Today we met a wonderful Family. Today we met a Princess. Today we adopted a Frog.
Earlier this month, Beth and I began our search for a lil French Bulldog that wanted us as it's Mamma & Daddy. Beth had recently began volunteering for Cloud Nine Rescue Flights, which is a non-profit organization that fly’s down to kill shelters in the South, rescues the dogs, and fly’s them back up to non-kill shelters in the North. We're flying buddies with the founder and Chief Pilot and asked him for some assistance in finding a Frenchie that was looking for us too.
Ted reached out to his contacts and within a day we had good leads. We started our search on two websites: The French Bulldog Rescue Network and the French Bulldog Village. Both sites have lovely dogs that deserve a forever family and I just know they'd bring so many smiles to you and your family's faces. We spent hours and hours reading bio's of these precious "Frogs" (as we learned they are sometimes called). I'd walk in Beth's office to find a tear in her eyes after reading a tragic recount of a precious Bully's past life. I wish we were in a position to rescue them all.
About 12 hours into the search, we came upon a pretty little girl named Miss Eloise who was living in the Maryland/DC Metro area. We both fell in love with her at first glance. We read her bio, reread her bio, and then read it again. I downloaded all of her pictures that were available on the site and began showing her off to everyone I knew and even some I didn't (if I had their email address in our computer). She was perfect! I filled out the online application, crossed my fingers, and pressed submit. Beth and I sat together on the couch and reread her bio, looked at her pictures, and "saw" her playing happily there in the living room with us. Soon it was time for bed and off we went. "Good Night Little One, We're Coming Baby Girl".
The next afternoon, after we both finished work, Beth had gone downstairs to do one of those crazy P90X videos where she was kicking her legs up, punching the air, doing 600 pushups, and runnin' round with a Kettle-ball; I was havin' a glass of wine and watching the news. My phone rang and the number wasn't familiar to me but I answered with a hello and heard the most beautiful words, "Shane, my name is Stacy and I'm calling about Miss Eloise". My eyes teared up for joy and I lost my breath; I really did. I tried to speak and ran downstairs to where Beth was and found her in some sort of Lotus position with her left toe in her right ear or something. She knew something was up and whatever it was, it was good. Stacy and I talked for 20-30 minutes and I was grinning the whole time. I'm sure the neighbors thought I had stuck a clothes hanger in my mouth with such a wide grin that I had on. The more Stacy told us about Miss Eloise, the more we fell in love with her. Mind you that this was just an interview, but to Beth and I it was a sign that Miss Eloise was one step closer to coming home.
We ended our conversation and Beth and I fought each other to be first getting to the computer to look at this little baby girl again and blow kisses to her. Beth won cuz she took her lotus foot and stuck it in my eye so I couldn't see which way to run. Stacy had asked if I had any questions, but during the phone call I couldn't even remember my own name I was so excited! Does she wear clothes, does she like treats, does she sleep in the bed, does she does she.... yes I had questions, tons of them once I regained a little sense. "Do you think she'll like us", Beth and I asked each other almost in unison. Sure she will, we'll make good parents to this little princess and she'll be very happy.
Beth and I have each had dogs all our lives, but this would be the first one we'd have together. Beth has had Labs, a ShitsYou, and Isabelle - her daughter Nicole’s' Corgi. I have had English Bulldogs, a German Shepherd, a Boston Terrier, and 2 Chow-Chow's. We would make good parents and our Frog Princess would be spoiled. Beth and I later discovered that we'd each been on the internet finding clothes and toys for her even though we didn't know her sizes and likes and dislikes. We have them as spares, yeah that's it. By bedtime, we'd ordered Miss Eloise a trench coat, a cheerleading outfit, a polo shirt, stairs (to get in bed), nylabones, leashes, harnesses, a blanket, and a Sunday School dress. Had we lost it?
Four months went by, ok ok, 3 days (but it felt like four months) went by and one evening we were sitting down watching My Name Is Earl and my phone rang. Another unknown number!?!?!?! I answered the phone and this young lady said, "Hi Shane? My name is Christie and I work with the French Bulldog Rescue Network and I'd like to find out when I can stop by for a home visit for Miss Eloise?" This meant that we'd made it further along in the selection process and I nearly shat a Polynesian Water Fowl! "Uhm, TONIGHT!!!!!!". She just giggled and suggested a few dates and times as to not conflict with work. I was ready to take a month’s vacation if needbe . Beth knew something was up by the fact that I was doing the "cabbage patch kid" dance in the living room and hoping that it couldn't be heard on the phone by Ms Christie. After nearly hyperventilating from excitement, we hung up and Beth and I wind sprinted back to the computer to reread Miss Eloise's bio and look and her pictures and send out a brand new batch of emails to all our friends and buddies on what had just happened. We went online and bought some more clothes for her too!
