To be honest, our house was completely divided as to whether or not we should have a dog become a part of our family. At the time our son was in the second grade and our daughter was in the first grade. My husband and daughter wanted to get a dog more than anything, but my son and I did not. My son was terribly afraid of dogs to the point that one day when we were walking to our neighborhood pool, he ran into the street without looking to avoid coming into contact with another dog that was walking in our direction. He was almost hit by a car, but because of quick reflexes on the driver’s part our son managed to escape a potential injury. Aside from his fear of dogs, my son also has asthma so that was another concern.

After much research and speaking to my son’s allergist, a vet friend, and another friend whose father rescued two Wheatens from Wheatens in Need, we decided that we would go for it and try to rescue a soft-coated wheaten terrier. I made initial contact with Gwen in the fall of 2007. I already knew that being matched with a wheaten could happen quickly or it could take a few months, depending on the criteria we had for a dog, availabilities, and our location in relation to the potential rescue.

I called a few times to follow up with Gwen to see if any dog had become available. I remember that finally when I called in January, 2008, on the Thursday before Martin Luther King Day, I was told that an 8-month-old female named Riley had become available just the night before and she lived in Indiana. She was an owner turn in as the owners were an older couple and they had an older wheaten in addition to Riley. They couldn’t handle taking care of the two dogs and decided that it would be better if another family could care for their energetic puppy. We were living in Louisville, Kentucky at the time, so she lived about an hour or so away from our house.

Gwen arranged it so that on the Saturday after my phone call, my husband actually drove to the owner’s home to pick up Riley and bring her home to us in Louisville. While my husband was picking up Riley, the kids and I went to the pet store to buy everything under the sun for her—a new leash, collar (just in case), dog food, dog bed, treats, chew toys, dental wipes, etc. It was a lot of fun shopping for our soon to be new family member. Riley was brought home to us and was renamed Spumoni Macaroni Yoda Cocoa Hoag (she answers to Spumoni). The first day my son was really afraid of Spumoni and he wanted to either live on the kitchen table or move out to the swing set in the back yard. We told him that neither option was a practical one. That first day he kept his distance, but our daughter immediately fell in love with Spumoni. She may have already been in love with her before Spumoni even made it to our house! I have to admit that I also fell in love as soon as she jumped out of our car!

The day after Spumoni arrived, our son actually warmed up to her and over time has really grown to care for her and love her. Fast-forward to the present and Spumoni has to sleep in his bed with him every night or else he cannot go to sleep. She thinks she is a human as she has her own pillow and gets right under the covers with him. I was in graduate school when we got Spumoni, and she kept me company as I studied and wrote my thesis. She would crawl under my desk and keep my feet warm and listen to my ideas as I typed, or she would listen to me during our long walks in the neighborhood.

In 2010, our family moved to Longmeadow, Massachusetts because of a job change. We drove the 16-hour car ride with Spumoni in the car with us because we didn’t want to put her on a plane. She has done great in her new home with us and we take daily walks in the woods where she plays with her doggy friends—Molly, Stella, Tucker, Ollie, Abby, and Shadow. The kids in the neighborhood also really like her and always look forward to seeing her.

Having Spumoni become a part of our lives has been one of the best decisions that we have ever made. I think that everyone should have a wheaten terrier so they can experience the famous Wheaten greetin’ when walking through the door after a hard day at work!

I have since become a WIN volunteer because I believe in this breed and in this group! I have since helped transport and foster Wheatens until they could find their forever homes. I couldn’t imagine my life without a soft-coated wheaten terrier.