Only three months into our marriage, and one month into graduate school, I convinced James that I desperately needed a puppy.  I was just playing on petfinder.com when I came across a little grey poodle.  He was smiling in his picture, and it was screaming “ADOPT ME!”  It was the first dog James said showed personality, so we emailed the adoption agency, Little OurlittleguyPaws Maltese Rescue, in Austin, TX to inquire about his availability. Unfortunately, the adoption agency responded that Rudy wasn’t the dog we wanted, because he “needed a lot of work,” “wasn’t trained,” and “wouldn’t be good with kids.” But could they interest us in another poodle named Spot?   I really wanted a puppy, so we began to fill out the intense adoption application.  After answering questions on our discipline philosophy, financial situation, relationship health, and residence suitability, we were invited to Austin to meet Spot.  Though this was only an introduction, we brought a kennel, just in case. The drive from Waco to Austin was usually an hour and a half, but thanks to a Texas sized storm, it took us much longer.  Because we couldn’t see anything, we joined a few hundred Texans on the side of the road until the storm lightened.  I literally thought we were going to blow away, and for a moment questioned whether or not risking our lives for a puppy was worth it.  In hindsight, it was definitely worth it!  We finally found Petsmart (this was before GPS mind you), and wandered around the store until our adoption agent showed up.  As we were wandering around the pet store, we looked up just in time to see an adorable little poodle run through tStretchhe front doors.  He had a mischievous grin and his tail was going a mile a minute!  I knew the moment I saw him that he was going home with us! Fortunately, Spot had an eye infection, making him temporarily unadoptable, so the agency brought Rudy instead.  An hour later, we were driving back to Waco with a little grey poodle in our back seat.  On the drive home, we decided the name Rudy didn’t quite fit, and figured he would learn a new name eventually.  Through our expert analysis of the dog mind, we decided a two syllable word (like “Rudy”) would be best.  Since he was different shades of grey, Hokie stone came to mind.  He did not look like a “hokie” dog, so we decided upon “Ambler Johnston” or AJ for short.  Mr. Ambler Johnston was a pivotal figure in Virginia Tech history and James and I met in a dorm named after Mr. Johnson our freshman year of college. We still have to convince people that AJ does NOT stand for “Angela and James.” We have more imagination than that!

Check out: www.lilpaws-malteserescue.org