A Christmas Story- And You Made It Happen

Happy dog with a hippy bandana

Garnet and her lovely new family.

A couple weeks ago, Evelyn from MARC forwarded me the sad story of Garnet, a St. Bernard who was underweight, had broken all her teeth trying to get out of a cage, and who was dying of heartworm. I put up the Bat Signal, and you all responded, and we raised $3,000 when all we needed was a couple hundred bucks. Well, Garnet is now in her forever home, and here is a report from BJ commenter Keith, who adopted her:

Hi All,

I wanted to take the opportunity to formally thank each of you for the part each of you played in order for us to bring Garnet to her new home and to give you an update on our new family member.

After we successfully completed the reference checks and house visit, Sue (Garnet’s foster Mom from the Marion Animal Resource Connection (MARC)) arranged for us to use the Road Dogs Transport service to bring her up north. Each week this organization transports a rescue pets safely in a temperature and humidity controlled trailer on their route from Tennessee to New England.

We met the transport at a Harrisburg truck stop just after midnight. In 90 minutes she arrived at her new home in the western Philadelphia suburbs meeting her new sisters. Our family already has two large breed dogs, a Bernese Mountain Dog and a Newfoundland. Garnet is actually the lightweight of the family weighing in at a mere 75 pounds (quite petite for a St.Bernard mix). I slept on the couch with Garnet next to me on the floor in case there were any problems with the other dogs, but it was a very quiet night.

The next day, she was checked out by our Vet and was deemed fit without any major issues although they said that she could probably put on a few pounds. They will be performing the last of the heart worm treatments a few days after Christmas. MARC will be reimbursing the cost of these final treatments thanks to all the generous Balloon Juice contributors.

Garnet’s adjustment to our home has been very easy. She loves to go walks, snuggle on the couch, and never ventures far from anyone who can scratch her back or belly. She is a bit skittish when she is forced to relocate and has a phobia of staircases, but she is positively joyful on our walks – grabbing the leash by her teeth and jumping from side to side as she explores the new neighborhood.

We have two college age daughters who had a great Christmas surprise when they arrived home from school to find the new arrival. Her perpetual sad eyes are quite a contrast to her vigorous tail wagging, which seems to be constant when she isn’t sleeping.

John, I cannot thank you enough for posting her picture. We fell in love as soon as we saw those sad eyes. I have no doubt that she will continue to be a source of great happiness for our family for many years. Thank you for making this happen.

Sue and Evelyn, thank you so much for making the adoption process painless and swift. I had never been through the rescue process before, and you made it extremely easy. We can’t thank you enough.

John, please feel free to edit and post as you deem appropriate. I have included a few pics as well. As a long-time lurker, I feel quite fortunate for the family you created at Balloon Juice that enabled this small miracle to happen for us.


Here are two more pics. The first is Garnet doing what all doggies do best- lounging:

Who doesn't need a nap?

A happy, safe, dog.

Finally, this picture will warm your heart. Here is Garnet resting by the hearth, with the Christmas Tree in the background. Our very own Christmas miracle.

Xmas doggie!

This looks like a Christmas card.

Who wants to bet Keith’s daughters are arguing about who gets to have Garnet share the bed?

But hey- there are a lot more dogs out there who need homes. The easiest way to contribute to this worthy endeavor is to pick up a Pets of Balloon Juice Calendar for 2013, and all the proceeds will go to MARC. Or, if you prefer a more direct approach, the MARC website is here and they accept any and all donations. And unlike many charities, 100% of your donations will go to help needy animals. There is no overhead, there is only love and the desire to save lives.

I know I am a cranky SOB, but I love you guys for all that you do for these animals. I’m here at home on a snowy, blustery night, and I have three dogs on my lap (well, I did before I pushed them off so I could access the laptop), and I honestly can not tell you how much these animals have done to change my outlook on like. We talk about rescuing animals, when in fact they rescue us. Thanks again for everything.

96 replies
  1. 1
    cathyx says:

    What a wonderful story. Thank you Keith.

  2. 2
    Raven says:

    I was happy to play a little part in helping that big sweetie!

  3. 3
    Raven says:

    I always thought they were Burmese Mountain dogs from Burma!

  4. 4
    schrodinger's cat says:

    I love stories with happy endings! Garnet is lovely, if a petite St Bernard.

  5. 5
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    Oh John. You old marshmallow you.

    Garnet is lovely. I’m very happy for her and everyone in her new forever family.

  6. 6
    HumboldtBlue says:

    Lovely story, Garnet looks right at home.

