Maryanne and Doug (aka Tiny) James’ house was festooned with it’s-a-girl balloons and pastel decorations; the kitchen counter was loaded down with cookies, jelly beans and bubbly; and about half the living room floor was piled with gifts: high-end dog food, toys, blankies and a stroller for when the dogs decided to take advantage of the live-in chauffeur. It was a sweet homecoming party to honor the first day of the rest of the lives of Chloe and Beatrice, two little dogs who’ve been through the wringer.
Moving continually from physical embrace to sniffing feet to nosing around the outdoor patio and back into anyone’s arms were Chloe and her new sister—or, more fittingly, grandma—having the time of their lives. Beatrice is a poodle mix whom Fix Long Beach also fostered. She’d had extensive surgery, and all but four of her teeth had been extracted. Veterinarians estimated her to be between 8 and 12 years old, but she didn’t act her age as she skittered joyously across the James’ slick hardwood floors.
Chloe made national and global news in December as a victim of horrible animal abuse—“the worst case I’ve seen in 30 years,” according to a veterinary assistant. Fix Long Beach volunteers had brought her first to Primary Care Animal Hospital and then to Long Beach Animal Emergency to nurse her through her extensive injuries. She had an initially rough road to recovery that the Long Beach Post and other news outlets chronicled. Many members of the public clamored to adopt her, moved by the pain and humiliation that the little girl had suffered and quite possibly and understandably attracted by an element of celebrity.
“Originally, we had 400 people who said that they were submitting applications, but as people filled them out and came to requests for referrals from the vet and other people, it weeded the number down to 75,” said Diana Kliche, president of Fix Long Beach’s board.
Board member Pam Rainsdon said that the Jameses were selected from among several qualified applicants because of their dedication to Chloe’s situation even before it was determined that she was going to pull through. The couple had also cared for disabled pets.
“[Maryanne and Doug] supported Chloe from the very beginning and not because they wanted to adopt her—that was later,” Rainsdon said. “They helped put signs up to find the abuser, and they volunteered for us. We also wanted to be sure that her medical [needs] would be taken care of.”
As of this writing, the abuser has not been identified; a $20,000 reward is still being offered for information leading to his or her arrest.
Maryanne said that she and Tiny surprised themselves by their desire to adopt Chloe. They recently lost their dog Betty, who was abandoned in a backyard when she was a puppy. Unbeknownst to the Jameses, Betty wasn’t a healthy girl. During the time she lived with them, she lost one eye to surgery and went through multiple veterinary visits. The Jameses weren’t daunted by the medical bills, which totaled tens of thousands of dollars, but when Betty died, they were devastated.
“We gave her the best two and a half years of her life,” Maryanne said. “We said, no more.”
Anyone who’s truly loved an animal, though, knows that love isn’t finite. Shortly after Betty’s death, Maryanne and Tiny saw Chloe on the news.
“We deep down fell in love with her,” Maryanne said. “We felt connected because of what happened with Betty.”
Earlier this month, Maryanne and Tiny were overjoyed when they learned that they’d been selected as Chloe’s new parents.
“We’re just so happy, elated and excited,” Maryanne said. “I cried all day long when I found that I’d been approved—both our eyes were swollen. I never thought that this day was going to come.”
“I met her at the vet’s office, and I had her on my mind all day long,” Maryanne said. “When Pam said that no one would take her, I walked back to the vet and said to Beatrice, ‘You’re coming home with me to spend the rest of your life in a wonderful home, getting spoiled rotten and having everything you need.’ [Dogs like Beatrice] are the ones that are always left behind—nobody wants them.”
Everyone wanted an audience with Chloe’s and Beatrice at their homecoming as they bounced between photo ops and sniffing after their own interests. Beatrice was having a ball, but it was Chloe who was the marvel. To look at her playing with Beatrice and wagging her tail at the human guests, you’d never think it was the same dog who would have perished in agony in a dumpster but for the intervention of a caring, unselfish community.
“I can’t believe she survived,” one guest said as she watched the contented little dog.
“This is why we do this,” an audibly choked-up Rainsdon.
Watch Chloe’s continuing story on her Facebook page. If you have space in your heart and home, adopt an unwanted pet in her honor.
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