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Zoey's Story, or How an Online Community Saved a Dog's Life

Zoey's story begins long before November 4, 2005. How long before, and the details of that story, are known only to her. But her body told us some things. When she was discovered that day in a Northeast Ohio shelter by a kind-hearted soul named RoxAnn, she was coughing, painfully thin and frail, dirty, and shaking continuously. She appeared to be between 6 and 8 years old. Although she had been there only 5 days, she was scheduled for euthanasia later that day. RoxAnn had adopted a Schnoodle the month before, and as a result of the kennel cough the Schnoodle brought home to her other 2 dogs, RoxAnn was already nursing 3 sick dogs. She could not take another. She called her friend Stephanie, another doodle owner. Stephanie called her sister, Helene.....that's me.... a Doodle breeder active in the Doodle breeder and owner communities.

I posted notices to all the rescue and doodle discussion boards available to me about the urgency of this dog's situation. Five hours
later I received an email from a breeder in Tennessee named Tom Smith. He wanted to adopt her and bring her home to
Tennessee. But Canton, Ohio and Nashville, Tennessee are more than 500 miles apart....and the dog's hours were numbered. Nevertheless, a call was made to the shelter and they were convinced to put a hold on her until 4 PM the next day.

First thing in the morning on Saturday, November 5th, RoxAnn went to the shelter to get the dog out. She was taken to a boarding
kennel as she could not be taken to RoxAnn’s home. Posts to a doodle discussion forum called The Doodle Zoo brought numerous offers of help. People unable to help physically offered financial assistance to defray the costs of adoption, boarding, transportation and veterinary fees. The 'Zoo' was in action, and the dog was dubbed, 'Zoey'.

One Sunday November 6th, I made the 150 mile trip to Canton to pick up Zoey. Back in Columbus, I was met by Vera, a doodle owner
from Cincinnati who had made the 100 mile drive up to Columbus to get Zoey for the next leg. Vera was met in Cincinnati by Ken, who took Zoey the next 100 miles to Louisville, KY. Tom was waiting in Louisville to drive Zoey the 250 miles back to his home in Nashville, TN. Zoey arrived in Nashville near midnight November 6th. 

Monday November 7

Tom took Zoey to the vet and reported the following:

Zoey is approximately 7-8 years old and possibly as old as 10.

Her weight is 25 pounds. She is infested (and probably has been for awhile) with roundworms and whipworms. She is negative for heartworms.

She definitely has kennel cough and she was placed on antibiotics and cough medication for that.

There is a definite problem with her hips and she also has a heart murmur. The vet isn't sure if the hip problem is due to an injury or a genetic problem.

Her teeth aren't in great shape but she is able to crunch kibble and treats without any problem.

There are a few small cyst-like growths on her body and an unusual swelling or growth above her front left elbow. This, along with her hip problem, will be explored after she regains some strength.

Wednesday, November 9

Tom reported that as of this morning Zoey had gained 2.5 lbs!

Monday November 14

Tom reports that Zoey's personality is really beginning to shine as she begins to feel better. She is enjoying walks despite her hip problem and is VERY interested in his cat.


Zoey settled into life on Tom's farm. She gained weight, made friends, and her coat became luminous and silky. Zoey died
on Tuesday, May 30, 2006, with Tom at her side. At the time of her death the vet estimated her age at 12-14 years of age, much older
than we originally thought. All of us who followed Zoey's story thank Tom for allowing Zoey into his home and into his heart. Because of him she died with someone who cared for her instead of in a shelter.

While we will likely never know what circumstances brought Zoey to that shelter, we do know that a group of generous and compassionate people changed her life. I want to thank RoxAnn, Stephanie, Vera, Ken, and especially Tom for showing us how to be our best. And included in the list to thank are all the Zoo-ers who supported and encouraged this effort.

Below is a picture of Tom and Zoey

Since this is a story about a rescue, I would be remiss if I did not implore you to consider that option if you are considering a Doodle, and have circumstances that would allow it (children under about age 8, no allergy problems in your family).

If you choose to buy from a breeder, please find a reputable one. Talk to your vet, ask at discussion forums like The Doodle Zoo, and read, read, read. If you want my opinion, you’ll find it here.

The lovely rendering of Zoey at the top of the page was done by Davis, working from a photograph taken in my front yard the day of the rescue. You can visit his website at: