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October 9, 2014

For me, the love affair started about 8 years ago.  We were at a fund raising affair for our local humane society and French Bulldog Rescue was there.  I took one look at the two tiny Frenchies sitting on top of a picnic table, accepting all the petting and comments from the people walking by with the gracious attitude we all hope our Frenchies will possess.  They didn’t raise an eyebrow when someone called them “weird-looking” or commented on how they’d “run into a door.”  At the end of that short visit, I knew I HAD to have one.  So the research started.  I checked out French Bulldog Rescue’s website every day, and I do mean, EVERY day, for nearly two years.  I read everything I could find and I think I literally visited every website on the Internet having anything remotely to do with French Bulldogs, including veterinary sites, AKC, and various breeders.  While we wanted to rescue a Frenchie, one just never came along that was the right “fit,” if you know what I mean.  We had 2 other dogs and 5 cats, our house has two flights of steps, we didn’t have a fenced in yard at the time, etc., etc.  Our choices among the rescues were limited and it just never worked out.  So, realizing that I wasn’t getting any younger and didn’t want to wait forever, I found what I thought was a reputable breeder and brought our first Frenchie home, a female named Cricket, who just turned 6 years old.  Callie came a year or so later, then Cooper, then Archie.  Honestly, I can’t say anything at all negative about any of those experiences.  But, then along came LuAnn Belock and Fayme! . . .

At some point soon after we got Cooper, I came upon LuAnn’s website – Fayme French Bulldogs.  I was immediately struck by the fabulous photography and all the information on the website.  I marveled at all the rock-star pedigrees and looked up some of those dogs on the Web, too.  But my favorite part was the blog.  I went back in time and started reading from the beginning and it didn’t take long to figure out that LuAnn, her dogs, and her breeding program was exceptional, far above the quality of dogs that I’d seen elsewhere on the Web.  I’d come home from work and turn on the computer to see what was going on at Fayme.  When puppies were on the way, I swear I was a nervous wreck, anxiously awaiting their arrival and the pictures that would be posted thereafter.  One day, I got up the nerve to send LuAnn an e-mail, telling her how much I liked her website, she so kindly responded, and our friendship was born.  I’d told her about us and our 3 Frenchies and how we were looking to make it 4 soon.  While all the puppies in her upcoming litters were spoken for, she graciously answered my questions as far as what to look for in a structurally sound Frenchie.  She gave me great advice – even though it wasn’t even her puppy we were going to be getting, she still spent her very valuable time to help me.  I remember at one point I was looking at a pup from overseas and she spent over an hour on the phone with me, looked at the pictures with me, and gave me her honest opinion when I asked her what she thought of him.  Her overriding concern was that we get the kind of puppy we want and that he’s healthy and fit.  We didn’t end up getting that particular pup, but a few months later, armed with more knowledge and a clearer picture of exactly what we wanted in our next Frenchie, our beautiful cream boy from Alabama, Archie, came North to stay.

Well, after Archie’s arrival we had our hands full.  He’s a pistol!  It was great to bounce things off LuAnn and we’d keep in touch via e-mail on a regular basis, and I continued to visit the blog a few times a week.   Fast forward to February, 2014, and I see on the blog that Fayme is expecting two litters, both of which could yield pieds!  LuAnn and I were talking about “rainbow-colored Frenchies.”  Then, the shock of a life-time happens!  Two litters, born 3 days apart, and NINE boys are born!  What are the odds!!!   Since there were no girls, a space opened up for us to get one of Fayme’s finest!   I nearly fainted when LuAnn asked me if we’d be interested in a red boy!  Needless to say, that decision took me about a half-second to make!  We corresponded every week.  I watched the blog every day.  And LuAnn shared all the details of the puppies’ growing up nearly day by day.  I was worried I was pesting her, but she insisted that she didn’t mind my e-mails and was happy to answer my questions.  As the puppies grew, my heart settled on a favorite, a red fawn, and a name for him, Jiminy.  I couldn’t have been happier, especially with the flow of information coming to us about Jiminy.  I felt like LuAnn did everything she could to make us feel like we were right there during Jiminy’s itty-bitty babyhood!  Arrangements were made to pick him up and I drove out to Cincinnati and spent a wonderful afternoon at LuAnn’s beautiful house, sitting on the living room floor being mobbed by all the adult dogs from Fayme and playing with the puppies.  It was awesome being able to meet them in person, especially Aria, Jiminy’s mother!  We had lunch and talked and talked.  Jiminy and I left with a bag of toys, food, valuable information, his AKC papers, you name it, I had it.  A more thorough and thoughtful going away goodie-bag was never put together.

Jiminy is a happy puppy and was instantly accepted by everyone else in the pack.  Amazingly enough, he seems to have wiggled into Archie’s good graces, not an easy thing to do!  (Archie was named after Archie Bunker – he can be a little grumpy!)  But Archie is Jiminy’s favorite and they can be seen snoozing together, wrestling, and playing tag nearly every day!  Jiminy was a snap to housebreak – LuAnn laid all the groundwork ahead of time.  He’s healthy and growing like a weed!  Our vet marvels at how well behaved he is.  Jiminy has been out “in public” quite a few times already, at some large dog-friendly events, with lots of people, little kids, and other dogs.  He’s behaved perfectly.  I am so proud of him, but I must admit that he is a product of the good foundation he received from LuAnn.  My favorite thing is to take Jiminy and Cricket somewhere together.  Someone invariably stops me and gushes all over them and asks me, “what are their names?”  And I get to say, “this is Jiminy and this is Cricket!”  Ha!  It’s just a hoot! 

LuAnn puts an INCREDIBLE amount of work and time in to caring for her dogs and giving them the best life any pup could possibly have.  What she does isn’t easy, there aren’t any shortcuts, and it isn’t cheap.  I believe you get what you pay for, be that in time, energy, or dollars.  Everyone who has done any research at all should know that Frenchies sometimes are not the easiest breed to own.  They’ve got their quirks and their share of medical anomalies.  However, you can rest assured that producing the best quality and healthiest dog is all that matters to LuAnn.  She’s taken all the guesswork out of it!

If you have the opportunity, get to know LuAnn you’ll become enamored of these little dogs.  Her enthusiasm, energy, and love for the breed are infectious!  And should the chance to own a Fayme Frenchie and become part of the Fayme family come your way, you’d better jump on it!  It’ll be one of the best and happiest decisions you’ll ever make. 

Becky Pollock,  Reading, PA

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