A Boy's Best Friend: Cheerio's Happy Tail

August 26, 2015

Some animals are people-pleasers: they love everyone they meet and aren’t afraid to show affection. Some animals are shy, and instead prefer to devote themselves to one or two close confidantes who have earned their trust. Cheerio, a one-year-old Maltese rescued from cruelty, was the latter. Fortunately, she found the perfect companion to share her life—and her love—with after being rescued by the ASPCA. Here is her Happy Tail.

Happy Tail Cheerio

When Cheerio was rescued in February 2015, she had a hair band embedded deep in her neck and head. Although her skin had started to repair itself, the band had caused damage to her left ear canal. At the ASPCA Animal Hospital, Cheerio received medical care, along with dental and spay surgeries, before heading to our Adoption Center to search for a home.

But the abuse Cheerio had endured left her emotionally drained—she was nervous around strangers and other dogs and cried when left alone.  Underneath the scared exterior, though, Cheerio was a sweet pooch eager for affection. Once she warmed up to someone, she would stick right by their side. The true definition of a “lap dog,” she loved to be stroked and cuddled. We knew that some adopter would be very lucky to have her, and fortunately, we met Jacqueline A. just a few months later.

Jacqueline admits that she wasn’t always eager for a new furry friend. “When our Bichon Frise passed away after being part of the family for 16 years, I decided to never have a dog again,” she confesses. The heartbreak was more than she could handle. But Jacqueline’s son had a different point of view. “He argued that our dog, even though a family dog, had been rather mine,” she says. “He said he wanted to go through the experience of adopting a dog and having a dog that would follow him, like my dog followed me around the house. A dog that he could call his own.”

Happy Tail Cheerio

Moved by her son’s request, Jacqueline began “window shopping” on the ASPCA website, and less than a month later they were at our Adoption Center meeting available pups in person. “We wanted a small dog that could come with us everywhere we went,” Jacqueline says, and it wasn’t long before they spotted Cheerio. “As we walked through the ASPCA, we saw her through a glass wall, all curled up and shaking. We couldn’t see her face, just a number of gray, black and taupe spots on her shaved, white body.” Cheerio had just been released from the Hospital and wasn’t ready for adoption yet, but Jacqueline’s son took one look and said “THAT ONE” without hesitation. “We decided to wait as long as it took for her to be ready for us.”

On April 10, Cheerio was finally ready. Jacqueline and her son adopted her and gave her a new name, Piccola, which means “small” or “little” in Italian.  Jacqueline says, “From the moment she came home, she displayed a great personality. She is friendly, vivacious, sometimes naughty, and so cute that we can’t take a walk without being stopped every few steps with a petting request.”

What’s more, Jacqueline adds, “From the first day, she determined that my son was her ‘person.’ Even though I am the one who feeds her and bathes her, it is my son whom she follows around the home.” In other words, it sounds like both Cheerio and Jacqueline’s son got exactly what they both wanted:  a best friend to call their own. Congratulations to this happy new family!