By Janet McAfee

On February 1, I spotted a madly matted puppy at our Riverside County shelter, the Coachella Valley Animal Campus in Thousand Palms. Listed as a 6-mo-old female, it rushed up to be petted. I sent her picture to Facebook because a couple I know wanted a female dog like this. Immediately a message appeared from Debbie Rustrum Kroodsma who recently adopted a dog she named Mia Marie) from Loving All Animals, the organization I work with. Debbie recalls, “This picture ripped by heart out. I knew I had to get this dog. I told my husband Max who said, ‘For God’s sake, just go’ as he knew there was no stopping me. Many years ago, we rescued a horribly matted dog who lived under his owner’s deck, and this poor puppy reminded me of him.” Meanwhile, the couple who wanted a female pup did not respond.

It was now after hours, but a CVAC employee responded that the dog was still there and asked what time an adopter might arrive. Debbie arrived with her sister-in-law Sheri at 10am the following morning when the shelter opened. She was amazed and delighted to discover that the staff had bathed, groomed, and put the puppy in an adorable sweater ready to go home. During the grooming it was discovered the dog was very underweight and “she” turned out to be a neutered BOY. He was a little nervous at first, but Archie looks relaxed in the adoption photo taken in the lobby. The puppy sat happily on Debbie’s lap on the freedom ride home. Little Archie instinctively knew better things were coming in his second chance home.

Little Mia was there waiting to meet her new brother, and it was Love At First Sight. They sniffed each other, and Mia became overzealous ready to rumble and tumble. Archie was a bit cautious, but they soon ran and played like they were together forever. Hyperactive Mia expected her humans to play ball all day, but now she has her own special playmate. The dogs cuddle and sleep head-to-head.


Debbie is naturally full of positive enthusiasm, and that extends to her dogs. She updates us, “Archie is more than I ever hoped for in a dog. He will not leave my side and follows me everywhere. When I go out, he waits for me to return and gets so excited when I come home. Right now he’s sitting in my lap giving me kisses. He sits on my lap when he eats his meals, and he needs to eat a lot to put on more weight. He’s so smart and understands every command I give.”

There are clues to Archie’s past life. He was startled to watch television, a sign he may have been kept outside only. Occasionally when Max reaches down to him, he shirks. He may have been abused at some point, and though he loves Max he favors Debbie.

The couple has owned several Maltese and Havanese dogs. On June 15, Debbie was devastated by the passing of their Maltese Isabell Marie. She was driving to pick up flowers sent by supportive friends. Debbie was distraught and pulled over the side of the road in tears. In that moment she decided to look for a rescue dog. She discovered Loving All Animal had a litter of 6 Maltese mix puppies. The shelter was closing but they waited for her to arrive. She recalls, “I was seeking another lap dog, and I love Mia Marie though her temperament is more like a Terrier.”

Debbie now has Archie, a lapdog that resembles a Maltese. It doubles the love when you have 2 bonded rescue dogs. Rescue dogs increase the love between spouses when you see their personalities unfold and their grateful hearts respond to your kindness. Life didn’t start out promising for either Mia or Archie. In this month of love, we celebrate this happy ending for 2 once homeless puppies. It was a happy day recently at Loving All Animals when Mia arrived to proudly introduce her new brother Archie bringing Valentine treats to say thank you. They joyfully showed off cute sweaters and posed for photos with everyone.

Visit our large Coachella Valley Animal Campus and meet their adoptable animals and their friendly staff will be happy to assist. CVAC is located at 72-050 Pet Land Place, Thousand Palms, open 10am to 4pm Monday through Saturday, Contact Loving All Animals shelter at 760-834-7000 and Located at 83496 Avenue 51 in Coachella, the LAA shelter is open from 10am to 3pm Monday through Saturday

Adopt a rescue dog or cat and you too will have more love in your life!