A few weeks ago I held my beloved Cinderella in my arms as she was freed from pain to cross the Rainbow Bridge. Her story began 11,12 or maybe 13 years ago. We just don’t know much about her first two years or so of life in a cruel puppy mill. We do know that she had been beaten, had her vocal cords cut and had no understanding that all humans wouldn’t hurt her.
My wife is an active member of the Bouvier Rescue organization. In fact she will stop whatever she is doing to rescue any animal or bird or amphibian needing help. She got an urgent call that a terrible puppy mill had finally been closed by the Florida authorities. Several Bouviers needed foster care until a “forever” home could be found. There were also Giant Schnauzers but their rescue league had already taken all of them into foster care. The Bouviers had been moved to a home on the outskirts of Jacksonville until foster homes could be found. The huge fenced in back yard was running wild with breeding Bouviers and their offspring. A mother and daughter were pointed out to us. The daughter had one ear standing straight up and the other flat on her head. My wife named her Palmtree. The temporary foster care host had to catch the daughter so we could see her up close. As soon as I looked into Palmtree’s eyes, I knew we were going to foster daughter and mother. Only we are incapable of fostering. Once a dog crosses the threshold they are home. Anyway I did not see how I could write a persuasive ad that would get Palmtree adopted. She was not a Bouvier poster dog.
When we got the dogs home, my wife and two of her best friends worked for hours on Saturday morning to clean the dogs up. Coats matted with feces. Nails that had never been trimmed. Encrusted eyes. They were a mess. But patiently mother and daughter put up with all the indignities of being made presentable. One of the cleanup ladies named Palmtree, Cinderella, after she was cleaned up. In all honesty she was a very scruffy looking Bouvier, too tall and too long. Being my usual stubborn self I tried to make Cinderella look like a Bouvier. Meanwhile my more astute wife said more than once, all most daily, “Cinderella is not a Bouvier.”
A year later we accepted an invitation to visit with one of my wife’s college friends in Pensacola. Dropping our dogs off at a new kennel, I noticed they offered grooming for Giant Schnauzers. I was asking some questions and the groomer asked if I wanted our Giant Schnauzer groomed while we were gone. I got over my shock and decided it wouldn’t hurt and said, “sure.” When we returned three days later, we were met at the kennel by a beautiful Giant Schnauzer with her eyes flashing while she pranced up to us. “See look I’m beautiful and I am Cinderella. And she was still gorgeous when she pranced across the Rainbow Bridge.