• Laura Sylvester

Happy New Year!

Guest Blogger – Good Dog! Elvis and Chloe's Mom Genny


Happy New Year Good Dog! Families! Well, the Altwer Family recently celebrated our 1 year anniversary of having our boy, Elvis, in our lives. While I can’t believe it’s been a year already, I couldn’t help but think about all the changes that have happened … and also the changes that I continue to see. I apologize for the lengthy post that is about to follow, but it comes from my heart & I really wanted to share.

Chloe has always loved Elvis. But we are a tight-knit family & Elvis has always loved all of us in his own way. I could always tell that he knew, on some level, that when it came to Chloe, he had a very important job to do. Chloe, on the other hand, didn’t always understand Elvis’ role....for her. Sometimes she would treat him very much like a little brother … telling him to “go away” or “Elvis get off me!” I would think- yikes, I’m doing it wrong!!!


But my husband Marcelo and I noticed, probably right around October of last year, just before our 1 year of having Elvis at home, that Chloe had developed a deeper connection with Elvis than we had realized. She was adamant about knowing where he was at all times … She started doing “training sessions” with him on her own. She begs to ask for him to go everywhere with us (which he already was, but I didn’t think she noticed).

A few weeks ago I took him to the groomer (where Chloe has been with me many times & knows that he’s just getting a “haircut”) and Chloe asked us to “go get Elvis” probably every 10 minutes. ❤️

My point is, a year later I am still seeing the bonding process happen and grow. I never felt like we pushed Chloe into bonding with Elvis, but I sure worried A LOT if I was doing it all the right way (I know, so helpful right?) We recently went to a friends house for Christmas Day and Chloe had a BIG meltdown. She was on the floor, & I was sitting on the couch with Elvis and the leash. I told Elvis, “Go to Chloe”, which he responded by hopping up and going right over to his girl to basically give her a lick-down from head to toe (Elvis knows this is Chloe’s #1 favorite thing 🐶). Chloe went from screaming to giggles. A friend who knows us said, “Wow, I’ve never seen him in action like that!” I was so proud of our team in that moment. Because I knew that had it been Christmas 1 year earlier, we would have left that house on Christmas because of her tantrum.

These Dogs are Magic.

We had another meltdown just last week at an insanely crowded Starbucks in Lake Tahoe. It was 30 degrees outside & Chloe wanted hot chocolate-ok, fine. Proceed inside Starbucks where there are 475 people in line & we squeeze into line with my screaming 9 year old, a service dog, and my husband who is ready to loose his mind. Husband:”let’s go, NOW”. Me: “No, we can get through this” (and I wanted hot chocolate too).

A bench opened up & I mommy-forced my way through the crowd, forcing my kids to sit on it, instructing Elvis to “go-in” under the bench. Chloe screamed for what seemed like an hour but it was probably more like 5 minutes. She had her hand under the table so Elvis could lick it. I’m sure it grossed people out & they had no idea what was happening … but nobody said a word 👍🏼

We got the hot chocolate. 🎉🎉🎉Again, it’s incidents like this that bring tears to my eyes as I write this because a year ago we would have just left the Starbucks- once again feeling defeated. It’s a big, big deal.

If there are new families or families who are in-waiting, I’d like to share that our experience is one that is on-going with lots of lessons learned along the way. We feel so blessed to have our Elvis as he allows us the simple opportunities to go to normal- every- day places as a family that used to be quite difficult.

Thanks for reading, and thank you Laura Sylvester and Rick Sylvester for putting so much love into this family. 💓🐶 Thank you Chris for training our boy with so much love🙌🏼 -Dogs Rule 🤗

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