just keen at the chase part.

The meeting went great, and while the dogs interacted, we talked about Lovey’s past and future. After a couple of hours, Jeanne asked, “well, are you ready to take her home tonight?” Wait…what? I thought this was just a meet and greet?! Long story short, we filled out the paperwork, gathered up her pup paraphernalia and loaded up the car.

She was a great traveler (unlike a certain Standard who loves the idea of riding in the car, but just can’t stand the actual moving part. She sat in the back seat checking out EVERYTHING. Nothing seems to escape this girl, she’s curious and needs to check out whatever is in her view. She’s quiet and remarkably calm. My hat’s off to the foster mom and her son for working with her. We had a couple of conversations about her progress and I continue to be awed at what a great job they did while she stayed with them.

going-homeApart from trying to figure out how to accommodate this newbie who was thought to be about 4 years old, we needed to figure out an appropriate name. Lovely wasn’t gonna cut it. With her regal stature, I felt like she needed something noble. Girl names seem to be in short supply from what I could determine to fit the bill. Sure there are 87 million cool boy names, but girl names…that was another story. I knew it couldn’t be some fluff name but what? Finally I landed on “Elsa von Furstenberg,” Elsa for short. Hey, don’t laugh…poodles originated in Germany so I figured, a German name would be just the ticket. I nixed Brunhilda though right off the bat. So apparently…it seems there was a “little” Disney movie where the heroine was named Elsa recently (had I known, I might have gone deeper on the list-yeah there are actual lists of German names for dogs (and cats, too). Think the top 100 baby names. Oy. Anyway, I came up with a regal name (which means noble and it describes this girl to a tee) from the top third of the list after we couldn’t seem to agree on anything (one name was “Misha” to which I said…blech).

elsaThese past few days have been a whirlwind for Sam and I. We’re trying to figure out what makes this girl tick. Is she housebroken or not (we’re still asking that question and hoping for a positive answer soon)? Trying to access the personality of a puppy mill dog isn’t easy and you must have the patience of Job. They are easily spooked, have no experience with everyday stuff that seems obvious and yet they are somewhat of a blank slate for the future given the right training. One thing that was a lovely discovery is she walks well on leash, though she continues to not realize ‘you can’t ever cross the streams” (as in cross the leashes with Sam and behind mom’s back) but we’re working on it. I took her and Sam through our neighborhood Farmer’s Market on Sunday and she was a rock star. Elsa is very bright and has a high desire to please (unlike a certain furry brother). She’s figured out that she rather enjoys all the attention she’s garnering through her good looks and was curious and patient while people fawned all over her. I was blown away. I don’t even like that much going on and she was showing me the ropes!

So bottom line last Friday, I rescued a ‘little girl foreign exchange student’ who I will make sure is fully legal and hope you’ll enjoy hearing stories about her and who knows, maybe if she shows some aptitude, I’ll turn the laptop over to her for her perspective. Right now, Sam is thinking, “gee, everything was great at Doggie Disneyland, but did we have to bring her home?” That and “so how long is this semester and when does she go back to that foreign land?”

When you see pics like this, you know everything’s gonna be all good.

bookendsAnyone know the procedure for procuring a H-1B Visa? Got any tips to share?

Live, love, bark! <3

80 thoughts on “A funny thing happened last Friday…

  1. WEE. ARE. INN. LUV. <3
    Elsa iss gorgeuss…an Sam lookss like one happy cat-tented doggie now!!!
    LadyMum has all ways adored Black Standard Poodless….. mee can see why now!!! Mee-yow!!!! 😉
    ***Wellcome Elsa gurl <3
    **paw patsss** Siddhartha Henry xxx

      1. Yes it takes time I remember when we brought Alcide home for the first time Paisley didn’t care too much and Hayley was definitely not thrilled about it. Took her a couple weeks now she wouldn’t know what to do without him.

