Adelaide’s Journal – Chapter 1

She was first known as Puncture Dog. Found in a ditch by Animal Control in Nelson County, VA, the tiny tri-colored stray was dehydrated, emaciated, covered in ticks, and infested with parasites.  Taken directly to the Lovingston Veterinarian Hospital,  she was hooked up to fluids and three people picked ticks off her for 20 minutes.  They cleaned the maggots from the wounds on her back and on both back legs, gave her antibiotics, dewormer, and a flea/tick treatment.  Tests for Lyme and Ehrlichia were positive.  No one knew for certain what happened to her; maybe she’d been attacked by a bear or coyote.

Varied paperwork showed her age estimates at 2, 3, or 4 years of age. Whatever year she was actually born, it appears that Puncture Dog may never have any known history prior to June 26, 2017 at 1:15pm. Intake history also reveals that on her BCS (Body Condition Score), a range of 1-5, with 5 being good health, Puncture Dog was scored as 1. She was much closer to death than life.

After three days of hospitalization, Dr. Ligon discharged Puncture Dog to Animal Control, who was required to keep her for a week from the day she was discovered to give her owner time to find her. But no one came forward for the sweet little stray, so Animal Control released her to the Nelson County Humane Society, a giant treasure of a small no-kill shelter, also known as Almost Home and The Little Shelter that Can. There, Puncture Dog was tenderly and lovingly greeted and cared for by deeply devoted staff. Fonda Bell also re-named Puncture Dog; she became Adelaide.

Two days after Adelaide entered Almost Home, I woke to find an email from Flower Vankan, who, with her husband Ed, are adoption counselors at Almost Home. Several weeks earlier, Flower had helped me re-home my cherished Beau, a long-legged, three-year-old Beagle-Whippet that I’d adopted the previous year. Beau had become too strong for me to handle when he saw deer, abundant on my quiet wooded country acreage. The day he jumped his fence because a deer was on the other side, I knew I could no longer keep him safe from the risk of being hit by a car or truck if he were chasing a deer. I called Almost Home and connected with Flower, who arranged Beau’s transition to his new owner Liz. In a moment I will never forget, the moment Liz and Beau met at the Crozet dog park, he ran to greet her and the oxygen filled with love at first sight. Theirs is a relationship that I feel reverential about. I have been writing that story in Beau’s Journal.


Flower’s email, said:

Good morning Mary Jo.  I hope you are doing well.  I know Beau is thriving! 

 I heard through the grapevine that you might be interested in getting a smaller, more manageable, less energetic dog someday.  You might not be ready yet, but when you are I’d love to help you.  That being the case, I want to tell you about this very sweet little dog our shelter took custody of 2 days ago.  She is a little bit shy but EVERYONE just loves her.  Please read about her below.  I will be at the shelter today and tomorrow from 11:00 am until 2:30 pm and I would love to introduce her to you IF you’d like to meet her.  Of course, there will be NO obligation on your part to adopt her…but I think a calm, loving home like yours (where she would never be hurt again) would be perfect for her.  AND…she might be your little cup of tea too.  

Thinking of you with love in my heart.  (You sure turned Beau into a wonderful doggie!)  Flower

Along with some of the information in the opening paragraph, Flower wrote: Adelaide is so skinny that her little head is bony.  She is missing some hair due to tick infestation and poor nutrition.  Her hair is sure to grow back and be very soft, once good nutrition kicks in.  She stayed at Lovingston Vet for three nights, receiving their TLC the entire time and by the time she left, she was wagging her tail and eating hungrily. 

Adelaide is tiny (about 14 pounds) but of course needs to gain a few pounds.  After she gains some weight and strength, she will be spayed (probably a week from now).  Even though her body isn’t feeling its best right now, her little spirit is beginning to feel happy.  And oh how we love being part of her happiness and healing process.

Once she is spayed, she will need to be kept calm for a week while she heals from it.  Anyone who has ever had a “little” Beagle knows how special they are.  They make wonderful house pets! 


