My Very First Rescued Bouvier
by Pam Green, © 2020
Two days before Christmas , 1987 I think, I got a phone call from my obedience mentor, Ellen Haro of Greenfield's Belgian Sheepdogs. She said that one of her students had been at the Sacramento County Animal Control Shelter checking out a report of a possible Belgian there. She spotted a Bouvier there. Tomorrow would be the dog's death date, probably early in the afternoon so that the shelter staff could go home early for their holiday. (In those days dogs were held for 2 days for owner reclaim, then up for adoption for two days, then killed. And it didn't matter if some of those days were days the shelter was actually closed. Shelters were pretty much "garbage disposals" for unwanted animals. Things have changed a lot since then.) I immediately phoned the Shelter to say I wanted this dog. "Don't kill her ! Please don't kill her !!!!" It was then about 4:30 pm and the shelter was an hour away unless I drove suicidally fast, and they didn't do adoptions in the last half-hour anyway. They said be there at opening time tomorrow (9 am probably). "I'll be there ! Don't kill her !!!!!" (And I phoned Chelsea's breeder who lived not far from the shelter to make sure that she could go that morning, just in case my truck wouldn't start or other disaster.)
I found this totally matted dog, undeniably a Bouv. She was wearing "cement britches" made of her matted hair and feces. She looked and smelled dreadful. I signed the documents, brought her home, phoned Ellen for advice on grooming, then hopped into the bathtub with the dog trying to disentangle and clean up her coat. Two hours later, we emerged, the dog cleaner and sweeter smelling, myself pretty much the opposite. (I've since learned to grab the clippers instead of soap and creme rinse.)
That night, Christmas Eve, I was sitting in front of the fireplace with this still wet Bouv at my feet pondering the fact that she would have been dead several hours ago. Both my roommates had gone to their family homes for the night. So just me and dogs, Ariane plus Chelsea and Bones, in front of a nice fire. Peace on Earth, Good Will to Dogs.
I named her "Ariane", which is the French version of "Ariadne". Ariadne is the Cretan princess-priestess who enabled Theseus to survive the Labyrinth. He had promised to marry her, but became afraid of her power and abandoned her on the island of Naxos. Somehow I knew that this rescue was the first of many (though I never suspected just how many it would become), so I was going to give names alphabetically, often names of characters who had either been betrayed and abandoned or ones who had been through Hades.
"Ari" was adopted by a member of the Bouvier club , SCBDFC. He was a schoolmaster at a private school that had quite a variety of students. Below is a photo of her with a few of them, about as many as could drape themselves onto her body at once. Everyone is grinning.
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