The Complete Story of Mandy (little girl) and Poodle (her dog)

Real Estate Broker/Owner with The Best Spot Realty/Waterfront Real Estate/Ooltewah Real E

This tory is from a previous post of mine, but, I want to keep it in front of everyone so that more peole will reach out to her via her bolg.  This is such a precious little girl.  I have included post from her blod too!

I would like to share a story that has touched many hearts.  Cathy, the breeder of this wonderful Poodle, Electra, is also a friend and mentor to me with showing Poodles.  Electra also happens to be the mother of my little Marilyn, so, this gives me great hope for what she can grow up to be.  Many of you that have been on here for a while know about Twinkle from my earlier posts.  She is Cathy's dog that came for a visit last spring.   She is also Electra's sister..  We still have our fingers crossed that a breeding with her will take place this fall and that she will have puppies. 

So, this is a story about a little girl in Florida and Electra.  Please also take the time to go to the mother's blog and see what she has to say.  Maybe some of you will be interested in the foundation that she started.  This is the story, written by Cathy, and posted with her permission.  If you want to know more about Cathy and her dogs go to her web site .






BOO !! Happy Halloween


This is an article I wrote for the VIP (Versatility in Poodles) newsletter - it explains a bit about how Electra came to live with Mandy and the wonderful relationship they have formed.   Electra has moved seamlessly from being a top showdog, a great mom in the whelping box to a fantastic "mom" to a very special young lady.


Mandy's Best Friend

I'm going to backtrack a bit before explaining the title to this article a bit more, so please be a bit patient.

The story starts with my girl, "Electra", Ch. Ridgewood's Starlight Express. Electra is a showgirl. She started her career late by some standards, but I'm not one to always race into the ring with puppies - sometimes I wait until they are nice mature adults - or at least maturing young adults. This was the case with Electra. But once she entered the ring, she didn't want to look back at any other life. She LOVED the ring, the attention, and the "public", the road trips. She would howl and bark as the van was being loaded; for fear that she might get left at home - HORRORS!!

Electra finished her championship quickly and had a very nice specials career, with many specialty BIS wins as well as group wins and placements. One year she was #6, in the U.S. Jane Myers approached me at a show in Perry, GA and asked me about the possibility of a white Standard to join her family, but she was really concerned, because she had heard that there was no such thing as a white Standard with brains and sensibility. HUH??? I don't know which handlers she had been talking with or what lines they are showing, but *I* know for a fact that there ARE white standards with brains out there. I absolutely cannot take any credit for the training or work that went into the amazing accomplishments, but I will brag on Electra's white litter-brother, Quincy, who has gone High-in-Trial at PCA 3 out of 4 years (one year off due to Lyme disease). Quincy has his OTCH and is also a UDX4. And I know that there are many other sensible whites out there too.

I introduced Jane to Electra, and they hit it off right away, so towards the end of her career, I signed her on as Electra's co-owner, and she finished showing her as a special, and Electra lived and traveled with her and became a fixture in her motorhome.

Some of you are thinking "Jane Myers" ?? The Sporting Dog Handler? With Poodles?? What is with that?? Well, actually, one of Jane's first dogs was a Miniature poodle when she was a child (we won't go into what year). So Poodles were there long before the sporting dogs that she is now very well known for. And yes, Jane grooms poodles very well.

Now some of you might wonder Why or How I could give one of my dogs away so easily - well, it's because I felt it was in the best interests of Electra. She is SUCH a diva, such a showgirl who LOVES to be on the road and in the center of everything that I felt that being Jane's companion and a fixture in the RV would suit her personality better than being a couch potato in my house. Oh sure, Electra would be loved, and would be satisfied and happy living here, but not as fulfilled as being able to be on the road traveling to dog shows all the time and having people coming into the RV visiting HER (and maybe talking to Jane and Greg).

Jane has done the 3-day walk for breast cancer, and I've groomed Electra (or "Poodle" as Jane also calls her) to show support and generate interest and donations.

Electra was bred to my Vincent and gave me my wonderful boy, George - and showed me that in addition to being an amazing showgirl, she is an incredible mother. This girl is UBER-MOM. Yes, I still bottle feed, but only because of the hands-on aspect for the puppies, not because she needed the puppy supplemented. Cleaning up after the puppy? Well, Electra decided that was HER job, not mine, thank you very much. Even 5 weeks after giving birth, if I wasn't there with a paper towel as puppy was pooping, she would be in there before I could turn around!

