Montoya - Aspen - Mount Pleasant, SC

Miss Aspen was posted by Vilma Briggs on Facebook in August, 2013. She is an older lady, almost 8.5 years old at the time. I fell love with the idea of having a senior live out her retirement in my home, and when Vilma said yes, I was ecstatic! Next came the logistics. This is the longest part of Aspen’s story!

I live in Charleston, SC with my 24 year old daughter; both of us are in school and have very little extra time for driving to Ohio to pick up a dog. Vilma found a foster home with Elaine Lawrence in MD for a month until I could meet up with them at a draft test in mid-VA. Michael O’Hara offered to pick Aspen up from Elaine and bring her to VA as he was attending the draft test. That was a wonderful offer I couldn’t pass up! He saved me a round trip of several hours!

Finally the day came to go meet Aspen at the draft test in Crozet, VA. Sept. 22, 2013! I brought Blade with me so Aspen would have some company on the ride home. Michael O’Hara showed up right on time! He had Aspen in his back seat, eating snacks. Lucky for me, Maria Crifasi was there with her RV. Blade had already met her Maggie during the summer and was quite smitten. He stayed in the nice air-conditioned RV while I took some time getting to know Aspen.

I was expecting an old lady. Aspen was a surprise! She is a pistol at her age! More like a puppy than an adult. Sweet as can be, but she was trying way too hard. I can’t imagine what was going through her mind with all the changes in her life in such a short time. It has taken a few months, but she has settled in quite well. She even claimed a chair as her bed.

Aspen’s manners were less than perfect. Barking, grumbling at me, leaping in my face, going potty in the house if she got too excited. Poor Aspen needed to calm down and relax. I believe these dogs assume they have done something unforgiveable when they are rehomed or dropped off somewhere. Dogs are sentient beings; they have feelings and can be deeply hurt by human actions.

Aspen needed to understand she was safe and wasn’t leaving again. The more hugs, kisses and reassurance Aspen got, the more she relaxed. Her sense of humor showed through her crusty exterior, her love of bye-byes in my car was obvious, she “sass-talks” to us, and it’s hilarious! Aspen is a blast, especially considering she will be 9 years old when the Gallery goes up at the National.

Laurie and Sara Montoya
Mount Pleasant, South Carolina
Aspen, Berner Garde # 107027

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