"Honey, should we have the house painted, buy new furniture, plant some trees, put up new blinds, resod the yard?" Beth had to remind me that our home is new, our furniture is new, we just finished painting the interior, we have a lovely garden and it really is kept very clean. I had to chuckle when she brought me back to reality; perhaps I was just a little nervous. "Uhm, what about Moses?"
During the Christmas Season, the "Trailer Park" (what we call us and all of our wonderful neighbors as a group) had a Chinese Pollyanna, and we each individually had to get a gift (up to $20.00) and put it in a pile. We'd then each draw a number and pick a present, open it, and wait for the next person to either "steel" it, or pick a new present from the pile. We all had to laugh because when it was all said and done, we ended up with 5 Snuggies and a Fish, as well as a few other gifts. I somehow got the pet fish and we collectively named it Moses. I'd forgotten about "Moses" when I filled the application out and now I was wondering if I would be disqualified for failing to declare the existence of Moses, our pet Beta fish. I would hide him in the woods when Ms Christie came! SLAP! Beth must have heard me thinking out loud and made me go apologize to Moses and then bathe him and then wash his bowl.
When the day arrived for Ms Christie to come out, she called and asked if she could bring along a Foster Frenchie of hers named Hero. We said “absolutely” and for the next 30 minutes, we peeked out of the blinds waiting for them to pull up. When they arrived I nearly dove off the top stair rushing to the door. Hero, Christie, and Josh (Christie’s Hubby) came up the walkway and Beth and I were just beaming with excitement. Hero was too, as he peed on everything from the time he got out of the car till he got to my foot. Bless his little heart, we learned that he had been paralyzed and didn't even realize he was tinklin'. I didn't mind and wiped my foot on the back of Beth's pant leg when she wasn't looking. SLAP! Hero got a diaper put on him and inside we went. You'd never know that he (Hero) had any issues whatsoever as he ran all over the place just as happy as he could be. We were told that Hero himself isn't even aware that he has any disabilities either, which is a good thing. We walked around the house and chatted back and forth with Christie and Josh. Beth, the sane one, answered the majority of the questions while Hero and I played in the living room with a tennis ball. Since Christie and Josh were Foster parents, I asked them if they were aware of the "Bark-Park" just down the road in the event they wanted to bring their Frenchies there. They hadn't heard about it so after we finished with the home visit, we all rode down to the Bark-Park and hung out for a bit. Hero hollered “Wazzzzzup” at some of the other dogs that were playing and they traded hello's and perhaps a few expletives too. Christie, Josh, and Hero loaded up and headed home; Beth and I rushed back home, ran to the computer to reread Miss Eloise's bio, look at her pictures, email our friends, and buy her some more toys online.
More months went by, SLAP!, I mean a few days went by and I couldn't stand it so I called Stacy back to see if she had any more interviews to conduct or if she'd heard anything else. I guess she hadn't started receiving the unmarked $5.00 bills that I'd started sending to her and her Fiancé' to "assist" in making the choice as to who would be selected to become Miss Eloise's forever Mommy and Daddy, because she never mentioned it, nor the roses, concert tickets, plane rides, chocolates, dinner cards, etc. You know I'm kiddin. Maybe.
The decision hadn't been made yet and Stacy would be in touch when one was reached. In the meantime, Stacy sent us some more pictures of the little Princess and said she was doing well and excited to soon be going to a forever home. With no definitive word on if we'd been selected or not, I walked around the house pouting and decided to quit eating and bathing. I was going to go on a one of them campaign's like when the sportscaster sits on top of a billboard and eats cheesettes for weeks until their team wins a playoff game or something. Mine would be a little less dramatic though and I just stayed inside until I had to go to work. Beth made me bathe and eat and then bathe Moses again and clean out his bowl. I still wasn't gonna eat Cheesettes though.