Jane and I discussed the second breeding, Electra's strengths, weaknesses, stud dogs and decided that her second litter would be sired by Kay Palade-Peiser's old man, "Caddy" Ch. Kaylen's Cadillac Style. Again, Electra showed her incredibly strong maternal instincts.

Okay, Fast Forward to a couple months ago. I received an e-mail from Jane asking me about a new home for Electra. After I got over the initial shock of the subject line of the e-mail and read the proposal, it took me about .05 seconds to hit reply and say YES!!!! to what she was asking.

It turns out that Jane has a friend who has a young girl, Mandy that is undergoing several years of Chemotherapy. This girl just turned 8 years old and from the photos, just as cute as a bug.


She and her mom met Electra at Jane's kennel (Jane and Greg own a boarding and grooming kennel as their base of operations in Thonotosassa, FL) so, when Electra is not on the road, she is prancing about meeting & greeting clients. Jane brought Electra over to her friends home (about 15 minutes away), and it was PERFECT.

When Jane first sent me the e-mail asking me about sending Electra to live with Mandy, I knew what Jane knew - that this was perfect for her. She is a showgirl, but watching her with her puppies, I know that motherhood is a higher calling, and whether it has four legs or 2, Electra would mother and care for a puppy - and Mandy is HER puppy now, and one who will stay around much longer than the cute little four legged babies - Even better, this "puppy" gives LOTS of attention back in return! And, Electra does get lots of attention that she thrives on.


Allow me to share some of the updates Mandy's mom has sent to me along the way - they just bring tears to my eyes


>I wanted to say thank you so much for the amazing gift you have given my
> little girl in your beautiful Electra. I see an incredible difference in
> Mandy already and it has only been three days.
> Mandy has not slept all night in her own bed since she started chemo
> back in February. With her adored poodle sleeping tucked next to her,
> she sleeps soundly all night in her own bed.
> Today after a particularly rough day of chemo, that didn't go as
> planned,  Mandy lay on the couch with her all day.
> They share food...bite for you, bite for me style.






What amazing medicine, huh? Just 3 days, and the little girl is sleeping in her own bed. Now, as far as eating, part of that is probably due to some of the newer drugs Mandy was given for her appetite - but having an eating buddy to share your meals with would certainly make eating more fun.



And a new computer buddy:

This update was from September 28th , and a new Chemo protocol - the thought of Mandy losing her hair prompted the thought that a "sympathy" haircut on Electra's part might help Mandy feel a bit better - so that is what the reference is to the new haircut on "Poodle"


>You are too sweet for words. Thank you so much and I so hope you get to
> see the two of them together soon. It is so incredibly cute and sweet.
> Poodle just LOVES Mandy and has very much adopted her as her puppy. :-)
> They are inseparable.
> Funny story, yesterday, Mandy was out in the playset with Alannah and
> Zachary and they were up in the little fort part of it playing
> something. Poodle stood at the door barking until I let her out to go
> find Mandy. She ran out to the playset, ran up the little staircase
> thing to the fort part, sat down next to Mandy and looked at me liked,
> "Phew, it's all good. I got her now." Sooooooooo cute. Mandy thought it
> was the best thing ever.
> It really makes her day to see how much she responds to her and how she
> always follows here everywhere. It is definitely true love.
> Right now Mandy's hair looks like it is hanging on okay and some is even
> coming back after the first chemo regimen. I am hoping it will hang in
> there. If not, I will definitely talk to her about Poodle going bald
> with her. You are so sweet to think of that. Thank you!

Mandy's mom has an on-line blog set up, where she posts up-dates, news, info, funny tid-bits about life. Here was her entry introducing everyone to Electra

Information about Mandy and what type of cancer she has is at her blog:


I know that I am terribly biased, but I think this is what Poodles should be able to do. Roll with whatever is thrown at them and take it not only in stride, but step up and perform beyond what anyone expected, because they are just an amazing breed.

And when we breed, we need to remember that we are the guardians and the future of the breed. It is up to us to protect the health, temperament and all the other wonderful traits of our breed when we are planning breedings and raising litters. Also, when our beloved poodles step out, they are ambassadors to the breed, and should represent the breed well, and we must be willing to answer questions and help educate others.


And if anyone has a Poodle with a great, stable temperament, please consider looking into a pediatric cancer center and see if there is a match. The feedback alone is overwhelming, then if you stop to think about the fact that you are actually touching and affecting a young life - oh, just not enough words to express the feelings, but plenty of smiles and tears of joy!


