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Last summer I visited NEAS a couple of times to check out the puppies. At the time we had one dog already, Mel, a beautiful and incredibly energetic Golden Retriever who was a year and a half. We loved Mel like crazy and my daughter and I thought it would be fun to add another dog to our family. I definitely wanted to go to NEAS and adopt a dog who needed a home rather than going to a breeder or pet store. We were there a few times over the summer but hadn’t met a dog we really wanted to take home.

Then in September I saw that a bunch of dogs were coming in from Florida, where an animal hoarding situation had taken place. It sounded like the perfect time to visit again so we all headed up to Salem. Mel got into the building and immediately made her typical entrance, greeting everyone she saw with hugs and kisses.

We met a few dogs and it became obvious quickly that the biggest challenge would be finding a dog who could work with Mel’s larger-than-life personality. A couple of dogs we met were immediately on guard when Mel came up and wanted to play. Then Mariella came in. She was a bit shy but she did okay with Mel, and went up to my husband (the only reluctant member of the group) to say hello and make friends.

After some discussion, we decided to bring Mariella home that night, September 11th, and we renamed her Dido, after the queen of Carthage in “The Aeneid”. She had been billed as a “Lab mix” but as she continued to weigh in around 30 pounds, we got a DNA swab and found that she is actually a mix of Jack Russell terrier, Australian cattle dog and Pomeranian. At first she was very afraid, especially of Mel, and would only stay in Brian’s office. But when I went over to her and rubbed her belly, she knew I was a friend. We would play in the basement at first, where she could get a little space from Mel, and she was really happy.

Eventually she came out of her shell and now enjoys her adopted sister and her big new yard. She takes a little time to warm up to new people, but she is a sweet little dog and loves to play. She really enjoys being around other dogs and has to say hello to any she sees on walks, at the dog park or at PetSmart. She knows the commands “sit,” “down,” and “paw,” and tends to give her paw whenever she wants something, whether it’s dinner, a treat, a belly rub, or just a little attention. I absolutely adore her and am so happy and grateful to NEAS for bringing her here and into my life.