I was first introduced to WIN through Pat Simrell. She told me that she had a sweet 10 year old Wheaten who was being given up because her owner had died. She thought that this might be an easy “first time” experience for us as foster parents, as her current owner said she was quiet a sweetheart. So, Phoebe came to us.

She was not at all what we expected: she was under weight, suffered from separation anxiety, her skin was a mess of allergies, making it black in some areas, she had a massive ear infection in both ears, and she was not used to other dogs.

There was something about her, though, that made me want to stick it out with her. She had these sweet sad eyes, and then, when we learned what she had been through, we decided that we needed to make up for lost time. Phoebe’s owner had adopted her when she was about 4. She took her everywhere and loved her dearly. Unfortunately her situation changed when her owner discovered that she was dying of cancer. When Phoebe’s owner died, her daughter took her.

Unfortunately, the daughter worked 12-14 hours a day, almost every day. The daughter truly loved Phoebe, but was not home enough to really care for her. In the time that she had her, she felt guilty for leaving her alone so much, and finally decided that it was in Phoebe’s best interest to find a better home for her. She contacted WIN, and because we were in the area, I drove down to get her. Her owner was very sad to give her up, but knew in her heart that she was doing the right thing.

As Phoebe became acclimated to our household, her true personality emerged. We engulfed her with love, time and kindness, and of course, medications! Within a month, her ears were cleared up, and we were bathing her several times a week in medicated shampoo so her skin showed massive improvement. She had been bored being alone that she had developed a “licking habit”, which was destroying her skin, so we worked on finding her new habits. Once she was feeling better, it was apparent that she really WAS a darling, and a smart one at that.

From the start, we thought that her age might be a disadvantage in getting her adopted. Then, we met her, and saw all of her problems, and truly considered whether it might not be kinder to euthanize her. However, the more we worked with and loved her, the less we considered that option. She was a lovely and love-y kind of dog. She loved long walks, was eager to please and adored us. She loved to be held like a baby and kissed and her belly rubbed. Who could NOT fall in love with her?

So, I started the search for a suitable home. After several promising leads that dead-ended, I found Pat, a woman in Pennsylvania who had lost her dog the year before. She felt that she was ready to welcome a new dog into her life. Because I had grown so fond of Phoebe, I really had a hard time thinking of letting her go. I wanted to make sure she was going to the right home. Once Pat and Phoebe met, however, I had no more doubts. Pat came right in and got down on the floor with Phoebe. They bonded instantly. There was no question that we had happened upon a perfect match.

Here is a letter from Pat: (edited for space):

Here’s the news… Phoebe and I just graduated from our “Beginning Manners” class. We went for 7 weeks with 6 other puppies ranging in age from 6 to 8 months. Phoebe was the oldest, and smartest of the bunch. What a scholar and a star!!! We got our diploma today and will enroll in “Advanced Manners” starting next month. Phoebe will graduate with a “Canine Good Citizenship” certificate. Soon, she’ll have a PhD.

Kris, I just love Phoebe more than I have ever thought possible. She is so smart and good-natured and People-oriented. She really started to blossom in school — was shy at first, but the class leader by the end. Today, she did the obstacle course like a fearless pro! She goes everywhere with me and makes friends with everyone she meets.

I just love my Phoebe and thank YOU for bringing her into my life and for giving her such a loving and positive start in her new life.

Take care and God Bless.