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Our Newest Family Member
Rescuing Charlie

It all started with one single thought. The thought that something was missing in our lives. We had to give our dog away when we moved from Texas to New Jersey. It was heartbreaking. Gabby was one of the most loving dogs. We had drove 5 hrs one way to pick her from a litter of puppies. I remember she was the only black one and the big red bow around her neck was bigger than she was. As you can imagine, leaving her was one of the hardest decisions we had to make when moving. We have now been in New Jersey for 1 1/2 yrs and decided that we REALLY miss having a companion for Trace…and for ourselves.

One single thought. Everyone knows when I think of something I will fight to see it happen until it is DONE. I called the landlord literally that second. I promised them a small dog, no shedding and potty trained. They were so kind and happily agreed that we could get a dog. Jeff was shocked and I was motivated. HA! My good friend and dog lover, Erika, sent me the cutest photo on Petfinder. That was the moment I went down the rabbit hole of trying to find the perfect dog for our family online. I left to shoot a session and the whole drive there and back and even on my date with Jeff- I was searching. I wanted a white fluffy dog that was petite and sweet. I located 2 dogs that I fell in love with.  I contacted the first dog owner ASAP and they replied very quickly. “She was just adopted an hour ago” ARGH! My heart was broke, but I had a back up plan. There was another dog named Tyson in Queens, NY at Heavenly Angels Rescue. We were all packed in the car getting ready to go to the pumpkin patch. I looked at Jeff as we sat in the driveway and said, “We have to go to Queens NOW”. He looked at me like I was insane. He knew from the look on my face I was serious and all plans had changed! HA!

After 2 long hours, we arrived in Queens, NY. I knew time was of the essence. I walked through the door and was welcomed by the sound of dogs barking in desperation for attention. My heart melted. There was a line of people awaiting to be united with their pet.  I just asked really quickly, “Is Tyler available to be seen”? The lady quickly replied with a sad look on her face, “He is out on a walk with a family. They have been here several times to see him. I’m almost certain they will be taking him home today”. GAH, my heart dropped and I felt like I lost. I drove my family all the way to Queens to only miss Tyson by minutes. It wasn’t meant to be. I walked outside to get fresh air and the owner encouraged me that the right dog was in there. He started quizzing me on what I want. I just told him that it was ok if we didn’t find a fit. I am picky and know what I want.

Trace and Jeff went across the street to find a restroom. I wondered back inside and waited to see if Tyson was going to get adopted. Out of pure boredom and nervousness, I walked in and out of the dog crates. I looked every dog in the eyes and ended up at the back of the building. I look to my left and there he was. Every dog was barking and there he sat with his head tilted not making a sound. I spoke to him for just a second when I was interrupted by one of the volunteers. Apparently I was not supposed to be back there! OOPS. She said that she would grab him if I wanted and bring him to the front. YES YES YES! Please!

I was pacing back and forth…then she said, “This is Cocoa Puff” and put him in my arms. I immediately started to cry and kiss him. All this time I was looking for the perfect dog. I couldn’t find him because he was supposed to find me. I loved him from the moment I saw him. He was not online, he wasn’t even in the system yet because he was so new. They had rescued him from the kill shelter the week prior and hadn’t had time to get him online. The only thing they knew about him was that he was dropped off by his owners because he wasn’t active enough. That baffled me! That broke my heart! So, I walked him up and down the side walk and cuddled in the streets of New York with him. He was mine. I claimed him right then and there. With tears streaming down my face, Jeff and Trace returned. It was instant- he was ours. The folks at Heavenly Angels Rescue were so kind and thorough. We really recommend them to anyone looking to adopt a pet.

Funny thing happened- Tyson and his new family came out of the door as I’m crying over my new found pup. The man said, “Now thats a good looking dog. You’re lucky!”. I soon let him know that I drove from North Jersey to get the very dog he just adopted. He looked very surprised and said, “I’ll trade ya”. Are you kidding me? I kindly said, NO and proceeded with my adoption of “Cocoa Puff”.  hehe Kind of funny.

He was nameless at this point. So he was just a pronoun at this point! HA! We went to the pet store and I bought him everything he could ever need! Spoiled rotten! By the time we got home I just looked at him with his lion sized head and said, “He looks like a Charlie”. Trace agreed and Jeff did too. Charlie it is. He has added laughter, joy and smiles to our home. We are so excited he chose us to be his family. We love him!!!

Everyone, meet Charlie.


Leaha, Jeff & Trace


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Mindy Nyikos -

Brought tears to my eyes reading this, especially when I read:
‘I was pacing back and forth…then she said, “This is Cocoa Puff” and put him in my arms. I immediately started to cry and kiss him. All this time I was looking for the perfect dog. I couldn’t find him because he was supposed to find me.’
Love this new addition to your family, how blessed Charlie and you all are to have each other!

Ginger Cheney Allen -

Beautiful….Don’t ya love it when you listen to God?