I forwarded Flower’s email to my daughter, Polly: Want to visit Adelaide with me today or tomorrow?  Then I wrote to Flower and Fonda with an important question: Is Adelaide okay with cats? I have 7 year old Button, whom I found abandoned at age five days, who sees himself as an only child. He’s not nice to other cats, which is why I adopted Beau after my 21-year-old cat, Hilary, died. Beau and Button did just fine together. .

If Adelaide is okay with a cat, definitely, I will be down to meet her. 


Flower tested Adelaide with the shelter’s cats and reported she had no reaction to them, even when two of them reached out a paw to touch her.

Polly and I planned to visit Adelaide the following morning.



About Mary Jo Doig

At the turn of the millennium, I arrived at a cross-road that brought me to a splendid, if unforeseen place, almost as if I were a traveler on Robert Frost's The Road Less Traveled. I was single again, my three children were grown and building their lives, I'd experienced a health issue and was working on an improved lifestyle. I also ached to do two other things: (1) change my long human services career in upstate New York's Catskill Mountains, where winter seemed to be at least seven months out of every year, and (2) move to a warmer place in the universe. My decision: did I want to continue on the path I'd been following pretty much all my life, or could I gather my then-fragile courage and start life brand new somewhere else? These were scary thoughts for a single woman in her late 50s. Five hundred miles away, though, I fell in love with a new mountain range, Virginia's Blue Ridge Mountains, where I knew not a soul except my daughter who was attending college in the Shenandoah Valley, and I moved. I rented a tiny cabin on a mountain in the woods and lived there in solitude for two years, working in a new career by day and, when home, communing with the incredible natural beauty that surrounded me. There I also began to write my life stories, which were aching for release. I joined the Story Circle Network in early 2001, a rich place in cyberspace for women life writers, where I strengthened my written voice and began sharing my stories. I found so many opportunities to grow: 10 year facilitator for an online writing circle of women writers across the country; thirteen year editor of the "True Words from Real Women" section of the quarterly Journal; a reader and reviewer of women's memoirs for the SCN Book Review site; program chair for two Stories from the Heart national conferences in Austin, T. Presently I'm teaching Women's Life-Writing and Older Women's Legacy workshops in my part of the world in Central Virginia and facilitating the ongoing Circle of Memories Writing Circle (formerly an OWL workshop that continued on) at the Crozet Public Library. I am blessed with three wonderful children, a son and two daughters; a small, huge-hearted family; dear friends; my beagle Addie and cat Button. My hobbies include reading, writing, editing, cooking, gardening, quilting, knitting, biking, and simply being with the profound beauty of the mountains that embrace my small two acres in the Blue Ridge. The life stories I began writing in 2001 have grown deeper with time, re-writes, and personal growth. All these years later, I'm scheduled to publish my memoir, Stitching a Patchwork Life, in 2018.
This entry was posted in Animal friends, Compassion, Courage, Gifts, Grace, Health, Kindness, Nurturance. Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to Adelaide’s Journal – Chapter 1

  1. winegarten says:

    I can hardly wait to read the next installment. “Flower.” What a terrific name! I want to also know how you landed on Adelaide, makes me think of a Steven Foster song or, what’s that song is it from the Music Man this story made
    Start running through my head, “Lila Rose, I’m home again Rose…”


    • Mary Jo Doig says:

      Thanks a bunch, Deb! Flower, yes, I agree it’s such a wonderful name. On their first date, her husband told her she looked like a flower and it’s been her name ever since. Their devotion to each other and the shelter animals is as many volunteer hours per week as most people work.

      I’ll tell you about Addie’s home-coming in the next chapter. xo


  2. Mary Jo, Adelaide is one lucky puppy to have found you and so many who have been loving her back to health and vitality. I love your blog post and look forward to hearing more about your journey together. Very touching story.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. face what you know says:

    Be still my heart! A love story in the making ❤

    Liked by 1 person

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