It was the first of September 2008 when Chloe came into my life. I was working at Bridge’s Pet Store in Lake Stevens, Washington, when an older woman came in looking very distraught. Her name was Maria and she asked for the directions to the nearest Animal Shelter. Thinking she may have lost a pet I asked her why she needed the shelter. She was about to leave the state for open heart surgery and could no longer care for her 8 month old Lhasa Apso puppy, Chloe. She did not have anyone who could take care of her exuberant puppy. Maria was clearly conflicted. I knew that the local shelter was a “kill” shelter so I asked her if I could take the puppy home and find a good home for Chloe. So at 3:30 that same day Maria returned with a dirty matted and neglected but lively puppy. Chloe was supposed to be white, but was hidden under a layer of soiled and matted hair. I could not see her eyes under the long bangs hiding them. Her ears were a long tangled mess.

I received Chloe’s AKC registration information and medical records and got contact information from her overwhelmed owner. Chloe had cost $1500 and came from champion lineage! Maria handed me the original receipts and Chloe’s leash, and off we went for the ½ hour drive to my house. On the drive home Chloe rested her head on my lap, sighed and looked up as if to say, “Thank you!” Later, I contacted the breeder in Missouri and got more background information about Chloe to fill in the gaps. I assured the breeder that I would take good care of Chloe.

Chloe was covered in fleas and went straight from my car to the laundry sink. I dipped her twice, shampooed her, conditioned her hair, detangled, and used Frontline on her. Her ear flaps were swollen and red from scratching. She was underweight and had 4 open sores on her skin from all the scratching. I trimmed her hair so I could see her eyes and cut off the mats. Her entire stomach was one big angry red rash. I gave her a blow dry and she sat perfectly still as I clipped her long nails and cleaned her ears. My 2 little dogs Max and Pepper were waiting anxiously by to meet their new friend. Max and Pepper are both “Shorkies” Yorkie- Shih Tzu mix. Max is a 4 pound 5 year old, and Pepper a 7 pound 2 year old fury of fur. Both were elated to have a new playmate, and what followed was zooming races around the coffee table. I found that Chloe was very intelligent and learned how to use the dog door in 30 minutes. It helped that she only wanted to be with her new pup-mates and followed them everywhere they went. She preferred to drink out of the outside water garden, and she only had one accident in the house on the ceramic tile entry. I knew that at least she had tried to get to the door. Chloe took a liking to my nine month old Siamese cat “Kitty” and soon they were engaged in kitty ambushes that ended in wrestling matches.

I had made a promise to Maria that I would find Chloe a good home but I was already getting attached to her. We got to work right away and I taught Chloe how to walk on a leash and soon she was leading the way on our afternoon walks around the lake. She loved the walks, unless it was raining. Chloe hated the rain. When it rained she would bolt out the back dog door and screech to a halt while still under the patio. She took to doing her business on the concrete under the cover instead of getting wet. I took Chloe to the groomer twice in the month I had her to get her coat trimmed evenly since I had cut off the mats. She loved getting groomed and somehow knew she was beautiful afterwards. I bought a travel crate and taught her how to stay in the crate to sleep at night but if the door was open she would sneak up onto my bed after lights out. Chloe loved treats, bones, squeaky toys and her new grain-free dog food (which cleared up her rash) and watching Animal Planet on TV. I was getting really attached but knowing I was working over 50 hours a week I knew I should find a nice family for the cute Lhasa Apso Pup. After I got her skin healed up and taught her some manners I began to tell people at the pet shop about Chloe. Soon I had 3 interested families. The first 2 families seemed to not be a good fit so I called the third family and made an appointment to have Chloe come over for a “trial day”.

After an entire month with Chloe the ride to her “possible” new family seemed incredibly short. The Wynnes had an entire fenced park-like acre backyard with plenty of room to run. A big two story house in a beautiful neighborhood. Also a big friendly orange tabby cat and best of all….2 school aged boys, Colson and Caden to frolic with. The mommy, Shauna, was a stay-at-home mom that wanted a companion pet. At 14 pounds, Chloe believed in her heart that she was a tiny lap dog. Her wet kisses and doggy hugs would fit the bill. I stayed with Chloe and the Wynnes for about an hour and watched them interact. Then I carried in her bed, carrier, leash, toys and food. And while Chloe was engaged in playing with the boys in the backyard, I snuck out the front door and drove away. I cried all the way home. When I reached my house Max and Pepper looked for Chloe to follow me into the house. When they realized she was gone they searched room to room for her. Both distraught dogs dropped their heads and tails and moped around for the next few days. Neither dog would eat for 2 days. I became worried, so I spent more time with them to help them adjust. Things were going well for Chloe and her new family. She was fitting in just fine and I heard later that she whined and sat at the door looking for me for a few minutes before settling in.

Chloe is now a Wynne. I receive e-mail photos regularly and Shauna writes to me often asking for dog advice. When the family went out of town for 4 days at Thanksgiving I was only too happy to take Chloe home once again rather than have her boarded with strangers. Max, Pepper and Kitty were in heaven! And this time Chloe got to sleep on the bed with us. I took Chloe shopping for a red doggy sweatshirt for cold days. We went for walks and the dogs played dog-tag for 4 bliss-filled doggy days. When the Wynne’s came home Chloe leapt right back into Shauna’s arms.

There will always be a corner in my heart reserved for Chloe. The fluffy white Lhasa with the permanent smile. I will always be Chloe’s God-Dog-Mother. And whenever she needs me I will be here. I knew her potential when I first saw her and knowing the rough condition she was in, adoption at the shelter was a long-shot. Chloe has a new family and I know in my heart I made the right decision. As much as I wanted to keep her myself I knew it would be far better for her to be in a family that was home for her instead of waiting at the door for me to return from work. She just needed a second chance for a good dog life.

Annette from WA