  7. 7
    The Dangerman says:

    “Garnet being the lightweight of the family” is rather shocking, roughly comparable to a “Mark Sanchez wins Super Bowl MVP” headline. Also, added this to last thread, but, perhaps, better here as a “Best Christmas Gag Gift Ever” contribution:


  8. 8
    Maude says:

    She looks wonderful. Keith, you have made her very happy. And she you.
    I kinda miss John calling us jackasses.

  9. 9
    Baud says:

    That dog’s face says “I have arrived.”

  10. 10
    asiangrrlMN says:

    I’m crying happy tears over this story. Thanks for the update, Keith. May you enjoy many wonderful years with your new friend, Garnet. What a beautiful family you have.

  11. 11
  12. 12
    jl says:

    Sweet story for “The Holidays”/Christmas/(recent)Hanukkah/Kwanza/Mayan Apocalypse and all that. Thanks.

    Good luck to Keith and the fetching Garnet and kids.

  13. 13
    John O says:

    What a great story, John. I love this shit.

    And blessed are those who adopt sweet dogs…

    …Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, and all that stuff! *sniff*

  14. 14
    Elizabelle says:

    Wonderful story.

    Keith: please keep us posted on Garnet as she settles into her new home. What a perfect one too.

    She looks spiffy in her scarf.

  15. 15
    Raven says:

    @John O: We “found” the Bohdi 9 years ago last week. The young lady that first spotted him outside our morning coffee joint moved to Red Hook a few years back but she came home this week and it was cool for them to reunite.

  16. 16
    John O says:

    Has everyone by now been FB’d into watching the big yellow lab interact with the autistic child?

    It’s lovely, too.

    I’m really proud that this politically friendly community (in the sense that I agree with most of the people out here, not that it’s a “friendly” place) is also a dog-friendly place. It makes me feel good about not being alone.

  17. 17
    burnspbesq says:

    Way cool. Thanks to everyone who helped make it possible.

  18. 18
    PurpleGirl says:

    @Maude: I’m sure something will happen and John will call us jackasses again. It’s a relative thing, you know.

  19. 19
    PurpleGirl says:

    @efgoldman: He’s watching one of his brother’s dogs while said brother is away for the family holiday vacation.

    ETA: John is also watching his brother’s two cats, but he has them in the basement.

  20. 20
    Maude says:

    Thank you for the reassurance.

  21. 21
    Raven says:

    @efgoldman: He’s dog sitting for the holidays. You missed that drama filled post?

  22. 22
    Raven says:

    @PurpleGirl: Maybe if I bitch about a certain confederate, gun nut asshole that is linked on this blog?

  23. 23
    Kristine says:

    Thanks, Keith, for a wonderful story. It’s so cool that Garnet found a home with a BJer.

    My calendar arrived today. It will replace the 2012 edition that hangs in my kitchen, and serve as my official appointments/dog meds tracker.

    I love the photos of everyones’ pets.

  24. 24
    Genine says:

    This blog is good people.

  25. 25
    MazeDancer says:

    Such a fabulous story. Yay, Keith! Yay, MARC! Yay, everyone who helped!

    And maybe this can be an example to us all that location does not deter falling in love with a pet who needs a home. Often, when Anne Laurie so kindly posts a pet who needs adopting, people say, gee, I would take him/her but I’m half way across the country.

    Keith and MARC have just shown: No problem.

    Road Dogs Transport Service brought Garnet. Looked up their web site: http://www.roaddogstransport.com/index.html Looks great. Says it’s $135 a pup. Again, no problem. Everyone always volunteers to pay for transport. They’re from TN, but there have to be others. Also, airplanes fly pets when it’s not summer.

    So, next time a pet needs a home, we may be forced to link to this happy tale to say: Don’t let location stop you.

  26. 26
    JGabriel says:

    I’ve got a question.

    Let’s talk about those nimrods that are too extreme even for John Boehner and his Plan B. There were about two dozen who refused to support Plan B, in some part due to their repugnance for Orange Julius.

    My question is: What if they don’t support him for Speaker of the House either? Is it possible that Pelosi could end up winning the Speakership if the same group refuses to support Boehner?

    I know it’s unlikely … but I think the Republicans may be just inept enough to pull it off.


  27. 27
    Svensker says:

    Awww, sweeties, every one. Sniff. Lovely Christmas story.

  28. 28
    Raven says:

    Present Face

    Garfunkel and Oates

  29. 29
    John Cole says:


    I kinda miss John calling us jackasses.

    I’m getting soft, aren’t I?

