Mon 10, Oct, 2016
The Pet Me Happy Treats menagerie has grown by one as the Santa Clarita, California company’s co-founders adopted a shelter rescue dog as their official canine mascot at the 16th Bow-Wows & Meows Pet Fair at Hart Park in nearby Newhall on Sunday, October 9.
Named Lennon, he’s an 8-year-old corgi-chihuahua-?? mix, weighs about 20 pounds, has a light-colored coat with brown highlights, is fine with kids, cats and other dogs, great on the leash, comes when called, is fixed, has a mellow disposition, doesn’t yap at shadows, loves belly rubs…obviously had a good home at some point.
He took to Pet Me Happy co-founders Stephen K. Peeples and his wife Nadine A. Peeples right away, and they to him.
“That’s the way you want it to happen,” said Stephen, Pet Me Happy’s CEO. “It was like love at first sight. This pup has nearly all the characteristics we were looking for in our perfect Pet Me Happy pooch. It’s just crazy perfect.”
The Peeples gave their new four-legged family member the name Lennon, with Len or Lenny the nickname, because his adoption date was October 9, on what would have been rock legend John Lennon’s 76th birthday.
The couple’s Pet Me Happy co-founder, business partner and friend Paige Hagen also gave the dog and his new name an enthusiastic two thumbs up.
What’s Up with ‘Lennon’ for a Canine Mascot Name?
“It’s no secret I’m a deep John Lennon fan,” said Peeples, a first-generation U.S. Beatlemaniac who 24 years later was the original award-winning writer-producer of “The Lost Lennon Tapes” radio series for Westwood One from 1988-1990. “So is Nadine. Naming our new four-legged kid after John just seemed absolutely appropriate, all things considered. We almost went with ‘Winston,’ Lennon’s middle name, but this pup is not a ‘Winnie.’ He’s much more of a Lenny.”
In searching for a Peeples family dog and official company spokesdog, as Stephen detailed in the journal he kept of their search, the Pet Me Happy crew was adamant about adopting a rescue dog, and not buying a dog from a pet store or breeder.
Part of Pet Me Happy’s mission is advocating pet adoption over euthanasia.
That’s one of the chief reasons why on September 1 Pet Me Happy became a charter co-sponsor of the “Adoptable Pet of the Week” radio-web-YouTube feature on the radio station in our home city of Santa Clarita, KHTS-AM 1220.
Taking their sponsorship two steps further, the Pet Me Happy crew decided to adopt their own rescue dog, and do it in conjunction with the “Adoptable Pet” feature, produced by KHTS’s Melissa Lampert.
So the partners began searching the websites of the local L.A. County animal care center in Castaic, the closest to their home base of Santa Clarita, as well as sites of more than half a dozen local nonprofit animal rescue organizations.
The October 9 Bow-Wows & Meows Pet Fair coincided with the partners’ ongoing search, and made the process a whole lot easier and faster.
That’s because all six L.A. County shelters plus several nonprofit rescues brought more than 250 adoptable pets to the event.
As vendors at this year’s Bow-Wows & Meows event, Stephen and Nadine had a chance to see the adoptable animals early, as the shelter people were setting up and bringing in the dogs, cats, hamsters and more.
“While Nadine and Paige were setting up our Pet Me Happy Treats booth, I snuck off to check out the adoptable pups,” Stephen said. “I saw this one little guy at the Baldwin Park shelter booth who was just the right size for us. He was very friendly with me through the fence of the pen he was in, with maybe half a dozen other dogs. But I didn’t say anything to Nadine about him.
“Then she went to see all the adoptable dogs by herself, while Paige and I finished off the booth,” he said. “Nadine came back and told me about a medium-sized dog she liked a lot and that liked her. As we compared notes, it was quickly apparent we were talking about the same dog, out of more than 125 available. After 35 years of marriage, it’s not that surprising Nadine and I are on the same wavelength about a lot of things.
“So the moment the fair opened to the public, with Paige holding down our booth, Nadine and I bolted to the booth where the dog was, and adopted him in about 10 minutes, at a cost of $30,” Stephen said. “The Baldwin Park shelter people kindly agreed to take care of him until the event was over at 4 p.m. When we went to pick him up then, the volunteers told us another 20 people had wanted to adopt him.”
Melissa Lampert and her videographer Sydney Croasmun shot a short interview with Stephen and the then-unnamed pup at the Baldwin Park booth, plus some B-roll for a future segment of the “Adoptable Pet’ of the Week” series.
“We had a great day Sunday, between the pet fair and meeting hundreds of local pet parents, selling a bunch of Pet Me Happy Treats’ new Artisan Dog Treats with Oregon Blueberries and a few sets of Shiro and Kuro cat-shaped ceramic salt and pepper shakers,” Stephen said.
“But most importantly we adopted an awesome rescue pup to join our family and lend a paw with the family business,” he said. “And of course, he loves our treats.”
What Will Batman Do About a Canine Mascot?
The big question was how the Peeples’ senior cat, an 11-year-old mackerel tabby named Batman, would react when Stephen and Nadine took Lennon home that night.
“Batman has lorded over our household solo since he was six weeks old, so we had no idea how he would react to a dog invading his domain, or to any possible competition for attention and affection from his humans,” Stephen said.
But to the great relief of the Peeples pet parents, Batman and Lenny met each other with a combination of mild curiosity and indifference, and no fur flew during their first encounter.
“We did have to quickly but kindly train Lennon to leave Batman’s food alone,” Stephen said. “When I asked the shelter people what they fed him, the volunteers said, ‘A can a day, any kind.’ Lennon walked with me a down to the corner market and waited outside patiently while I bought a few cans of dog food, then waited outside the little taco joint next door while I got some tacos to go for me. He obviously enjoyed sniffing out all the neighborhood dogs as we walked to and from the market.
“Along the way I discovered he sits and stays and comes on command. Wow!”
A Woofin’ Win-Win
When they got home, Lenny sat patiently inside the door while Stephen took off his harness. He seemed used to the drill.
“We fed him a whole can of dog food for dinner and he Hoovered it up, and we went on an after-dinner walk,” Stephen said.
“Lennon watched the second Clinton-Trump debate with us in my home office, but kept his opinion to himself,” he said. “Later, when Nadine and I hit the sack, he wanted to jump up on the bed to join us. It’s too high off the ground for him, so I lifted him up, plopped him onto the down comforter and he immediately rolled onto his back, asking for a belly rub. He’d obviously been loved and spoiled rotten by somebody.
“Lennon licked my hand and gave Nadine and me doggie kisses, looking at us with beautiful brown eyes sending a message we interpreted as meaning, ‘THANK YOU FOR RESCUING ME!'” Stephen said. “He was one happy little pup, and Nadine and I were reminded of the joys of new parenthood when we brought our human kids, Scot and Veronica, home from the hospital 31 and 29 years ago.
“He slept on the bed all night, and until I got up at 9 the next morning,” he said. “When I woke up, he was sleeping on his back, hind legs splayed and front legs in the air. What a carefree bum. We took a nice long morning walk, and he stayed right with me the whole time, never pulled on the leash. He’s already becoming familiar with his new turf, outside and in.
“He’s discovered the comfy, cushy bed in our guest bedroom,” he said. “By afternoon their first day, he and Batman were sharing the bed. Batman was even purring. We are so lucky all the way around.
“I think we really scored, and so did our new pal,” he said. “Lennon’s already totally trusting and bonding with us, and I think he’s very grateful to be part of a pet-crazy family like ours. I know for sure Nadine and Paige and I are grateful to everyone who indirectly or directly helped us find and adopt him.”