WINCHESTER — Valentine’s Day is not just for couples, as people’s furry friends at the Saving Grace Pet Adoption Center made clear Saturday afternoon.
The adoption center set up a kissing booth as a fundraiser where people posed with their pets. Some were adorned in Valentine’s Day-themed props: red feather boas, heart-shaped sunglasses, glittering red hats.
Lori Wiser showed up with her mother-in-law, Vicky Wiser, and their four small dogs. They were the first customers of the day, and are possibly Saving Grace’s biggest fans. They donate regularly to the nonprofit open-admission shelter where folks can adopt dogs, cats and various small animals.
Three of the dogs they brought are related. Peso and Daisy are the parents of Mr. Stubbs. They are Pomeranian Chihuahua mixes, also called “pomchis.” The fourth guy, Rascal, joined the team later on. All four have interesting stories of how they came into the Wiser’s lives.
Vicky Wiser remembers the day she saw Peso at a pet store. She pointed him out to her husband.
“He said he was not going to spend that kind of money on a dog,” she said. “Then a couple of days later, my husband went to the bank and he withdrew money to go to the pet store to buy Peso, but he was gone.”
She instead purchased Daisy at a different store.
By coincidence, Lori Wiser had also been wanting a small dog since her last dog had died. She had looked for one at Saving Grace, but couldn’t find one that was under 10 pounds. Her landlord would not let her have a dog heavier than that.
“I’m the kind of person that can’t live without a dog,” Lori Wiser said.
She went to the nearest pet store and purchased Peso, not knowing that her mother-in-law and been seeking the same pet just days earlier. They never knew about the exchange until Vicky Wiser brought Daisy over to her son’s house. Then she saw Peso.
Both named him because he “cost a pretty peso,” she said.
By the time Lori Wiser met Rascal — a papillon, which looks strikingly similar to the three pomchis — she already had three dogs, but she couldn’t resist his charm. She spotted him at a local feed store where she bought crickets for the frogs living in her pond. Every time she went into the store, there he was. She and her husband worried that he would never find a home.
“Papillons are usually really expensive, but he was only $75 because he was the largest between him and his cousin,” she said. “They thought no one was going to adopt him because they would prefer the smaller one, which is usually true.”
The two ladies posed with all four of the pups at the kissing booth on Saturday. Daisy wore a red feather boa for the occasion.
Ask Lori and Vicky Wiser why they love dogs so much, and they will reel off answers:
Vicky: “They give you so much love and they expect nothing.”
Lori: “They’re our best friends. We think about them when we’re at work and we can’t wait to come home.”
Vicky: “You could be gone only two minutes from the house, and when you come back, they are like, ‘Oh my gosh you’re back! I missed you so much.’”