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Anna's Long Way Home for the Holidays

22 Dec 2016 9:30 AM | Anonymous

Welkom Thuis, Anna...that’s Dutch for "Welcome Home, Anna"

When we think about our shelter animals going "home for the holidays", we generally think of them traveling a few miles or maybe a little further.  But on December 8, one of our lucky dogs started on an amazing 5,600+ mile journey to her new home in Hardenberg, which is a town in the eastern Netherlands.


Anna first came to the shelter on May 18, 2016.  After nearly a month, she was adopted.  However, during her free health exam, it was discovered that she needed some dental work, which her new family couldn’t afford.

Anna was brought back to the shelter where she waited for another family to fall in love with her. Thanks to a partnership with Banfield Pet Hospital, who offered us free medical care as they prepared for their grand opening, we were able to get Anna’s teeth taken care of in July, which we thought would result in her getting adopted very quickly.

However, fast forward to October and Anna was still waiting for the perfect family. That’s when fate intervened for this little 5-year old Chihuahua mix. Friends was the featured shelter partner for Cesar Millan’s Adopt-Me-Thursday program for the month of October. Anna’s cute face and story were featured on Cesar’s Facebook page on October 20th, and she garnered quite a bit of interest…interest all the way from Holland to be exact!

Cesar Millan's Adopt-Me-Thursday Post of Anna

Linda Pol, at her farm in Holland, saw Anna on the internet and fell in love.  She decided to take a chance on this cute little pup thousands of miles away from her home and reached out to us to see if we could make an international adoption possible.  After some research, many emails, and phone calls, Anna was placed into quarantine to prepare for travel and flights were booked.

At home in Holland, Anna's soon-to-be new family was awaiting her arrival.  Anna’s future family member, Frabbe, sent her a lovely letter to help her learn about her new family.

Dear Beloved Anna,

My name is Frabbe, nickname White Princess, and as the (oldest) dog – leader I am honored to let you know you are going to be one of us really soon. Let me introduce my pack and myself. I am a 14-year-old Jack Russell, white with 1 brown ear. I always had, and still have, a very joyful, happy life and now even more because we live on a farm since over a year now.

Then we have Daya, my human leader calls her Big Girl, because she is a 60kg female South African Boerboel. Her birthday is 14 of September 2008 (humans think our birthdays are important, another excuse to eat cake. By the way mine is going to be in more than a week, 8 November). Daya is a nice companion and she is a very wise and easy going dog.

Tyson is also a full South African Boerboel that came from the same breeder, he has something with his legs and was not allowed to breed. Tyson also weighs a lot, and sometimes he is very impolite and steps on my toes because he wants to go through the door first. Luckily my human leader tells him to wait, she always says “ladies first”.  That means you can go first t0o! Tyson is going to be 3 years on 12 of December, you are here by then, NICE we can have cake together.

We also have other animals, they are called cats, we are supposed to be nice to them but I do not like them all the time. When they come too close to my chair I will growl at them. We can growl but we are not allowed to bite them.

We also have large animals with 4 legs, they are called horses. They don’t understand us at all.

During the day we hang out around in the house and the yard, with cold weather we lay down in our wonderful chairs next to the fireplace. And I also have a place in the kitchen that is only mine. I love to help the humans cook, sometimes I get a potato, I love a raw one. But I have to chew really carefully because when my Boerboel friends hear me chew they also want a potato and they make a mess. I don’t, I always clean up. That’s probably why the humans call me a vacuum cleaner.

I’ve heard you live in a very hot place compare to where we live. So the humans are going to get you some sweaters and of course a raincoat. I have one too, they are nice and warm.

My human leader never left us for more than a day, to pick you up she will be gone for a week, you must be very special.

And by the way, to make you a bit more happy, the humans have a wonderful butcher that will bring us a cow bone every now and then. Sorry I can’t share mine with you, but I don’t think you mind getting one of your own do you?

Love to see you in December, so we can eat cake on Tysons birthday and dig out the rabbit holes together.

Love 2 see u soon.

Frabbe, the Netherlands 16 November 2016

Meanwhile, Linda and her friend Michael made the long trek to California to meet Anna.  Linda's husband stayed behind to tend the farm while they were away.  Linda officially met and adopted Anna on December 2, 2016. 

The Meet and Greet

It's Official...the "I'm Adopted" Photo

Linda and Michael spent a week here on holiday and even spent time taking other shelter dogs for walks.

One of our Lead Volunteers, Helena Van Kooten, is from the Netherlands and helped Linda and Michael plan their trip, and got to spend some time showing them around the area. They worked up an appetite on some local hiking trails and took Anna out to lunch at a dog-friendly cafe.

Helena and Rusty with Michael and Anna

Linda and Anna

On December 8th, Anna, Linda, and Michael made the 10-hour journey home to Holland.  Anna met her new family members and is settling in well.  She's learning all about living on a farm.

Back Home with Anna

On the Farm

Anna has her own raincoat, and like Frabbe promised in her letter, she is getting her very own handmade sweater to keep her warm.

Last week, Anna surprised us with flowers and a sweet thank you note.

A Note from Angel Anna

Linda has promised to keep us updated on the next chapter of Anna’s adventure...after her nap, that is.  Thank you, Linda, for making the long trip from Holland to give a shelter dog in Upland, California a wonderful home and family!

Anna’ story is a great example of the importance of networking and the role social media plays in finding homeless animals new homes. Thank you to everyone who played a part in getting Anna to her new home in Holland. As always, Friends is dedicated to helping every adoptable animal find a loving home, even if that means extra paperwork, countless phone calls and emails, and assisting with international travel arrangements.

Er is green plaats zoals huis!

That’s Dutch for, “There’s no place like home.”

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Upland, CA 91786
Animal Shelter Phone Number: 1-909-931-4185

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