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Our house has been quiet and, honestly, we've been lonely since Freddie crossed the Rainbow Bridge in September to be with our other dogs Jimmy and Joey. It was the first time in 17 years, we hadn't shared our life with a dog. Not long after Freddie crossed, we got a letter from Jimmy telling us that the three of them were taking on the task of finding our next dog, and they didn't let us down. We've just adopted Sally, a sweet little Wheaten terrier (we call her a mini-Wheat), who was wearing a red collar, just as Jimmy told us she would be. And soon after Sally arrived, we received this letter, explaining just how Freddie, Joey and Jimmy made sure she found her way into our home - and hearts. - Todd and Stephanie Belcher
Dear Stephanie & Todd,
We have been glued to channel 740 since Sally arrived at the house! Even Freddie has taken a break from her jam-packed schedule of long walks and LegLyft excursions to catch this must-see TV with Joey and me!
We've loved watching Sally explore the house, sniff the messages we left and play with her new toys. Freddie noticed that Sally already is preparing for her job as chief canine officer at Jimmydog, carefully studying the artwork on the walls and examining the dog statues that Todd has painted so she can fully understand his style.
She's been fun to watch, but what we've loved most is seeing the two of you warming to a new dog.
We think she's just about perfect. Cute, smart, energetic, curious, affectionate.
As we said in our last letter, we took our job of finding the next member of the Belcher pack very seriously. As important as our jobs as ambassadors to the Rainbow Bridge Newcomers Club are, we knew our search for your next dog would be the most important thing we've done since crossing the bridge. (And then our friend Biscuit found that perfect new girl Callie for her family and the stakes got even higher. We couldn't be outdone!)
Freddie, Joey and I had a meeting and envisioned our ideal dog for you. Most importantly, we decided she would need to love walks, car rides and outings. And, in keeping with our family tradition, we thought it best if she was an adorable terrier type, just like the three of us. We also decided she should be a little smaller than we are. (No offense, but you aren't getting any younger and we want you to be able to pick her up easily for many, many, many years to come!)
Complicating things was the fact that we weren't only searching for a perfect pet for the two of you, we were going to be finding the next CCO for Jimmydog. She would need to provide inspiration for Todd's painting, keep both of you on task during the workday and serve as spokesdog for the business. As former CCOs ourselves, we understood we had left big paws to fill!
For several weeks, Joey and I spent each morning helping get the new Rainbow Bridge arrivals settled and then, instead of playing or napping, we searched PackFinder and the rescue pages of Snoutbook. So many dogs need homes! (Too many dogs need homes!) At first, Joey wanted to send them all to live with you.
"Stephanie and Todd are the best people ever!" he would say. "All these dogs deserve to be part of the Belcher pack."
"Remember our criteria," I would tell him, pointing to the list that Freddie had written and taped to our living room wall as a reminder.
Each night, when Freddie returned from her daily outing and after we'd eaten dinner as a family, Freddie would review the dogs Joey and I had picked as possibilities.
"Nope. Nope. Maybe. Nope," she'd say, rapidly swiping left and right (mostly left) with her paw. We followed the same process day after day until about two weeks ago.
"Oh! I think this one is good." Joey said.
I took a look. She was a cute terrier mix, fond of walks. I agreed with Joey that Freckles was a solid contender and we ran a background check that came back clear. When Freddie got home, we rushed through dinner so we could show her the dog we'd found.
"Hmm," Freddie said, reviewing Freckles' profile and photos before studying the background check report.
"We think she might be the one," Joey said.
"She seems great," Freddie said. But we could tell she wasn't as excited as Joey and me. Her tail hadn't wagged once, not even a twitch. "Let me sleep on it."
Joey and I awoke to find Freddie already gone for the day, a Paws-It note stuck to our requirements list on the wall. "Keep looking. Love, Freddie," it said.
And so we did. (We always do what Freddie says!)
Then, just a few days later, we came across Sally, or Bingo as she was called in her before life. Joey saw her picture on PackFinder and before he even read her profile, he showed her to me. We both knew at first sight she was the one! No question: She would be the next Belcher dog.
Still, Freddie would demand a thorough review so Joey and I made sure she met all of our-agreed upon requirements. Check, check, check and check. Her background report was clear, too. We couldn't wait for Freddie to get home.
"Find any good candidates today?" she asked as we gnawed on after-dinner bones. This time, Joey and I had decided to play it cool.
"We found one who might be an option," Joey said as he slid his iPaw over to her.
Freddie took a look. She said nothing but her tail began to thump gently against the floor. She looked back as if to tell her tail, "Stop it!" Freddie raced through Sally's profile and background check and by the time she got done, her tail was wagging so hard her whole butt was swaying side to side.
"It's her! She's the one!" Freddie woofed. "Did you notice? She even looks a bit like me when I was a young pup!" (Joey and I exchanged looks. We realized that resemblance would help seal the deal for Freddie.)
We couldn't contain our excitement anymore. The three of us tumbled out into the yard, running, barking and clashing against each other until we were exhausted. When we headed back into the house, Freddie logged onto the site of the rescue caring for Sally and sent a Subliminal Message (it's kind of like a text message we send back across the bridge) that Sally needed to wear a red collar so Stephanie would be sure to recognize her. Then Joey fixed us a fresh batch of bones and we turned on the TV, flipping to channel 740.
On the screen, Stephanie was doing her own search of dog rescue sites, scrolling through dog after dog after dog. We could tell she was sad about things not working out with Freckles' adoption but we knew she'd understand why soon enough. Scroll. Scroll. Scroll. And then Stephanie stopped on the photo of a soft-coated Wheaten terrier, 1 1/2 years old, 26 pounds, eyes bright, tongue out. The exact same photo that stopped Joey's search.
When we saw Stephanie begin to fill out the rescue's application, we had to run around outside for a second celebration. (Who knew this dog placement process would be so exciting - or tiring?)
Freddie agreed that she needed to stay put the next few days, and Joey and I called on substitute ambassadors to take over our official Rainbow Bridge duties. None of us could bear to miss the next episodes of "Sally Finds Her Forever Home."
The day Sally arrived at your house was the single best episode we've ever seen on channel 740, paws down, and we can't wait to see what happens next.