December 20, 2016

Hello Mr. Bartles. Welcome home!

 // Photo credit: OBG Cocker Spaniel Rescue // 

If you already follow us on Instagram, you probably already heard of the news we've been dying to share with you since the beginning of December. We were hush hush about it (ok, except to a few close close friends) because we didn't want to jinx anything (I'm not superstitious, just a little stitious). But, there is a new family member who officially joined us yesterday. His name is Bartles, a 12 year old cocker spaniel and we adopted him from the OBG Cocker Spaniel Rescue based here in the Washington D.C. area.

I actually saw Bartles on OBG's site (and Facebook page) back probably late spring maybe? Ever since Piri entered the senior stage in life and when he began to get sick with one illness after another, my heart has permanently built a special spot for senior dogs. So my eyes goes to their profile and their story first. Certainly puppies are so cute. I mean who can resist their little tails and paws and their playful ways. But to me, seniors are like super old puppies, but they have attitudes where nothing phases them (or if there are things that still scare them, they get through it in stride - oh those courageous seniors). It's the most adorable combination that can only come with senior dogs (and aren't we so lucky for that?). 

I came across Bartles again after Piri crossed the rainbow bridge in October. It was around Halloween and I saw a picture pop up on my Facebook newsfeed. It was Bartles dressed in a sailor costume, the same exact one Piri wore last year. I shared Bartles' picture to my own wall and wished him all the best in his upcoming adoption event. My heart, while full of sadness with the loss of Piri, was also full of hope for Bartles to find a forever family.

You know, I am told (and you can also see on OBG's Facebook page), Bartles is quite the popular guy and so we are incredibly lucky to have been chosen to be his forever family.

But Bartles has battles he's facing too. He has been diagnosed with Cushing's Disease, and is possibly in the very early stages of kidney disease. He has lost a lot of his vision and his hearing entirely, and because of his Cushing's, he has weak muscles in his hind legs and also has skin irritations as well. 

Someone once told me, being old isn't for the weak, and we know that Bartles, while seemingly looking a bit weak on the outside, has the heart and strength of Hercules on the inside. Right before coming home to us, he had a procedure done where multiple lumps were removed on his hind leg, head and tongue and 5 teeth extracted. His foster mom, Leanne (who is amazing and wonderful by the way) let us know how he came out of it with flying colors and has been recovering just fine. 

It was in November when my heart was flipflopping because I was longing for a dog and to me Bartles seemed like the right fit. I knew if we were to adopt it would be a senior dog with a medical issue. It is a silent promise I made to Piri -- that I will try my hardest to honor and remember him by taking in a dog who is in a similar situation as him before he passed - old and sick but still so full of life and love. And I cried endless nights thinking how instead of having his beds and blankets empty and unused, Piri would've liked us to share them with a dog in search of a forever home. To us, Piri had a big sharing heart (even though he liked to shamelessly steal guest dog's beds from time to time). 

But even though I was ready to share all my love with Bartles, I was also scared and hesitant. I was coming off of a very emotional and physically (and financially) tough care for Piri. There were nights where I would be woken up multiple times because he needed to go pee or drink water, or I would be cooking endlessly in utter desperation to find something he would eat, and trying to get him to take his medicine required creativity levels I thought I did not have. And travel and such were all put on hold (unless we could take Piri with us, which when we did required meticulous planning and execution to get all his feedings, sub-q fluid injections, supplements and medication administered). And we didn't go out much to enjoy the movies or a dinner out or shopping (which we did not mind because our love for Piri was bigger). And while the first couple of weeks after Piri passed I didn't know what to do with all this free time I had, I slowly began to think, "maybe I should enjoy this free time more before signing up to take on such a big responsibility." "Maybe I should travel more, go watch more movies, go on more dates with Yangkyu, before thinking of adopting a dog."

