This section is all about Angel - cancer survivor and leader of the pack! Angel's Daddy and I (Johnny and Kristie Sullens) have answered a few questions about our best friend to help you get better acquainted. Once you know her you'll love her as much as we do :)
Ladie's and gentlemen....meet Angel!
When is Angel's birthday? How old is she?
Angel's birthday is May 6, 2004. Angel turned 6 years old a few days before she received the canine bone marrow transplant at NC State University.
What breed of dog is Angel?
Angel is a Carolina Yellow Dog aka American Dingo. We have always wondered about her "make & model", but we never had a reason to find out until now. So, we asked the professionals at http://www.carolinadogs.com/index.html to make the determination. They agreed that Angel appears to be mostly Carolina Yellow Dog aka American Dingo. Angel's primitive behavior made a lot more sense once we were able to research her breed.
How big is she, how much does she weigh?
Before Angel was diagnosed with cancer she weighed around 80-85lbs. Once she began taking prednisone her weight crept up to 105lbs! Once she was off of the prednisone she began to lose weight, but the majority of her pounds were shed while she was at NC State. The doctors told us to feed her, "whatever it takes", to make sure she was well nourished when she arrived for the transplant.
Everyone feared that she would lose an enormous amount of weight after the irradiation. Luckily, Angel loves to eat and NOTHING will keep her from a good meal :) Angel weighed 95lbs when she checked into NC State. When we picked her up she was 75lbs! Angel's weight is holding steady at 78lbs and has been since her return in May 2010. since she's been home.
How Angel found us
Dad (Johnny):One crisp Oklahoma morning, I warily stepped out the front door of our second floor apartment, and like any other morning I was in a rush to get to my construction job on time. I quickly traipsed down the stairs, looked up and in the direction of the rising sun was this beautiful, golden puppy. I grew up in the country, and I had seen many stray dogs, but none of them had ever seen me back. She was sort of perched on the dewy grass, one ear flopped over the other like a cartoon bunny; she wasn't remotely startled by my heavy trudging down the stairs. It was as though she had been waiting for me. After what seemed like several minutes of intensely studying one another I swept her up in my arms, and carried her back up the stairs. I opened the front door of our second floor apartment and set her inside. I yelled to my then girlfriend, Kristie, "I found a puppy out front, please get her some food and water. I have to go to work, I love you, bye!" And that's how our Angel found us.
Mama (Kristie):I was upstairs in the loft sleeping in when I heard, "I found a puppy out front, please get her some food and water. I have to go to work, I love you, bye!" followed by the sound of his steel toed boots clomping up the stairs. Next thing I know Angel was in my arms, Romeo was in the bathroom & Johnny was off to the job site! I jumped up, threw Angel in the bathtub & gave her a good scrubbing. She trusted me instantly and she was so sweet and cute, cute, cute! It was love at first site :)
What was Angel like as a puppy?
Dad (Johnny): Angel was a delightful and curious puppy. She was always up to play. She did and still does this "bear hug" move, where she squats then leaps up at you with her arms wide open (like a hug).
Mama (Kristie): Sweet, strong willed, hyper, playful, attentive, loving, defiant and feisty ;) Angel has never been scared of anything and I love that about her. The downside is that she will try anything once, even if it is the last thing she should do. We call her Beech (Beach) or beech-uh beech which is Angel speak for I do what I want!
Ever since she was a puppy Angel's had what I call the "Fireman's Complex". If she hears 2 dogs start to scuffle her first instinct is to run toward the drama & jump right in the middle of it. Angel will NEVER instigate a fight, but she'll never back down from one either. I keep threatening to make her a T-shirt that reads, "Don't Start Nothin' , Won't be Nothin' which is what Johnny's Dad always says :) Angel was a sweet puppy that loved to play, dig and cuddle!
What activities does Angel like?
Dad (Johnny): Angel loves to play! Her newest and most favorite game is The Ultimate Prey game! The Ultimate Prey is, of course, the mercurial squirrel of Lafraniere Park. Kristie and I have had to install airbags on all our walking/hunting gear (we don't really hunt by the way), in the event that our little low center of gravity, Angel, happens to spot a squirrel before we do; the scene sort of resembles the Wile E. Coyote tied to the falling anvil.
Mama (Kristie): Angel loves to be rubbed! We do Poochie Pilates every morning to keep her muscles limber;) She also loves chasing squirrels in the park or in her backyard while they run along the wire; this also includes hunting rats & small rodents around the outside of the house. Angel will kill rodents but Romeo won't.
