Cherry Garcia may be a bonafide movie star after starring in the documentary The Champions, but as of a few weeks ago, he stepped into a new role – big brother to his family’s new puppy, Eleanor Roosevelt (or Ellie for short).
Ellie, a white and tan Pit Bull, was adopted by Cherry’s family, which includes superstar Cherry; his dad, Paul; his mom, Melissa; his two human siblings, Novi and Rosalie; and two cats, Walker and Sophie.
When Cherry, a dog rescued from Michael Vick’s Bad Newz Kennels, was adopted by Melissa and Paul Fiaccone in March 2010, they already had a dog, Madison, who became Cherry’s best friend and helped him navigate his way through the world.
Paul told BarkPost:
“Cherry is the dog he is today because of Madison.”
Cherry (lying down); his sister, Madison; and parents, Paul and Melissa.
After almost 11 years of love and loyalty to her family and showing her brother how to come into his own, Madison passed away. According to Paul:
“After Madison passed we were really nervous for Cherry. We didn’t know how he would take it so we actually started looking [for another dog] right away. However, in true Cherry fashion, he really took it in stride. He [definitely] was down for a few days but it was almost like a kid going into the world on his own for the first time. For the first time he had to make the decisions and he stepped up and ran with it. He took what Madison taught him and ran with it.
“We then started to pull back a bit. I was not ready. We went and met a few dogs but Cherry and I just didn’t connect so we thought, why force it? After a while, we started talking about it again. Cherry was going outside and looking for a playmate. He would go outside and bark at the door pleading for someone to come out and hang with him. We thought it might be time.”
Adopting a puppy, however, wasn’t always in the family’s plans.
“Being in the animal rescue world, you learn that the puppies go the quickest and the older dogs are harder to get adopted. Also, puppies are cute but they are a lot of work. We just thought we would adopt an adult dog that needed a chance. Cherry met a few [adult dogs] but he wasn’t really interested. We saw how Cherry took to Walker, who we adopted as a kitten, and started thinking maybe a puppy would be best. I was keeping an eye out and one day came across a picture of Ellie. She had this little tank look to her and I sent it to Melissa and she seemed interested so I reached out to the rescue and a few days later she came home.”
The first photo that Paul saw of Ellie.
The entire family, including Cherry, went to Ellie’s foster home to meet her to determine if she was the right fit for their family. Needless to say, Cherry and Ellie had a serious case of puppy love.
“Ellie was very engaging with everyone. She wanted to meet everyone including Cherry. Cherry really seemed to like her. He was wagging his tail and following her around. Ellie, being a puppy, was extremely excited. Cherry just seemed to love her right away.”
And in quite possibly the cutest way for a big brother to ever “claim” his little sister, Cherry did just that at Ellie’s meet and greet.
“[Novi and Rosalie] loved [Ellie] but the moment I knew she was coming home is when Ellie’s foster mom picked her up and Cherry went over and sat in front of her on the floor. He almost looked like he was guarding her. Like he claimed her and that was it.”
As Cherry’s sister, Madison, taught him how to properly be a dog, Cherry is now doing the same with his new sister, Ellie.
“Cherry is teaching Ellie doggy manners. Madison was a pro at this but now that Cherry is dealing with a puppy that doesn’t understand doggie manners, he really has been correcting her behavior. It has been fun to see him be the mentor.”
It seems as if the teaching goes both ways in this household as the student, Ellie, has been showing the teacher, Cherry, a few new things, too.
“Cherry has never been a toy guy, always a bone chewer. Ellie loves toys and before we knew it Cherry was grabbing and playing with toys. It really has helped him feel a bit younger, which was another reason we wanted another dog. Cherry is getting up there in age and we thought a younger dog would help rejuvenate him.”
Mom and dad say Ellie will make me more active…they are right! I love playing with her!
Posted by Vicktory 4 Cherry on Saturday, March 5, 2016
Not one to be left out of the family fun, Novi, Cherry’s four-year old human brother, has been doing a bit of his own work, too.
“[B]elieve it or not Novi taught [Ellie] not to jump. She would approach Novi and he would hold his hand out and say ‘[D]own Ellie, down, good Ellie’ and she caught on quickly. She is a really great puppy and we really cannot wait to see her grow up with our kids.”
Perhaps the biggest lesson about adopting Ellie that Cherry’s family wants to share is the extreme importance of making a thoughtful decision when deciding to adopt a new family member.
“[When we started looking for a dog, w]e had an idea of what we wanted. What we wanted wasn’t a fit for our situation. It wasn’t a fit for Cherry. If we went through with what we wanted, we could [have] put Cherry, our kids, and another animal in danger. We may have been in a situation where we had to surrender a dog. What we want people to know is that they need to be able to reflect on their own situations and pick a dog that will [complement] their situation. Don’t pick a dog for a look, age, or some other superficial trait. We didn’t want a puppy but that is what our situation called for so we adjusted.”
Besides being ridiculously cute and cuddly with Cherry on a daily basis, Ellie may one day be taking her capacity for love to the classroom.
Melissa, Cherry and Ellie’s mom, is a certified Behavior Analyst who works in a self-contained classroom for children with autism. Seeing how wonderful Ellie is with their children and how mature she is, especially for a puppy, Melissa is hoping to eventually be able to introduce Ellie to her students.
“[Melissa] is hoping to do some therapy work with Ellie and eventually hopes to incorporate her into her curriculum at school.”
Featured image via Vicktory 4 Cherry/Facebook