One of the biggest factors in my deciding to email Leanne despite these small reservations was the amount of love and support we received from our friends, acquaintances, family and even strangers we have never met, after we lost Piri. They kept coming, even well past a month since he crossed the rainbow bridge (and they still continue to come now). And the more we received, the more it felt right to pay it forward. To take all this love I had for Piri, that everyone had for Piri, and share it with another dog. And my thinking from "I wish Bartles would find a forever family soon" changed more to a "Well, why can't we be his forever family?"

Even with all this though, I was still hesitant and so I reached out to Angel Billy's mom first, Andrea (Billy is also an OBG alum and came to Piri's Place on multiple occasions). She foster failed with Billy and have also fostered a couple more times as well. So I thought to ask her if there was an etiquette when reaching out to foster volunteers to inquire about a dog. My biggest worry was reaching out and having them go the nine yards in explaining and answering all my questions when I wasn't 100% sure about adopting. I didn't want to waste anyone's time. But Andrea encouraged me to reach out and share any concerns or questions I had. 

Even after this positive exchange with Andrea, it took me a good week (and a couple days?) to finally send an email to Leanne. I think I rambled in my email. I was nervous. I wasn't sure. I was excited. I felt unsure whether I was betraying Piri or forgetting about him. And then I received an incredibly thoughtful and honest email from her. Andrea gave me a heads up that Leanne was amazing, and after reading her email, I knew exactly what Andrea was talking about. 

My email exchange with Leanne led to Yangkyu and I attending an adoption event in Springfield on December 3 - the day before we were leaving for Munich. We spent the entire three hours there with Bartles and afterwards Yangkyu and I decided that we wanted to bring him home. Any reservations we had leading up to that moment vanished, or even though it was there, it didn't seem daunting (like we had pictured it to be).  

I let Leanne know that we were all in and had planned on filling his adoption papers after we came back from our trip. 

Perhaps my impatient personality pays off from time to time, because I actually submitted the application on Sunday afternoon, just hours before our flight to Munich. And our adoption papers were approved while we were there. We had a little celebration. 

You guys, it was seriously so hard to keep it all in. I wanted to share the pictures I was getting of him and share the many stories that we were making with Bartles, even though he wasn't quite home with us yet. But you know, the little stititous side of me held steadfast and I kept mum until he finally came home.

That picture of Bartles on top of this post is from the adoption event when we met him for the first time. Leanne emailed a bunch of his holiday pictures to us and this was the first picture that popped up in my email and I laughed. He looks so adorable and goofy at the same time and it became my favorite from the bunch. I kept looking at this picture of him while we were in Munich and said to Yangkyu, "I think this is the same exact face expression I made when I saw the Munich Christmas Market for the first time." And soon the picture was known as "Bartles concentration level = treats."

Bartles also did this thing during the adoption event where he would go around Pet Valu taking any chews he can with him. And he was taking the big ones, you know. And he grabbed with his teeth and yanked with his neck. 

In Munich, because I have braces, it was hard to eat and so I was using my neck too to pull at sandwiches and such and I said to Yangkyu, "Hey, don't I look like Bartles when he was pulling the chews off the shelves?" And we laughed at the similarities. 

Do you recall a few paragraphs ago when I mentioned how my heart was still so sad from losing Piri but so hopeful for Bartles? I felt these two contradicting feelings the entire time I was in Munich. I had moments when I cried (and cried hard) because I was still so sad over our loss of Piri but I was smiling and laughing every time I thought about Bartles and this picture. 

Even just a couple of days ago, I was crying when I needed to update Piri's dog license and change his status to "deceased". Then the follow day Bartles came home to us and while Leanne was going over things with us, Bartles who had been sleeping so quietly on the doggy bed, all of the sudden rolled off the bed doing a complete 360. I don't know why but this was so completely adorable to me and it gave me the uncontrollable giggles (I mean even when Leanne, after sharing a laugh, continued on explaining, I interrupted with my laughs and I felt so horrible if it came off rude or I wasn't paying attention but Bartles has this effect on me - he gives me the never ending giggles). 

