As newlyweds my husband and I had just bought a house and settled in but knew something was missing. More life in the house! We decided the timing was right for us to adopt a rescue dog. We both love our friend’s chihuahua so after some discussion it was an easy decision to call CCRT.

We went to meet two puppies. One sweet little girl and one scared little boy. We were only taking one home. The boy pup, a handsome grey and white merle with one blue eye and one brown eye, sat on the back of the couch trying to keep himself separated from the other dogs and humans. It was easy to see that the puppy mill he was rescued from taught him to distrust everything. As we approached the couch he growled and even snapped to warn us to stay away.  We felt for him. He was trying to be brave but couldn’t even bring himself to make eye contact. He had no idea what it was like to feel relaxed, let alone loved.

To our amazement, by the end of the visit, my husband Mark had somehow managed to make him feel eased enough that he was able to gently stroke his back. He had somehow gained a bit of trust from this fearful little puppy. We knew it would be a long road but we equally knew he was worth it .

We brought him to his new home in St. Catharines. My husband is from Ireland so we gave him a good Irish name….Finnigan. And it’s been a bromance between my husband Mark and Finnigan ever since. They are completely in love. I had to remind Mark that as his wife I should get the first kiss in the morning lol.

At first Finnigan was territorial and didn’t like anyone else around but the three of us. He didn’t know what to do with a toy, he would sniff and lick it. He didn’t like to be touched often. Going on a walk or being on a leash was new to him. We learned that Finnigan was happiest when he had routine, rules, structure and when he knew what was going to happen before it happened. For example…when we approach him we say the words “all aboard’ to signal we are about to pick him up or “belly tickles” to let him know he is about to get pet.. He was slowly coming out of his shell but still needed to gain confidence and let go of the fear. He wasn’t sure how to just be a puppy.

That’s until……little Bijou came along. She is our second rescue pup and the fourth member of our family.

When we talked to Terry about how far Finnigan had come along and that we were ready to adopt a second rescue pup she suggested a little pup who had been recently surrendered by her owners. “Darcie, there is something really nice about having two puppies together” Terry said. I admit I didn’t realize just how true her statement would turn out to be.

My husband Mark came up with the name Bijou which means “little jewel” in french. It suited her perfectly. She could look like Rudolph’s girlfriend if only she had the red bow on top her head. Light tan feathery coat and big brown eyes framed in thick eyelashes that she would blink inquisitively. So fragile and delicate and innocent so it would seem.

But were we wrong. Our “little jewel” is agile, brave, curious and all around tomboy. She is definitely nobody’s accessory. Bijou’s antics make us laugh every day. Mark sings “she ain’t nothing but a clown dog” in his best Elvis voice. The best part of it all is that she has brought out the fun in Finnigan. She taught him how to play. They look like little reindeers training for Christmas Eve the way they tackle each other and roll around together.

Finnigan has gained so much confidence from watching the brave wonder pup that is Bijou. He is even somewhat warming up to house guests. They are always together whether it is in sleep or in play. Every morning Finnigan cleans Bijou’s ears and she rewards him by nibbling on his.

We are happy to report that both Bijou and Finnigan are proud graduates of Pet Smart’s Puppy Training Class. We are taking them on our summer holiday to Dublin, Ireland.  As I’m writing this I spot them next to each other happily chewing on deer antlers. We couldn’t be more grateful for the love, joy and lessons in life that we’ve been provided by our two treasures. Time to give them kisses.

Thanks to Terry and CCRT
With Much Gratitude, Darcie & Mark