6:38 am   


There she was. Looking totally unassuming. Sitting on the lap of a PAW volunteer watching the people walk by.

I had been checking the PAW web site every few days and my husband Teo and I decided to go to a pet store on a weekend to visit two dogs we thought might be suitable for us. One of the dogs wasn't there; the other one didn't move us. We viewed the dogs and left disappointed because we hadn't found ours. We went to a couple of stores in that shopping center, and I wanted to stop back at PETCO to take one more look. I'm so glad we did.

I didn't notice her the first time, but suddenly there she was. Her name was Maude and she was a beautiful mixed Weimaranar with amber eyes. Only 9 months old, Maude had found her comfort zone, as big as she was, on a welcoming lap. She looked and behaved so sweetly, I felt an instant connection.

After signing up and waiting eagerly we were approved to adopt the puppy on October 15, 1999. Lawrie, her foster mom, was very helpful providing Maude's personality, profile and history. We called her "pretty girl" at first because it was so fitting; however within a few days we renamed her Cleo, short for Cleopatra.

Surprisingly calm for a puppy, Cleo fit in and her attachment to us was immediate. Cleo wants to be wherever we are, including the bathroom! She needs to know what we're doing at all times demanding constant attention. Cleo has a very affectionate nature, and she rolls over continually to get her belly rubbed! She likes to be hugged and when Teo or I rub her face, she always extends her arm, almost like she's hugging back! She also has the most soulful eyes I've ever known.

With the help of a crate, housetraining was a breeze. However, we enrolled Cleo in obedience class about 6 weeks later. She is so strong and would practically drag me down the street when we took our daily walks. The first day of class was quite challenging. My husband had her leashed and when we walked into the building there were about 3 other classes going on. Seeing all of this activity and all of the dogs was just too much for her to take. Cleo lost all of her composure and started barking and pulling like there was no tomorrow! After a number of disgusted looks we had to leave the building, have a firm talk with her, and try again. It wasn't that much better the second time but hey, that's why we were there. Cleo needed to work on her social skills as well as obedience. Nine weeks later she successfully passed the class, received her certificate, and was awarded a ribbon for "most improved." We were such proud parents. She has come a long way and is much more manageable now.

Cleo has brought much happiness to our lives. We don't have any children yet so she's "it" for now. Cleo is so special and I'm just so thankful that we found her. We had been actively looking for a dog for about 5 months. When we began our search, Cleo hadn't even been lost yet. I don't know what brought her to that busy road in Waldorf, Maryland, at such a young age, running loose, and dodging cars. Whatever led her there, divine order intervened and now we're blessed with her presence.

Sylvia Lee

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