  30. 30
    debit says:

    That last picture made me tear up. Welcome home, sweetie.

  31. 31
    lamh35 says:

    I was just reading about johns and his dog on his lap when I came across this video of the first pooch who also it seems likes to be a lap dog at times.

    For the resident dog experts, how big is too big for a dog to wanna sit on ur lap, or do they all want to at sometime or another. It’s kinda like a how old is too old to breastfeed type of question…lol.


  32. 32
    PurpleGirl says:

    @Raven: John didn’t respond the other day, did he? Well, if you started complaining again, it might get him riled up.

  33. 33
    Violet says:

    Awww…best Christmas story ever. Made me tear up a little. That last picture is just so beautiful. So happy for Garnet, Keith and his family and all the other animals that got some much needed help due to the generosity of the B-J community. Merry Christmas everyone!

  34. 34
    Raven says:

    @PurpleGirl: I’ve tried to keep up the fire, I even emailed him but that’s useless.

  35. 35
    jenn says:

    @lamh35: Ok, that’s pretty awesome!

  36. 36
    JCT says:

    Now there’s some real holiday spirit! She looks so content, Keith.

  37. 37
    Rosie Outlook says:

    Hi Keith, Merry Christmas to you and yours!

    The story mentioned Garnet had broken her teeth; can vets fix those these days?

  38. 38
    pat says:

    this is my happy place.

  39. 39
    Dee Loralei says:

    @lamh35: LOL too big? There’s never been a dog who thinks he’s too big for a lap! I have 2 Goldens and they often both want to sit on my lap at the same time. Honey that’s 200 pounds of dog and they often get their way. LOL.

    Thanks John and Keith and the MARC folk and all y’all that donated. I love a good happy pet story!

  40. 40
    Rosie Outlook says:

    @lamh35: I would say that if you and your Great Dane can figure out how he can sit on your lap, you should go ahead and enjoy yourselves. Also, medium to large dogs make great pillows, if your dog doesn’t mind that (some get up and walk away).

  41. 41
    Dissatisfied Customer says:

    What a beautiful creature. What a fine companion.

  42. 42
    AliceBlue says:

    I love a story with happy ending. Thanks to John, Keith, and everyone else that made this happen.

  43. 43
    Mnemosyne says:


    I’m no dog expert, but I had a high school boyfriend whose mother had Borzois and they were convinced they were lap dogs. Worse, they would actually stand on your lap so there was no way to see the TV because they were really tall.

    So I’m guessing that any dog that was small enough to sit in your lap when it was a puppy will continue to be convinced that it’s a lap dog no matter how big it ends up.

  44. 44
    BethanyAnne says:

    I find that I may have something in my eye. *sniff*

  45. 45
    Allen says:

    I really like critter stories that have happy endings. Make me feel good, and feel even better for the critters. Excuse me for now, the cats are screaming at me to go out.

  46. 46
    Yutsano says:

    @asiangrrlMN: PUPPEHS! BIG FLOOFY PUPPEHS!! My first dog growing up was a Newfie, they’re such great loving dogs.

    Keith, I hope you have a good supply of drool towels. You’re gonna need em. :)

  47. 47
    Sarah in Brooklyn says:

    This is my favorite story ever.

  48. 48
    SectionH says:

    So happy for Garnet and her new family. Good offset to the sad news I had today that my “grand-puppy” Keiko lost his battle with – well, old age really. He was a rescue dog, saved a day or so from his death sentence by my son and DIL taking him as a foster. Ha. That was nearly 12 years ago. He made it to 13 or 14 – quite old for a Husky, I believe. He was always a high maintenance boy, but so sweet. I’m gonna miss him a lot.

    Oh, and my Pets of BJ calendar has arrived. Think I might need another one.

  49. 49
    gogol's wife says:

    I’m glad he explained about her sad eyes. I keep worrying that she’s not happy yet!

  50. 50
    General Stuck says:

    Thank you Keith. I think the angels smile a little everytime someone gives an abandoned animal a good home. Charlie sends a thumbs up, as well.

  51. 51
    Anya says:

    Jesus Christ on a pony… Rachel Madow, will you give it up. Is she for real? She keeps repeating that it was the republicans’ idea that John Kerry be nominated for SOS. Since the start of Barack Obama’s presidency it was rumored that John Kerry wanted to be SOS, so why does Rachel keep on insisting that President Obama wanted someone else and the republicans forced him to pick Kerry? This really bugs me.

  52. 52
    Raven says:

    @Anya: She’s talking about Hegel for defense.