The next Monday I was at work and had just finished conducting an energy management simulation on some of our operators when my phone rang showing "Miss Eloise's Mama" was calling. I walked out into the hallway and nervously answered the phone with a "Hello Stacy". "Shane, I just wanted to call you and give you some great news". I must have gotten something in both my eyes, cuz' they were both shedding tears so much I couldn't see. I can't remember if I could even talk. Stacy gave me the news although I'm not absolutely sure what she said as I was on Cloud 9. She asked for suggestions on when we could meet and I offered to leave work right then to drive down to Maryland - although I knew that was unrealistic because everyone had to still work. Stacy offered to meet in New Jersey at her Mom's house the following weekend since they would be up visiting. Actually, I think both Stacy and her Fiancé' Ian (also a pilot, nice!) had been traveling for business and Stacy's Mom was caring for Miss Eloise. The date was set and now all I had to do was keep myself occupied until that day came. So we went online and reread Miss Eloise's bio, looked at her pictures, sent out more emails (many more), and bought her a raincoat.
“It's Time to go Shugah”. Beth opened her precious little eyes, looked at the 1:45 a.m. showing on the alarm clock and told me I was nuts, then promptly went back to sleep. I hadn't slept a wink and knew I wouldn't be able too. I went downstairs and put on some coffee, washed Moses and cleaned his bowl. I rewashed Miss Eloise's bowls and put new bottled water in her water bowl. I showered, reread Miss Eloise's bio, looked at her pictures, sent out some emails, checked the online map, programmed the GPS, then programmed another GPS, then decided to watch TV until it was time to leave. There is nothing on except infomercials at 2:15 in the morning. I drank my coffee then decided it was time to accidently wake up Beth so I stood just outside our bedroom door and started fake coughing. Nothing. Fake sneezing. nope. So I vacuumed the bedroom and then underneath our bed. SLAP! Uhm, Beth's wide awake now! SLAP! SLAPPEDY-SLAP!
It's 4:00 a.m. now and we're both watching the clock and the infomercials and drinking coffee. "Do you think she'll like us" again we asked? We knew we'd show her all the love she could handle and that child would never want for anything. "What if we leave now and just drive slow"? Beth knew that she had to remain the voice of reason, but I was already in the car with it running before she unrolled her eyes to see that I'd left the room. We had prepared the back of the car with blankets and pillows and toys and clothes and food and water. We stopped by the Wawa just up the road and bought another coffee and a breakfast hoagie. Both were good and we headed East. Our agreed on meeting time was 8:30 am, but the GPS indicated that we'd be in their driveway by 5:30 am. I do hope there is a Duncan Donuts somewhere we can wait? I slowed down took the scenic view right through the middle of Philly. Perhaps I exaggerated our times a little, but at 7:45 a.m. we found ourselves parking in the Duncan Donuts parking lot just a couple of miles away from Miss Eloise, and her Mom, Dad, and Granny. We were both so excited!
When it was time, we drove the last 2 miles and as the GPS lady was hollering that "You Have Arrived At Your Destination", we saw the most precious site. Miss Eloise was being walked out front and her little under-bitten perfect face looked up and I swear I read her lips as she said "DADDY!". I nearly strangled myself trying to get out of the car before unlatching the seatbelt. Beth wouldn't let me leave the car in the middle of the street so I had to park it and then I was allowed to get out. We both approached Miss Eloise with big grins and opened arms. She was absolutely gorgeous. Nothing about this child I would ever change. We were in love. Realizing that I'd been rude and not introduced ourselves, Beth and I exchanged hello's with Stacy and Ian, then we all headed back in to Stacy's Mama's beautiful home. We met Stacy's Mom Cindy, whom is also a wonderful lady, and we all sat as Beth and I got to know Miss Eloise. They laughed as they told tales of this precious little angel and relayed how much joy she'd brought to them. I honestly felt sad because I knew they would be after Beth and I left with Miss Eloise. We learned that they had started calling her Ella and she'd responded well so that's what we call her now too. I think we stayed for over an hour getting to know Ella and her Foster Family, and then got to the business end of the adoption. Beth and I are really impressed with the great amount of care that goes in to fostering and rescuing Frenchies. This is no backyard operation. They are professional caring and loving people that run and participate in the French Bulldog Rescue Network and I'm very happy that they are this way. We finished up the business side and then Beth and I went into the living room so Ella and her Foster Family could all say "until we meet again". It was really sad for all of us and Beth and I quickly wiped our eyes before we were caught crying on the carpet. Stacy's Mom brought out a big bag full of goodies for Ella and it was just so precious. These are really really good people. Not only did Stacy and Ian foster Ella, but they also rescued another French Bulldog a few years ago for themselves. JoJo is a beautiful little pudgy Frenchie that is precious as well. While Ella went for a walk with her Granny (Stacy's Mama), JoJo came out and gave Beth and I some kisses and thanked us for taking Ella so she could have her whole house back. haha On another note, Ella’s Auntie Melanie wrote us a special letter describing the incredible Princess that we were adopting. Beth and I thought it was very touching what she had written and promise to keep everyone updated with Ella’s adventures.
