How We Ended up Adopting a FrenchieThree years ago today I adopted a frenchie with Chicago French Bulldog Rescue. You may know him as Toad. For years I had a single black pug, Rhea. After moving back to Madison and having an entire house and yard for her, we started thinking that Rhea would enjoy company. In particular, we decided that she would especially enjoy another snuggle buddy. Rhea was your classic pug: fairly low energy lap dog, with a large personality and spurts of pug-runs and playfulness.
Adopting a Frenchie with the Chicago French Bulldog Rescue
Naturally, I started looking at adopting. I'd read profiles of frenchies, pugs, and other small, flat faced breeds, until I came across the Chicago French Bulldog Rescue and read Toad's (then Leroy's) profile. Described as a 'low key couch potato' with a little bit of mischievousness, I knew that he was the perfect fit for us and for Rhea.
I filled out the application in great detail, knowing that the likelihood of us getting Toad was probably low, but worth a shot as the Chicago French Bulldog Rescue (CFBR) gets many applications. Also, from experience, rescues have many balls in the air and much coordination to do. Thankfully, we got lucky (or rather, they must have known from my application that we were a good match) and they responded to our application! We went through the phone interview, home visit and finally meeting Toad and adopting him. We learned about his story and how he was a stud dog for poor breeders. He was crated, many times outdoors from what they could tell, because he was covered in fly bites, and he was underfed. It was also believed that he was put outside with a larger dog and this is why he can be afraid and avoidance of larger dogs. The process was as smooth as I could have ever imagined and we took 'Leroy' home.
Toad's History and StoryKnowing his story made knowing how to care for him easier. We knew that crating him while we were gone was completely necessary for his own safety. When we did try and leave him out, he would climb up on things and get into trash or anything that seemed remotely edible. After all, he was starved for the first five years of his life! Even until this day, he will get into trash if he's left unattended for some time. He also has a habit of licking up the floor and doing a perimeter walk in every knew room. He's always on the hunt for food even now when he's well fed. This will forever be Toad's state of mind.
Bringing Toad Home
Once we brought him home, he took some time to settle in. He took to me at first, but was a little afraid of my husband, Corey. He also did not like being picked up and would growl at us. These are common behaviors for adopted dogs and we can only assume that he was mistreated. He was also barely trained and needed to learn basic 'sit', 'stay', 'come', and not getting on tables. The first week (and month) of him settling in was an interesting one. It took patience, but it was rewarding. After about a week, Rhea and Toad were snuggling up on the couch. It was absolutely awesome seeing that for the first time and a confirmation of 'we made the right choice' and 'he may just like us'. It was wonderful.
Over about three months, Toad's personality unfolded. He became comfortable in his new home, with his new sister and his parents. He became more confident (and sometimes more mischievous), but mostly more happy to be where he was. He slowly began to trust us to pick him up when necessary and would flop over for belly rubs more and more. He also began playing with Rhea. All of this was rewarding. It was during this time that we decided to name him 'Toad' because he hopped like one. (Seriously, he has some good hops!)
What's amazing is how much Toad has changed and how long the process took. I'd say that it took him a full year to really open up. He opened up a lot between one and three months, but after a year, he would hardly ever growl at us when we picked him up and he became a complete companion dog. All he wants now is to be by us, go on adventures with us (he loves going everywhere! Especially car rides! He even went on a 6 month RV trip), sleep in our laps, get belly rubs and of course eat treats (for days).
I cannot recommend the Chicago French Bulldog Rescue enough. Adopting a frenchie is, of course, more of a challenge, requires patience with the adoption process as well as brining your pup home, but it's so rewarding. We are so grateful for Toad every day. I always joke and say, if I could clone Toad, I would (not really). But the reason I say that is because he's got such a unique personality. He takes a little to warm up with you, but once he decides you're 'in,' you're a friend for life. He'll get pumped to see you and it's so clear that he's grateful to have you. I'm telling you, he's special and boy. I'm so happy to have him. Happy gotchaday Toad! Now for the treats...