  53. 53
    4tehlulz says:

    Hegel for defense

  54. 54
    General Stuck says:


    The PL is forming back into firebagger units now that the election is over. A certain about of sputtering and coughing the absurd can be expected till they get their emoprog legs back.

  55. 55
    Anya says:

    @Raven: Before she went into her “hate Hegel” segment.

  56. 56
    SiubhanDuinne says:


    I always thought they were Burmese Mountain dogs from Burma!


  57. 57
    leinie (iPad mini) says:

    Great story, capping of a great day (I’m ignoring the $800 car repair bill lalalala I can’t hear you) that included the arrival of my calendars. So cool to look at the pets, and BIG smile from seeing mine in there.

    Keith, you are a great guy, and I’m so glad that this story worked out for both of you. I hope you keep each other happy for many many years of walks and cuddles.

  58. 58
    Yutsano says:




  59. 59
    Anya says:

    @General Stuck: I just wish they wouldn’t scream about every little thing. I have high hopes for Rachel but once she gets starts on her hobbyhorses it’s hard to listen.

  60. 60
    Jebediah says:

    Yay for happy endings!

  61. 61
    TaMara (BHF) says:

    @lamh35: When I first decided to explore getting a Great Dane, I met a woman who had three of them and all three tried to sit on my lap. One backed her butt up and sat on my lap, the other two just draped themselves over me. The owner looked at me and said, ‘you’d be a perfect Great Dane person.’ And I was hooked.

    I was pretty good at keeping my Danes off my lap, but that could be because we did lots of floor time where they could drape themselves over me.

    How much did I love that video of FLOTUS letting Bo crawl in her lap. I couldn’t love her anymore, I tell ya.

  62. 62
    gogol's wife says:


    G. W. F. Hegel? Great choice!

  63. 63
    Maude says:

    @TaMara (BHF):
    There’s a photo of Barack Obama running on the WH lawn with a dog toy and Bo is right behind him.
    There’s a couple who bring their three Great Danes into town just about every Saturday. You should see it when the dogs jump down from the back of the SUV.

  64. 64
    Mary G says:

    Garnet’s eyes don’t look nearly as sad as in her first picture; she knows she has a home now. Congrats to you, Keith and family, and thanks for the update and great pictures.

  65. 65
    catperson says:

    Happy holidays to all of you. Thanks to all of you in the BJ community, and particularly the front pagers, for making this a place I like to visit. The pet stuff is just awesome gravy.

  66. 66
    PurpleGirl says:

    @lamh35: That is a great video. I laughed. I think most dogs think that they’re lap dogs.

  67. 67
    mandarama says:

    It’s always worth trotting these out…especially when we need to be reminded that the world has some noble and decent creatures in it. They just don’t walk on two legs.

    Heaven goes by favor. If it went by merit, you would stay out and your dog would go in.
    (A Biography)

    The dog is a gentleman; I hope to go to his heaven, not man’s. (Letter to Howells, 1899)

    –Mark Twain

    Merry Christmas, Garnet and family!

  68. 68
    LT says:

    That was some heart medicine I needed. Thanks John and Keith and all involved.

  69. 69
  70. 70
    Suzanne says:

    @Rosie Outlook:

    Also, medium to large dogs make great pillows, if your dog doesn’t mind that (some get up and walk away).

    My Luna (Pit/Lab mix, or so the shelter thinks) LOVES when I lay on her. She also lets us climb on top of her and hug her. Those pit bulls. Killers.

    Hearing that Garnet has a wonderful home is filling me with happiness. What a sweet baby,

  71. 71
    realbtl says:

    Great story, rescue pets are the best.

  72. 72
    Beeb says:

    @SectionH: I’m so sorry about Keiko. It sounds like he had a wonderful life once he was rescued.

    Very happy to see Garnet doing so well. Thanks, Keith.

  73. 73
    jl says:

    @Rosie Outlook:

    ” Also, medium to large dogs make great pillows, if your dog doesn’t mind that (some get up and walk away). ”

    My aunt and uncle had a big old rescue golden retriever that loved being used as a pillow.

    I got used to having a nice warm dog pillow in the den or living room, but their next big dawg was not into it. It would get up and look at you like ‘WTF is with that? Do I look like some broken down furniture to you?.’ And it would amble off shaking its head over stupid humans and their odd tricks.

  74. 74
    RedKitten says:

    Awww…those doggehs are just too sweet! I love Newfs…they’re such big sweeties.

    We may need to take up another collection, though. Between all of the drool towels, and the food needed to nourish about 275-300 lbs worth of dog, Keith has his hands full!

