Sunday, December 10, 2023

A tale of two dogs: Bichon Frises find new home after owner dies

Jessica and Pierre, a pair of bonded Bichon Frises, found their "fur-ever" home Memorial Day weekend. (WYDaily/ Courtesy of the Animal Medical Care Center's Facebook page)
Jessica and Pierre, a pair of bonded Bichon Frises, found their “fur-ever” home Memorial Day weekend. (WYDaily/ Courtesy of the Animal Medical Care Center’s Facebook page)

Second chances.

That pretty much sums up what came about of Jessica and Pierre.

Now, this story may be as simple as it gets, but with all the things going on around us, a little boost of optimism won’t hurt.

Jessica, 9 and Pierre, 10, are a bonded pair of Bichon Frises. And although they were staying in an assisted living facility with their owner, they were content.

They were happy.

But the time came when their owner could no longer walk them. Dog walkers would come visit the man and help with Jessica and Pierre.

All is good, right?

Enter the coronavirus which pretty much shut everything down, including the facility that had to put in place precautions, like not allowing visitors.

The man’s son-in-law stepped in and asked the Animal Medical Care Center, a veterinary clinic, grooming facility and boarding center in Yorktown to take care of the dogs for the time being.

“They boarded with us for about three months,” said Dr. Cathy Gallahorn, medical director for AMCC.

Gallahorn said the facility was on complete lockdown and the son-in-law was unable to take the dogs.

The owner was able to visit Jessica and Pierre once after a doctor’s appointment April 17.

Two weeks later, the son-in-law called — the dogs’ owner had died.

Sometime around May 18, the Animal Care Center started looking for new owners to take care of Jessica and Pierre.

And they can’t be separated.

“We got hundreds of calls, thousands of comments on our Facebook page,” Gallahorn said.

The staff vetted the inquires and called their previous veterinarians before putting Jessica and Pierre with a woman in Norfolk on Memorial Day weekend.

“So Jessica is extremely fun loving,” Gallahorn said. “Everyone is her friend and she just wants to get in your lap.

“Pierre is a little bit more standoffish and he takes his lead from his sister,” she added.

The first time the dogs met the woman was on the day they were going to be adopted. Gallahorn said shy Pierre went up to the woman and kissed her on the lips, something he never did with the kennel staff.

“We just feel this owner is going to do really well through the dog,” Gallahorn added, noting the woman had been in contact with the son-in-law and has gotten veterinarian checkups on both dogs. “She’s going to be great for these doggies”

The woman who adopted the dogs was not immediately available for comment.

Jessica and Pierre will get to walk the neighborhood again, their tails wagging.


Julia Marsigliano
Julia Marsigliano
Julia Marsigliano is a multimedia reporter for WYDaily. She covers everything on the Peninsula from local government and law enforcement agencies to family-run businesses and weather updates. Before WYDaily, she covered Hampton and Newport News for WYDaily’s sister publication, HNNDaily before both publications merged in December 2018. Julia was born in Tokyo, Japan and moved to Long Island, New York in 2001. A true New Yorker, she loves pizza, bagels and good Chinese food. Send comments, tips and other tidbits to You can follow her on Twitter at @jmarsigliano

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