Jena and Hudson on their way to Dallas

Dearest Charl,

I wanted to take a moment to express my deepest gratitude to you and your daughter, Jena. You have changed my life. If you ask anyone that knows me, they would tell you that i am NOT a dog person, not even a pet person really. I am a physician, wife, and a busy mother of three who runs a tight ship. I grew up surrounded by animals- dogs, cats, rabbits, hamsters, fish, horses. Perhaps, I felt as though I had had enough. With that said, for many months, I have been contemplating a dog for my children. I feel strongly that children should grow up with a pet. It provides them with unconditional love, responsibility, and a sense of the natural order of the world itself. Knowing myself, however, i realized that this dog would need to fit into MY life. It would need to meet certain criteria. I started my internet search looking for dogs that were hypoallergenic and non-shedding. I came upon a list of approximately 10 breeds and investigated each and every one. However, none seemed to be the right match. Having reached exhaustion, I googled hypoallergenic dogs one last time. This time, I came upon google images and i saw the most beautiful dog. I quickly discovered the breed- Australian Labradoodle. From there, I learned everything I could about the breed from the Australian Labradoodle Club of America website. I called my mom. . . I’ve found our dog.

I immediately sent out emails to 5 different breeders throughout the United States. You were the first to respond. Charl, I will never forget our conversation. You interviewed me as extensively as I interviewed you. It was obvious, you were so much more than a breeder of dogs. You truly LOVED your dogs. I spoke to several other breeders, but none of them could possibly measure up. My decision was made. Our dog would come from you. You were unbelievably patient with me, answering all of my questions. We were wavering between litters – did we want a miniature or a medium? You went to the trouble to make me a video, showing me the size differences between a miniature, small medium and large medium – all done with your nephew – a child approximately my height (4’11”) in order to give me some perspective. It was above and beyond what I could have ever anticipated.

In the end, we decided on a miniature, accelerating our time line by several weeks. You agreed to have our Hudson stay in your extended stay program while we enjoyed our previously scheduled summer vacation. With the weather being so hot in Dallas during the summer, we quickly realized that Hudson would be unable to fly cargo to us; we made arrangements for you daughter, Jena, to accompany him in the cabin and deliver him to us.

And then, 5 days before his arrival, I received the phone call from you – the one informing us that Hudson had been in a small mishap. It was unknown at the time whether he was seriously injured. You kept us informed every step of the way- even sending us texts and photos of Hudson from the vet’s office. In the end, thankfully, he sustained only soft tissue injury and we chose to allow him time to recuperate. Throughout this ordeal, you made it very clear that it was our decision whether or not we wanted to take him. If we were at all uncomfortable, you had reserved us a puppy from the next litter. You were honest, forthright, and you handled the situation with the utmost grace. In the end, we had your vet conference with mine and the decision was made that Hudson had made a full recovery with no signs of lasting injury. Our puppy was coming home!

Two days later, Jena arrived with Hudson. The first true glimpse I had was of him sitting in the front seat of my car in Jena’s lap. I reached over and he licked my fingers and tears came to my eyes. I was in love. In that moment, I became a dog person.

Jena spent the evening teaching us everything we needed to know about Hudson. Her fund of knowledge was invaluable. She is an excellent educator, as passionate about her dogs as you are. When I took her to the airport the next day, we were ready. She had trained us (and Hudson) well. This last week has been one of adventure. Hudson has become an immediate part of the family. He has ridden shotgun with me while driving afternoon carpool, become an avid lover of the piano (my middle son Ezra plays), and become the best foot warmer I have ever had. He is a true companion, wanting to be by my side for whatever the next day may bring. Charl, everything that Hudson is, he is because of the love, care and work that you put into your dogs before they go home. There are NO WORDS to express the gratitude that I have for you and Jena. You have given us one of the greatest gifts we could never have imagined. You have given us more than a dog. You have given us a new member of our family.

You have transformed me. Apparently, I was a closet dog person. . . who would have guessed??

With my love and gratitude,

Leslie (and the rest of the family – Marshall, Yossi, Ezra and Tzila)