  75. 75
    Jewish Steel says:

    I get on well with large breeds too. Maybe the saintly Keith family will adopt me?

  76. 76
    Studly Pantload, the emotionally unavailable unicorn says:

    This story is in-fucking-credible.

    Now then, how did all this dust suddenly get in my eyes?

  77. 77
    slag says:

    May everyone find their sweet spot in this world just like Garnet and Keith have!

  78. 78
    Betty Cracker says:

    Awwww, what sweet doggies! So glad you all found each other.

  79. 79
    Steeplejack (tablet) says:

    Test message on a Nexus 7. Yeehaw!

  80. 80
    Jack says:

    She was obviously a sweet dog. A miracle, indeed…

  81. 81
    Punchy says:

    Adopting dogs rox. Our 2 greys are sad to be off the racing circuit, but loving their newfound laziness and ample supply of kid-dropped vittles….

  82. 82
    Garbo says:

    Thanks for the full story, Keith. Another blog pet to add to our collection. I hope you understand how antsy we get without regular pictures and updates.

    Dog bless us, every one.

  83. 83
    rda909 says:

    God, I love it when Republicans, like some dogs, eat each others shit…

    Dana Loesch is suing her brethren at Blightfart.com. Spreading that Christmas cheer! Gotta love them Christians…

  84. 84
    WereBear says:

    They who save one dog… saves the world entire.

  85. 85
    trollhattan says:

    Awwww. Having friends with Newfies and Berenese, I’m still flabbergasted that a Bernard could be smaller, but small only by comparison–she’s a lot of dog. Am very happy and proud of all, but holy moly, how can anybody afford to feed those three? It’s a Festivus miracle!

  86. 86
    MikeInSewickley says:

    Just got my Balloon Juice Annual Calendar today.

    This is my third year for the calendar and they just keep getting better. I showed it to some folks at work and when I told them what the money from sales goes toward, I may have a couple more buyers.

    Like my daughter says – “Dad – our pets give us unconditional love which is mighty rare nowadays.”

    So true and keep up the great work.

  87. 87
    graves says:

    What a great story. Im so glad Garnet found a good home.

  88. 88
    tBone says:

    arranged for us to use the Road Dogs Transport service to bring her up north. Each week this organization transports a rescue pets safely in a temperature and humidity controlled trailer

    Kennels bungied to the tops of the trailers would surely be more efficient, no? I hope Bain is eyeing this company as a possible acquisition target.

    But still, awesome story. Good on you, John, Keith, and everybody who chipped in.

  89. 89
    MattR says:

    @MikeInSewickley: Every person at my office bought two. Of course, I work from home and live with just my dog.

  90. 90
    mai naem says:

    This is so kool. She looks so at home. And the pics have a a tboggirific quality to them.

  91. 91
    bemused says:

    Love these pet/human match making stories.

    I can’t imagine those big guys hogging the sofa(s). We’ve always thought the sofas are for our comfort and two 60 pounders (sadly just one now) just don’t fit easily. That completely changes when any of the three non-furry brothers are home. Then there is usually a human and dog happily taking a nap together on the sofa.

  92. 92
    ThresherK says:

    Looks just like Nana, from “Peter Pan”, in front of the fireplace, waiting for the children to come back.

    (Of course, I also am a sucker for a pit bull terrier with a ring around one eye, thanks to “The Little Rascals”.)

  93. 93
    Gindy51 says:

    @Mnemosyne: Yep, and it extends to horses. We had a Belgian horse breeder who used to pick up the new born foals and hold them so they’d know he could 100% control them. Even when they were 2500 pound beasts, they still thought he could pick them up so his horses were always the best behaved of any I have ever dealt with. Belgians are naturally calm and tractable, but this guy’s horses went well beyond that.
    What happens in youth, stays with them… at least the good stuff.

  94. 94
    Triassic Sands says:

    Garnet and her lovely new family.


    The correct caption is:

    Bloods negotiate with Crips

    They’re obviously a murderous lot.

  95. 95
    Patricia Kayden says:

    Yay for Garnet and Keith.

    Such a wonderful story just in time for Christmas.

  96. 96
    Evelyn says:

    Sorry to be so late in chiming in about how very happy it has made me to hear about Garnett and to see her wonderful pictures taken in her new home by a family that loves her and has given her what she and all other rescue dogs and cats deserve: A loving, safe, warm and happy home..Bless you Keith and your family and all the BJ folks for making this happen for her and to MARC to saving her life..Here is hoping that many more will have the same happy ending in 2013.

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