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Another Entry from Mandy's Journal -PLEASE KEEP READING (This is not a points post) (edit/delete)

Mandy's Journal


A day in the life

Posted: 12 Nov 2008 02:41 PM CST

Wednesday is marked by most folks as "hump day." The middle of the week. The point at which you can see the weekend from here if you stand on your tippy toes and squint. Maybe it is the day you start bugging your spouse about the Honey-Do list for Saturday afternoon. Maybe it is the day of your big weekly staff meeting. Maybe it is the day you start talking about where you will spend Friday nights after work happy hour. For us, every Wednesday, for as long as we can see into the future, is chemo day.

Our day starts with getting Alannah and Zachary dressed, ready and out the door to school. We apply EMLA cream, a numbing agent, to the skin over Mandy's surgically implanted port. This eases discomfort during port access.

First thing at chemo Mandy gets weighed, measured, temp, blood pressure and pulse taken.

Then it is off to an exam room to have her port accessed. This is when the nurse will put the needle in her port that will be used to administer the chemotherapy medications.

Mandy takes the Glad Press and Seal off of her EMLA cream. (Yup, that's right, Glad Press and Seal, it's not just for food anymore)

Then her nurse cleans the port area for 30 seconds. Mandy HATES the smell of this stuff.

Mandy has a counting thing and picks a number less than ten to count to before the nurse is allowed to touch her port. The nurses absolutely rock and are incredibly patient waiting for Mandy to reach her magic number. One of her very favorite nurses, Miss Lisa, has the needle hidden in her hand, waiting for Mandy to finish counting and be ready.

Then in goes the needle. This is no fun, but Mandy is so brave and strong.

Then we draw the blood to do the counts that we are so dependent on. These counts tell us if her immune system is strong enough to handle the chemo that day or if she needs additional blood product in a transfusion.

The needle is taped down to keep it secure and germ-free. The tape going on is a cakewalk. The tape coming off is a nightmare. Thankfully, there is an adhesive remover that helps immensely with that part.

Today, all her blood work was fine, so it was down the hall to the infusion room. The process of delivering all the medications takes about an hour and a half. Sometimes she plays with the awesome staff, like her other very favorite nurse, Miss Emily.

Sometimes, she just watches a movie.

She gets several medications through her port: An anti nausea medicine, her chemo meds, a saline flush and a heparin flush. This process takes about an hour and a half. The tape is removed, the needle is removed and we head home.

Today she had a particularly upset tummy and needed an extra anti-nausea at the end. That one is a narcotic and leaves her pretty strung out.

The thing about chemo day: it's just what she does on Wednesday. If you look closely at these pictures, what do you see? She's smiling, she's laughing. She loves these nurses and these doctors. A kid in chemotherapy is just that, a kid. It is a crummy, nasty situation, no doubt, but, it just becomes "the new normal," as much as it can be.

When Mandy first started treatment she was incredibly angry and upset. She would cringe every time it seemed like anyone might touch her. She was like a wild animal sometimes, angry and scared and defensive.

She bounces in there now, being her loud and happy self. She hugs all the staff hello and then hugs them all goodbye. She laughs too loud, jokes and grins. Even when she feels lousy, like today, she always has a smile for these people.

She may be an 8-year-old brain tumor patient. She may be an 8-year-old Neurofibromatosis patient. She may be an 8-year-old chemotherapy patient. But that is not what defines her. That is not the whole of her. She is an 8-year-old little girl who has been forced into a situation that called for extra strength and extra bravery. Just like pretty much every other kid who has been put into this situation, she has taken it and made it her new normal. She has found a way to be okay with it. She has found a way to find joy in the most unjoyful of situations and has truly become a hero, embodying strength and hope and bravery.

Love to all~


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Rent 2 Own Land
843-410-8732 - Charleston, SC

Gayle- Great post! Mandy will be in our thoughts & prayers.

Nov 16, 2008 01:25 AM #1
Gayle Balaban
The Best Spot Realty/Waterfront Real Estate/Ooltewah Real E - Chattanooga, TN
E. TN Waterfront Real Estate

Thank you Bobby.  I am trying to encourage everyone to go to her blog and leave her a message

Nov 16, 2008 08:56 AM #2
Danny Thornton
R & D Art - Knoxville, TN
WordPress Guru

Gayle, great story.

Nov 17, 2008 10:05 AM #3
Gayle Balaban
The Best Spot Realty/Waterfront Real Estate/Ooltewah Real E - Chattanooga, TN
E. TN Waterfront Real Estate

Danny Thanks for stopping by.  This little girl needs all of our support.  I have been encouraging everyone to drop by her blog and leave her a good wish!

Nov 18, 2008 02:30 PM #4
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Gayle Balaban

E. TN Waterfront Real Estate
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