Her absolute favorite is playing tug of war with Romeo; they usually use plushies, but they grab whatever they can find outside. Angel enjoys waiting for Romeo to fall asleep so she can steal his bones and take them outside :) She is a big fan of dragging things that belong inside the house into the back yard; this has slowed down since her diagnosis, but she's still got a sneaky streak.
Romeo and Angel both love watchin' da house; this means that she likes to sit on the couch and bark at everyone within her radar. We enjoy daily walks at least once per day, sometimes twice. Angel is an explorer so she is up for an adventure anytime, anyplace! Angel is a natural born leader & she has no problem navigating our trips when allowed.
Angel's #1 favorite thing is going for rides (buh-buy) with her head & paws hanging out of the window. This girl enjoys a ride like we enjoy sunshine! Angel is very smart and she loves to make us happy, so we try to teach her new tricks whenever possible.
Angel loves to eat and beg for food, it's like a sport for her. One of her favorite past times is keeping Romeo from the laser. She literally eats his face and it's hilarious! Angel likes to eat her bones outside no exceptions, even when it's raining!
She enjoys snuggling with Doo Doo and they always look so comfy, like cat's napping in the sunshine. Angel is excellent at catching stuff in her mouth, she prefers food but we usually use a ball or stuffed animal.
What about Angel's other half, Romeo?
Mama (Kristie): Romeo is the biggest character you'll ever meet! He is a made for TV pooch that missed the casting call :) If there is ever a sad moment, Romeo is the one that changes the mood with his silly antics. He LOVES his Angel and his laser. He waits patiently for Angel to get out of treatment every Thursday morning. They sleep together, eat together, play together, you name it and they do it together. Romeo is our pretty boy and he knows how to work it! If you say "where's my pretty boy?", he climbs up the bed or floor and nuzzles his head into his paws. It's so cute it hurts! He also poses for pics, lets us dress him and listens to commands. His most popular trick is giving knuckles when he hears "woop woop"! Romeo and Angel are the perfect match and that's why we call them the ying yang twins!
Dad (Johnny): Romeo and Angel are inseparable. There is nothing that they don't do together.
In fact, with every bone, at every meal, Romeo will chunk a piece of whatever he's having in Angel's direction. Their primal play fights have become a sort of wild ballet; I must admit Romeo's Pliá is exquisite. On walks, they absolutely insist on walking side by side in the same orientation every time.
I think their own unique personalities really come out at the dog parks. Angel is the matriarch. As Romeo forges ahead on the trail, Angel will fall back and make certain that the entire pack, especially her Mamma, is accounted for and safe. On the surface, Romeo is all about Romeo, but deep down he's got that sort of Patrick Swayze in Dirty Dancing type of attitude. He's a "Nobody puts Baby in the corner" kind of guy. We've always imagined that Romeo looks at Angel as an upper class princess that would never fall for a bum like himself. They really are everything to each other. They're more than friends, lovers, or even family. They're best mates. They're a pack.
5. Tell us about some of Angel's funny personality traits.
Dad (Johnny): Angel sits like a cross country trucker! I can't explain it; just have a look at the picture to see (there is nothing lady like about it).
Mama (Kristie): She eats honey bees like they are life-savers, she prefers clean cold water and she always runs around the car until we open the door :)
How is Angel with children?
Dad (Johnny): Angel loves children. Before her lymphoma diagnosis, she kept a strict 3 strike policy around children, but now she seems to adore them. It's like she plugged her sweetness into a giant 10,000 Watt amplifier, and when children lean in for a pet, she cranks up that "woofer" so high she could blow your socks off! It is so cute! But that's just my "man-dition" of what happens;it's magical. In fact, we have a 13 year old, Save-An-Angel volunteer, that she loves hanging out with.
What does the staff at Riverlands Animal Hospital have to say about her?
Everyone at Riverlands adores Angel! All of the techs fuss over her and tell us how sweet and brave she is! Angel never gives them any trouble when she gets treatment. Dr. Garon says that she's amazed at how well adjusted Angel is since the transplant. She says that Angel has the perfect personality to go through all of this be fearless on the other side. She's calm, confident and she has nerves of steel! The fact that she still loves the people who poke her is both amazing and inspiring :)
Pictured above is Angel and Paula Bourge :) This photo was taken after we came back from walking Romeo around the hospital, (it's tradition while we wait for Angel), and Angel was behind the counter taking phone calls and helping to sign people in!