Eight miles outside of the little town of Ellsworth, Wisconsin, three “Wisconsin mutts” live a charmed life on fifteen, dog-friendly acres.
The first Wisconsin mutt to find his furever home in Ellsworth was Hercules, a Chiweenie.
Born June 7th, 2001, Hercules, originally named “Baby Luv,” was surrendered to the animal shelter where his current “Mom,” Ashley, worked. Just three months old, “Baby Luv” was given up because he could not be left alone all day without having an accident. At that time, Ashley was not a fan of little dogs, and her first impression of “Baby Luv” was not favorable.
“I thought he was a shaking, pathetic, little rat,” She joked.
One of the shelter employees made “Baby Luv” comfortable in a kennel, but at closing time, when Ashley checked on “Baby Luv,” she found he had squeezed from his kennel into the kennel of a “crazy chocolate lab.” It was too late in the day to set up another kennel for “Baby Luv,” so Ashley took him home with her – temporarily.
As we all know, “Baby Luv,” now renamed “Hercules,” never left Ashley’s home.
Hercules settled in with Ashley without trouble. Now eight years old, he has no health problems, and blissfully fills his days with sleeping in the sun, and enjoying whatever “people food” he can “get his teeth on.” His favorite toy, Ashley reported, is his “sister,” Maddy, and he is the favorite toy of Colby, his Doberman brother. Though a bit shy, Ashley describes Hercules as a “total lover” who loves everyone.
“Herc really changed my mind about small dogs,” Ashley said.
Like Hercules, Colby was a surrender at the animal shelter.
“Judging by his body condition (not skinny, but scrawny with little muscle), we assume he was an apartment dog or just not exercised a lot,” Ashley said. “And as soon as he saw an open space, he was off and running. He has gotten better at that, but still loves to run like he’ll never get another chance at it!”
Born on May 15th, 1998, Colby, four years old at the time Ashley adopted him, was very kennel aggressive. The shelter staff did not believe anyone would adopt him because “he looked like he was out for blood,” and placed him on the list to be euthanized. Staff members were apprehensive about opening his cage, but Ashley, admittedly a “sucker for black and tans” like Colby, decided to try. When Ashley opened Colby’s cage, he immediately ran out with his “stubby wagging and dying for some loving.” Ashley understood Colby’s intimidating demeanor was merely part of his instinctive need to protect his turf. She couldn’t bear to see him put down simply because he was misunderstood; she took him home with her.
In order to make Colby feel at home, and not confuse him, Ashley did not change his name. Colby had no problems settling into Ashley’s family, which at that time included another Doberman named Prince, and Hercules. Today, Hercules and Colby are good buddies, and happily play together, and keep one another company. Colby’s relationship with his little sister Maddy is “interesting;” Maddy kisses Colby, and he ignores her!
A “total Mama’s boy,” Colby is most attached to Ashley.
“If he’s in trouble, he runs to me, probably knows I’m sucker, and will give him a reprieve,” Ashley said. “When Dad works nights, Colby sleeps under the covers with me.”
At eleven years old, Colby has had a few health problems through the years, including a couple of fatty tumors, and a lick granuloma on his foot. Colby enjoys cuddles, and riding in the car. He is afraid of hunting guns – the smell, the sound, everything. He counts on Mommy coming home at 1:30 in the morning when he gets to run free for a while.
“I know at that time of day, he can’t get into trouble,” Ashley explained. “So he goes and chases things, and comes back about a half hour later.”
Maddy, a young Chion, is the latest little pup to charm her way into Ashley’s home and heart.
“Maddy was bred by a friend of mine that bred purebred chihuahuas,” Ashley said. “She was testing out the “hybrids,” and Maddy is a result of that. I fell in love with a picture I was sent, and showed my husband. He said “no way,” but showed up at my job later that night with a wee little thing in his lap.”
Maddy settled into her furever home with ease. She has charmed everyone: Colby tolerates the many kisses she freely gives him, and she and Hercules are “great pals “80% of the time.”
“Maddy has truly made Herc years younger, and he plays with her all the time,” Ashley described. “The other 20% of the time one is trying to sleep, or a chewie is involved.”
Neither a Mommy’s girl nor a Daddy’s girl, Maddy gravitates toward “whoever has the treats.” At a year and a half, Maddy has no health problems, and enjoys attention, meeting new people, adventure, and going out.
Maddy likes to chase the neighbor’s dog, and a few times each day, charges after the chickens. Then she helps with the feeding and watering of the horses. On a nice day, she relishes a walk through the woods.
Whether it’s Hercules’ “I’m cute! Can I have a treat?” expression, Maddy’s talent for doing handstands in the grass, or Colby’s running to pop the door open when Maddy locks herself in the back room, thanks to Ashley, the Wisconsin Mutts are a loving trio that thrive on fifteen acres of heaven just outside of Ellsworth, Wisconsin.