A Cinderella Story: The adoption of Xena, The Warrior Princess

By Joanna D. Samson, FOTAS Vice President

Blossom wasn’t the prettiest dog in the County Shelter, not by a long shot. Her muted gray brindle coat was dull and ratty; her skin was rough; and her teats were saggy from indiscriminate breeding. Overall, Blossom had the haggard look of a dog that had been neglected, abandoned and forgotten. By early May, Blossom held the unfortunate distinction of being the Shelter’s longest-term resident. What’s worse, not a single person had taken a second look at her in her kennel.

Flash forward to late June: Blossom (who is now referred to as Xena, the Warrior Princess) participated in her first canine obedience class, and by all accounts, Xena is now a rock star.


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Xena sits at attention with Janice.

I sat down with Xena and her favorite human and new owner, Janice Freeland (who as it happens, is one of FOTAS’ favorite humans and long-time volunteers as well*) to chat about Blossom’s breathtaking transformation from ugly duckling to canine superstar.

ME: Xena! Look at you! You look, well, just plain gorgeous—all sleek and shiny, and so trim! What’s your secret?

Xena wags her tail and breaks into a radiant pibble smile, all mouth and a tongue a mile long, and gives Janice a great big slobbery kiss.

XENA: It’s all because of Janice! She loves me and feeds me good food, and I have a soft place to sleep and two dog pals, and treats! Oh my gosh! So many treats!

Xena with one of her dog pals

Xena gives me a big slobbery kiss, too. I wipe my face and continue.

ME: Janice, how did you find Blossom, I mean, Xena?

JANICE: Total fluke, right? I was taking photos for FOTAS at the annual Woofstock Dog & Cat Festival in May, and I happened to mention I had lost a dog and that my other dog was very lonely. The next thing I knew, a volunteer brings around this kind of happy, saggy, ratty looking dog, and she tells me—this is Blossom, the sweetest, greatest dog, and she’s been at the Shelter way too long, and she really needs a home. I thought, Why not? I mean, after all, us gals need to stick together, don’t we Xena?

Wag, wag. Thump, thump. Pant, pant.

JANICE: AT first, my husband and I were anxious about adopting a Pit-cross, but Xena is, hands down, the best dog we’ve ever had. She may’ve looked kind of ragged, but she makes up for it in spades with a whopping personality. She loves people, particularly children and other dogs. She’s just so willing, eager and smart. We are lucky to have found her.

Xena rolls on her back and wiggles in ecstasy.

ME: What would you say to folks looking for a companion at the County Shelter?

JANICE: Don’t just walk by the dogs with the square heads and long tongues, the dogs who look beat up and used, the dogs who many not present well in the kennel. All they need is a little love, security and care to blossom into a blessing. Give them a chance, and they will give you a lifetime of love and devotion.

Their lives are in our hands.

*Janice Freeland organizes Polo under the Stars for the benefit of FOTAS, which will be held in October.


Pets of the Week

RIGBY: Hound mix, male, 3 months old, tan and black,         24 pounds – $35.00


RALPH: Domestic Shorthair Cat, male, 2 years old, black/gray Tabby, 6.5 pounds - $15
RALPH: Domestic Shorthair Cat, male, 2 years old, black/gray Tabby, 6.5 pounds – $10.00


By the Numbers
July Adoption Special: Dogs/Puppies $35, Cats/Kittens $10