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This story begins at a time I was in junior high, a kid living at home with my mom and brother.

My cousin was at a park with her husband and kids in St. Paul, the capital city of Minnesota. The neighborhood they were in was an older, nice, and well established area and the Mississippi River runs along it.

They were getting in their car to go home and a dog jumped into her car. This dog was a clump of black, dirty, matted fur, overgrown nails, and looked like a ragged animal. My cousin said she didn’t have the heart to shoo him out.

She brought him back to her apartment and began the search to find his owners.

He had a tag with a phone number. The number was a disconnected line in Wisconsin. He was brought to the vet and found to have no microchip. The vet thought he’d probably been surviving on his own for weeks, maybe even a month at that park by his condition.

My cousin called many vet clinics and all the shelters in the metropolitan area as well as in nearby cities in Wisconsin. She left her phone number in case anyone called looking for him. She put up signs everywhere. She tried really hard to find his owners but nobody seemed to be looking for him as a the days went by. Our theory was that he belonged to an elderly person who died and he was left at the park by remaining family that didn’t want to take him. We’ll never know.

My cousin wasn’t able to keep dogs where she lived. She had been talking to my mom about taking him, and my mom agreed. I’d been begging her for a dog for many years and he would be for me.

On a Sunday my brother and I came home from my dad’s house for the weekend. I walked in to find a black mop of an animal running along the walls and scooting his head against the ground. My mom had given him a bath in hopes it would help him look better.

“What is that?” I asked my mom in shock. “That’s our new dog” my mom replied. I couldn’t discern what kind of dog I was looking at or even that he was a dog at first. The three of us sat around trying to decide on a name for him. He was inky black with a white blaze on his chest. Eventually we settled on and loved the name Asher.

We took him to a groomer shortly after this and of course he was completely shaved down as he was matted to the skin. It was shocking how frail he was under all that hair. Another vet visit guesstimated his age to be around 2 years old, and that he was a miniature poodle.

The first 3 weeks he was with us, I’d come home from school to find he had pooped little nuggets around the living room. The poor dog probably thought he was being abandoned again. It didn’t take long for this to stop on its own.

It became clear very quickly that whoever owned him before us had taken a lot of time to train him. He knew tricks, was potty trained, and was extremely well mannered. Any time we were eating he’d go into a “sit pretty” pose. It was possibly one way he was able to get scraps of food from people at the park to survive. It took no time at all for him to fit in with our family and he was so easy for us as first time dog owners.

He had the absolute sweetest and mild mannered temperament yet was very confident.
He was never a fan of being held or cuddling and was very independent. But he was incredibly in tune with us. If someone was sick or really sad, he was right there. I remember times I’d have the worst cramps that kept me home from school and he’d curl up next to my abdomen like a little heating pad.

He rarely barked. In fact I never heard him bark until I’d had him for well over a year. And he had low pitched BIG bark, despite being about 14-15” tall and around 15 lb.

We loved the heck out of that dog, and so did anyone who met him. Even people who weren’t fans of dogs. I took him on walks, runs, and roller blading sessions. He chased squirrels in the yard. His favorite toy of all time was a squirrel.

Eventually I grew up and moved out on my own. although he was technically “my dog,” he stayed with my mom. I was a dirt poor 19 year old and didn’t have the proper living conditions and stability for him. I never lived further than 15 minutes away during his lifetime so I still got to see him regularly.

Not long after I moved out, I had my wisdom teeth removed and went back home for a week to recover. I had an extremely tough recovery. I was in a lot of pain and lived on the couch the entire time. You can bet that curly boy was always nearby.

A couple years later my mom had breast cancer. When she did rounds of chemotherapy she was weak and tired and spent a lot of time in bed. Asher was always right there. She said that he acted different during that time, as if he was on guard and constantly watching over her.

He continued to be a source of happiness and love in my mom’s life day to day. He had such good manners he didn’t like to bother her for anything. When he had to be let out he’d sit by the door silently and look at her. Eventually he would let out a short, quiet “er” sound if she didn’t notice him. He was a picky eater and would begrudgingly eat his kibble and canned food mix. Every week my mom gave him a scrambled egg, which he loved. He had a small dog cousin named Teddy that belonged to my aunt. They saw each other several times a week. They would run off leash together in the field of a park nearby. Of course Asher would outrun him instantly, that’s a poodle for you.

Besides losing control of his bowels and bladder, he had a good quality of life with my mom as he grew old.

When he was around 15 years old I got a concerned and sad call from my mom. He had recently taken a turn for the worse and wouldn’t live much longer. I immediately came and stayed with him 24/7 for a week. I tended to his needs and gave him medicine around the clock to keep him comfortable.

On the 7th day I finally left to go get food for me and my mom. I came home to find he had died while I was gone. I don’t think that was a coincidence. It’s been 6 years since his passing and I still have tears as I type this.

Asher was an amazing dog. He was given a second chance at life with my family after likely being dumped at a park. We knew how lucky we were to get such a good boy and were so thankful for our time with him. I can never do him justice in what I write here about him. Because of him, I knew that one day I’d have another poodle. I love you, Asher.


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What a wonderful story about a wonderful family who took in a very special Asher.
 

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Good karma that Asher found his home and was specially loved by both you and your Mom. Very moving story, thanks for that.
 

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A lovely story of a life well lived, and love richly rewarded - thank you.
 

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It is horribly rainy here today and we are all a bit tired of winter. Smiles are slow to break out just now, but I am grinning at that wonderful story of a well lived life.
 

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A beautiful story, I enjoyed reading it. He was a special boy.
 
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Thank you for sharing this. What a wonderful poodle Asher was! ♥
 
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Casey, toy poodle - RIP 11/06/2003 to 02/23/2021
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A beautiful dog who had a good life with you and your family. You were all his source of happiness, too. I'm sorry because it still hurts. That tells me how much you loved him.
 
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