  2. Welcome Elsa!!!!! (Silly me, thought you were really getting a foreign exchange student! lol) She is gorgeous! I echo the others, thank you for saving her!!! She has it made, thank God! xoxo

    1. Bwahaha! I had hoped someone would take me literally (but if you’d ever been to Greeley, you’d better understand the whole foreign thing 😉 ). She’s lovely and a real sweetheart. We intend to shower her with affection and a happy new life. <3

  3. Welcome Elsa to your new forever home. love the last pic. the best. just know you and Samson are going to be great friends.
    how wonderful your humans hearts are to welcome you into thier lives. nose smoochs from me lily.

  4. I was so happy to read your announcement on FB! Congratulations to you all. Lucky, lucky Elsa to have such a great home after a rotten beginning. Know that former puppy mill dogs can be challenging, but looks like you’re off to a fantastic start and life together. She’s beautiful! Have you thought about using a split lead to walk them together? That’s what I use with Rudy and Rosie – no more crossing streams 🙂

  5. Dogs are amazing–they can forgive humans for just about everything. I currently have 3 fosters. 1 is now 10 months old, and was mistreated by his former owner–note to stupid owner, puppies are not born fully trained, and hitting them when they do something wrong is very bad. Another, at age 2 years, was completely unsocialized with people, not much better with dogs. The puppy, after 2 months, has 2 people interested in him–he went to an adoption event, with a crowd of people and pups, started out with his tail between his legs, soon had it waving in the air. The unsocialized one is still a work in progress, but will soon be walking on a leash in the big strange world–I have high hopes for him also.
    And you are right about standards in rescue. NorCal Poodle Rescue, where I transport and foster, gets maybe 30 a year, most owner surrender–read, death, illness, or divorce. We have a long waiting list of potential owners

    1. Your comment made me smile knowing at least 3 fosters are getting what they need. Bravo! Yes, it’s a long process to rehabilitate or even educate unsocialized pets but they are so grateful at the efforts. My hat’s off to you!!

  6. Oh wow! This is my favorite post EVER!! Congratulations and good luck with the new kid. She’s gorgeous. Sam, you had better up your game. You’ve got mad, wicked competition!

    Love and licks,

  7. OMD, SAM, OMD! O….M….D! You have a sister now, too?!?! Run, Sam, RUNNNNNNNNN! Do it fast. I hope you have better luck than I did. *ear licks*

    Oh, Mom wants to write something:

    This post made me so happy. I hope Elsa will continue to be delightful both as a sibling and as your new furbaby once her “decompression” completes. Her puffs are fabulous and I think I feel about them the way you feel about Macy’s ears. Congrats, Monika! (((hugs)))

    1. HAHAHA, oh Noodle…sisters are a good thing. You just happen to have a whole lot more of a good thing than most bros. BOL

      Thanks Samantha for the sweet note. We are pretty keen on this girl. And her topknot is something else! None of my other Standards had one so puffy. I think she’s settling in nicely-she just hopped up on the sofa and zonked out! And she LOVED the new dog bed we got her. 🙂

  8. Congratulations you guys! So happy for you and I just love new adoption stories. Elsa is one lucky poodle for sure. What a sweetie she is. Perfect name btw. 🙂

  9. Oh how wonderful! Elsa landed on her paws with you guys 😀 She might need a bit of patience but you will do great and she will come out of her shell in no time – you guys already are doing a great job from the sounds of it 😀 I am so pleased for you guys <3

  10. Oh, hurray! I’m so happy for all of you! Elsa seems like such a sweetie and a great companion for Sam. What a week it must have been for you guys. She’s a lucky girl to have been rescued from a mill and to have found such a wonderful forever family. This post made my day! <3

  11. How wonderful that you rescued her! My friend rescued a beagle from a puppy mill. He was used as a stud and completely unsocialized. His story is much sadder. After 6 years he is still on meds to keep him calm and has the worst separation anxiety ever. He’s beautiful and a blessing but I will never understand how those puppy mills operate. You would think the puppies would be worth more if all the dogs were socialized.