When we announced Bartles yesterday to our friends on Facebook and Instagram we were met with such love and support. They welcomed Bartles with open arms and let him know that he hit the jackpot with us and how we would care for him greatly. I think we were flattered to last us a lifetime and it humbles us to think that our friends think of us this way. But to tell you the truth, from October onwards, Bartles has given me the gift of laughter in unexpected ways. From when I saw him in his sailor costume, to when we saw him grabbing the big chews at his adoption event, to his goofy treat concentration picture to him so adorably rolling off his bed, Bartles has been working his cocker magic to heal my heart. I think we hit the jackpot with him. 

I am so thankful for Bartles, to Leanne who played such a big role in helping Bartles' on his journey to his forever home, to OBG and their tireless rescue work, his former humans who loved him in his formative years until they had to part with him, Piri who taught me love and patience and to everyone who grieved with us and who have equally been so happy for our latest news. I am looking forward to seeing how our story will unfold.

After Bartles' rolled off his bed yesterday, Leanne let me know that there will be many more of these "Oh Bartles" moments like this. I decided that would be the perfect hashtag for him for everyone to follow along on Instagram. #ohbartles 

Welcome home, Bartles.

 // Yes, I cried so much writing this post and laughed too. I love you Piri and Bartles. I think you guys would've been great friends.

 // Piri and Bartles are both March babies. March is now my favorite month. 

 // It makes me so happy to see the available dogs page on OBG's website with a little "adopted" caption on Bartles' photo

 // If you are looking to make a donation to close out your year, won't you consider OBG as a welcome home nod to Bartles? 

 // Photo credit: OBG Cocker Spaniel Rescue // 

 // I will never ever forget you, Piri. I will always always love you and have you in my heart forever. #mydogpiri // 


  1. I also cried reading your blog post. I'm still sad over Piri's passing but I'm also so happy to see that you both found Bartles and gave him a forever home. You're right about senior dogs. They're the least favourable ones and many find them challenging to take care. Yet, they're those that needed love most. Now, you have a new companion and keep you busy. I believe Piri will never be forgotten. He spent many years with you and I believe the memories will forever remain in you and Yangkyu. I'm excited to see more of Bartles pictures soon =)

  2. I'm sad, because I know hownit feels like to lose a dog like Piri, so close to your heart. However, I am ecstatic that you both have opened your home and heart to such charming and wonderful dog like Bartles.

    Even when we lose such angels in our life, they never really leave us.In moments like these where we start to care for another, is when our little angels surface. In every care and loving gesture we do for our dogs. In everything Piri has taught you. Every action from now on will always have a little Piri in it.The impact that Piri had in your life will never disappear, or be forgotten because it'll be there in every little thing you do.Bartles will feel it, Yangkyu will feel it, and you will feel it too.

    He may have crossed the rainbow bridge, but he left so much more with you, inside you. He has made both of you stronger, and more caring.

    So celebrate him, and celebrate Bartles.
    It is now a new journey, that Piri has helped shape and start. I'm so happy that Bartles and both of you have been blessed with each other.

    I wish all of you the best.

  3. Congratulations to your family and Bartles! This sounds like it was 100% meant to be and I'm looking forward to a lot more laughs with you all

  4. Our family Cocker Spaniel passed when I was 17 (eep... 15 years ago!) and even still, when I think about him or see his pictures, I cry. Piri was your family so it's natural to keep feeling that way. I mean, I never got the chance to personally meet Piri but I still tear up when I read your words about him or see his photos.

    Bartles is indeed the luckiest pup to have found his way into your guys' lives. He's absolutely adorable-- I can see why he stole your heart so easily. <3

  5. Oh Bartles! He is adorable, and very very lucky to have you. <3

  6. "It makes me so happy to see the available dogs page on OBG's website with a little "adopted" caption on Bartles' photo. "

    Tears to my eyes ❤️

  7. Awwwww so so exciting (and I feel super lucky to have gotten sneak peaks on instagram of your news!!). What a cutie Bartles is and what an amazing story Jane, I loved reading all of it, very emotional and beautiful :) :)


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