After hugs and tears and goodbye's, Ella, Beth and I loaded up the car and headed back home. Ella sat in Beth's lap and never moved the entire way home. She looked out the window and watched me each time I shifted gears. We felt a little sad for her because we knew that she was probably very curious as to what was going on and where her Mommy, Granny, Daddy, and Grandpa were. We promised that we'd send pictures, video's, and even phone calls.
About 30 minutes from reaching home, the "Trailer Park" started calling Beth and I asking where we were and when we'd be home. I guess all the pictures We'd taken and sent from my Blackberry told 'em we would soon be there. We pulled up and everyone was there to meet Ella. Ella has a fan club called FOME, for Friends Of Miss Eloise. The Trailer Park loved her and each wanted to hold this little princess.
We took her for a walk around to stretch her legs and potty after the long trip home. After a few more minutes and more huggin' and kissin', we introduced Ella to her forever home. She walked around cautiously at first, smelling every nook and cranny, and then as she got more comfortable, ran from floor to floor, room to room looking all around. We made sure she knew where her bowls were and offered her food and water but she was too busy exploring. We wanted her to know it was her house so we didn't get in the way. Every now and again, we'd see her fly by and she was enroute to another corner, another sniff, another adventure. She must have done this for an hour or more before she trotted back into the living room and looked out of the window at the passers by. The grandfather clocked chimed and she tilted her head as she looked at it wondering what it was.
We wanted to let her decide when she wanted to come to us and play and cuddle and stuff so we patiently waited. I was going nuts inside because I wanted to hold her and cuddle her and give her kisses. Beth did too of course, but she is much better at acting sane than I am. Finally it happened, Ella walked over to the sofa and jumped up on it and sat beside Beth. She looked around for a sec and then laid down. She was home.
Later in the afternoon we took Ella down to the Perkiomen Trail, which is a paved path that sits along the shoreline of the Perkiomen Creek. We took the camera with us and also the GPS because I'd seen some geocaches in the immediate area that we'd be walking. We strolled along the walkway and then the GPS pointed down a little unpaved pathway that led into the woods. Ella was ready, Beth was ready, I was ready and away we went. Beth was navigating, Ella was sniffalating, and I was as proud as can be of my two princesses beside me. Beth and Ella were following the needle on the GPS and soon discovered the hidden treasure that we had been looking for. Ella's first geocache (as far as we know). Coincidentally, the geocache name was Dog Leg Canal. We walked for another mile and then headed home after a long day.
We cleaned her feet up from running in the dirt and then took her shopping for some more goodies at the Petsmart. We got her a new Bling Bling name tag, 2 more sweaters, another set of stairs, some extra treats, and a couple more nylabones. We didn't stay long because the entire Trailer Park wanted to come over to meet/greet Ella in the evening. We have great neighbors! Later, everyone started coming over and Ella was the life of the party. With each new introduction, Ella got more toys and clothes and goodies and now has more assets than Beth and I combined!
I'm guessing the get-together lasted until around 10pm and then it was time for bed. Beth and I knew we'd offer the bed to her but weren't sure if she'd be comfortable or not so soon. No word of a lie, Ella ran up the stairs, went to the top of the bed, pulled the covers back, climbed underneath them, popped her little head back out and laid it on the pillow. We just stood there with our mouth's wide opened. She is amazing! We thought that was the funniest thing ever. I took a picture of her on my Blackberry of her laying down. Honest Abe, she did it just as I described and was unassisted in every way. She didn't move the whole night and slept right between us.
I can't wait to see what the next days will have in store for us. We'll take plenty of pictures and video's and keep the blog updated with new events. We'll be taking her flying soon and will post a blog entry for that one too.
Ya’ll Be Particular and Rescue A Precious Pup soon! Shane & Beth