    1. So sorry about your friend’s rescued beagle and his issues. Having had an OES that was diagnosed with PTSD, my heart goes out to them. Some dogs never ‘recover’ and need our patience and love all the more. ღ

  12. Just one burd’s opinion-you done good. It may take a little time, but dogs who have been knocked around open up and are great. They don’t feel “entitled”. Kyla was a product of a Mexican puppy mill. Both Kaci and Kali were on death row in kill shelters. You might need a little patience with her but it pays off.

  13. What a great story – and with a wonderful end! 🙂 That’s ever so lovely that Elsa will now have a loving new home, and a brother who – after a while – will really get used to the idea of suddenly having been presented with a sister. 😉 I must admit: she’s a real beauty. And has a fitting name! I’m looking forward to read more of her. And of Sam, of course.
    Have a wonderful begining of autumn,

  14. Good for you! She’ll sort out her puzzles…we used to find that the dog or dogs in place would soon show a newbie the ropes…on the grounds of ‘if I can’t do it neither can you…’

  15. Squeals with piggy delight!! I’ve been trying not to spill the beans since reading about Elsa from Facebook. It’s such a wonderful and touching story. Elsa has her forever home now and she couldn’t be in a better home. I know Sam will be an awesome big brother and take care of his new sweet sister. Sending much love your way my friend!! XOXO – Bacon

    1. I know! It was hard for me too! Thanks for the kind words. We are over the moon with this new addition. Sam is taking his role as big brother quite seriously and must be giving Elsa instructions on tail wagging. Although she’s got a long way to catch up with him, she’s making great progress. ღ

  16. Oh my. I’m in tears. I just love the story and I love her, and I love you and Sam and I love Wayne. I’m just having a lovefest here. 😍

    I’m sure there will be challenges ahead, but the best is yet to come, too.

    Welcome home, Elsa! ❤️❤️❤️❤️

    1. Thanks so much, Bonnie. Your comment brought tears of joy to my heart as well. We are all thrilled with the addition of this sweet girl. She’s becoming quite the talk of the neighborhood. Hope you are well. Nice of you to swing by-you hold a special place in my heart here on the Ranch. Hugs. ღ

  17. Fantastic and they just look “Right” together. Sadly I don’t know the background of Benji before the Rescue Group and have not been able to find anything out other than he came from Victoria. Elsa is lovely, Sam and you will come to see that and together you can create a new Doggy Disneyland that will include all four of the family. You are such a lucky pup to have such a loving family and such a lovely new sister.

    1. Rescue groups are so overwhelmed and sometimes you can never really know what the history is on some babies like Benji and Else find their special fur-ever homes. I’ll start looking for a stuffed mouse for the new Disneyland soon! 😉

  18. I absolutely LOVE this story! And Elsa! She looks like the perfect fit for all of you, especially Sam. Looks to me – from that last picture – that she has already made herself completely at home. She’s obviously very happy with her “big brother” and wanting to be his cuddle buddy. I wish you all love and happiness together! Sam will adapt to being a big brother. Before you know it, he’ll be showing off his “little sister” quite proudly. ❤️❤️🐾🐾🐶🐶💞💞

    1. Thank you so much for the kind thoughts. We are thrilled with this addition and she’s fitting in so very nicely. Her brother is already showing her how to be a sweetheart and it looks like she took good notes. Everyone seems to adore her and she’s relishing the attention. ღ

  19. my heart danced the happy dance as I saw her at FB. I’m so glad she is with you and Sam now. And she looks so much like my first love Oliver, the black standard poodle. It was like a greeting from him as I saw her… boy I did efurrything to spend time with Oliver, I even sat next to the boy in the class room who owned him… and he was such an id*ot…no wonder that I furgot his name LOL

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