“Just wanted to let you guys know how absolutely thrilled we are with the portrait you did of Sugar. We have had such a wonderful time with her over the past eighteen months- it is going to be so hard to say goodbye. We are grateful to have your beautiful work as a keepsake of this very special pony. We look forward to having you create more lasting memories of all of our special animal friends. Thank you for sharing your talent!”— Betsy, Josh and Owen, Winston-Salem, NC
When we adopted Sally, we knew we would eventually get a companion for her. She had previously lived with a canine friend, and a four-member pack of two people and two dogs feels right to us. Last fall, our beloved Jimmy, Joey and Freddie worked from across the Rainbow Bridge to find Sally, so we trusted their judgment and were content to wait until they sent our next pack member this way. Here Jimmy explains how our Rainbow Bridge trio selected Luna — the absolute perfect addition to our pack!
Dear Stephanie & Todd,
Freddie, Joey and I don’t like to brag (well, Freddie likes to!), but we think we did a great job picking Luna to be the newest member of the Belcher pack. Having watched channel 740 to keep up with the happenings in the Belcher household, we know you agree! She fits in like she was paw-picked to live with you — and she was, by our loving paws!
When choosing Luna, we knew we had a huge task ahead of us. The fourth member of your pack had to be the right family dog for the two of you, a best friend for Sally and a talented co-chief canine officer for Jimmydog Pet Portraits. (Whew! Writing the job description alone took us several days!)
Like we did when we sent you Sally, we cleared our scheduled, giving up our extra-curricular activities here on the other side of the Rainbow Bridge to devote ourselves to finding just the right dog. We didn’t mind: It was a labor of love!
Given the long line of terrier mixes who’ve served admirably as Belcher dogs, we focused on terriers and narrowed our list to a few final candidates. But then, one night while the three of us were chewing bones and watching Sally snooze on channel 740, Joey wandered off, returning with a photo and resume of a dog who looked nothing like a terrier.
Joey simply set the papers on the floor between us and went back to gnawing on his bone. I picked up the resume and began to read aloud:
“Interests: Food. Food. Food. Food. Food. Also, food.”
“Secondary interests: Walks, car rides, running, playing, clashing.”
“Tertiary interests: Toys, bones, naps.”
“Well, look at that!” I said. “She likes all the things we like! Amazing!”
I continued reading.
“Special skills: Very cuddly; agile jumper (can leap onto a table in a single bound, especially if there’s food on the table); dedicated forager; sound sleeper.”
Joey woofed happily when I read the “very cuddly” part. I grabbed a pen and underlined that. Stephanie, we’d heard you mention several times to Todd and others that although Sally is perfect in every way, she’s not very cuddly and that you wanted a dog for snuggles.
I read on.
“Skills: Quick learner, team player, hard worker, experienced branch manager.”
“Dislikes: Pool floats.”
“Hmm,” I said to Freddie and Joey. “The pool floats thing could be a problem. Stephanie and Todd have a lot (A LOT!) of pool floats.”
“I’m not worried about that,” Joey said. “I was always suspicious of the floats — the way they drift erratically in the pool and blow around in the yard, traveling this way and that way. I learned you just have to snap at them and they deflate instantly. Cowards. She’ll figure that out. She’s smart.”
Freddie, who hadn’t said a woof as I read, reached for the photo, holding it up to Joey for comparison.
“She looks a lot like you, Joey,” Freddie said. “Both white,soft hair, long legs, long body.”
“You think so?” Joey said, a slight smile crossing his snout. “I don’t pay much attention to appearances.”
(It is important to note here that since you adopted Sally into the Belcher pack, Freddie has not stopped talking about how much Sally resembles her. “Look at that face! That fluffy coat! That coloring! Isn’t she the cutest dog you’ve ever seen?” she asks Joey and me every night as we watch you all on TV. “Well,” we tell her, “she’s the second cutest dog we’ve ever seen. You’ll always be the first cutest!”)
“Is she a terrier?” Freddie asked. I flipped her resume to the next page. “Yep, 25% American Staffordshire terrier! Plus some cattle dog, boxer, collie — and a whole bunch of ‘mixed hound.’ ”
We all agreed that while we’re partial to terriers, “mixed” is probably the best breed of all.
Freddie laid back down and chewed on her bone for a bit. “What shall we name her?”
And, with that, the decision was made! This sweet girl would be the next Belcher dog! The three of us jumped up, chasing each other around the living room and out into the back yard to play and clash in celebration.
After we tired ourselves out, we settled in the cool grass. “Well,” Freddie said, a little exasperated. “We still haven’t named her.”
The moon was only a sliver that night yet it was a bright white, brilliant against the black sky. “Luna,” Joey said.
“Her name is Luna.” Freddie didn’t even think to argue.
We’ve been binge watching all the new episodes of “Sally and Luna” on channel 740. We didn’t plan for her first weeks with you to coincide with stay-at-home orders (even we dogs couldn’t have predicted the pandemic) but we think it’s worked out well that you’ve been able to spend so much time together. And car rides with your primary pack are definitely allowed under social distancing guidelines!
We usually watch TV as a trio but one day not long ago, Freddie and I decided to take a walk. Joey said he was sleepy and wanted a nap.
When she and I returned, Joey was watching TV. On the screen was Luna, taking a nap under the boxwoods alongside your patio in a hole Joey had worked so hard to dig years ago. Here, on this side of the Rainbow Bridge, Joey curled into a cozy ball. On your side of the bridge, Luna did the same. Soon, they were breathing together, separated by the Rainbow Bridge but linked together knowing how much they both are loved.
Tail wags and doggy kisses!