Honoring Ariel the Frenchie

Image of Ariel, a cream French bulldog wearing turquoise glass pearls, who is looking up at the viewer while smiling with her tongue out.

On Monday, June 28th, 2021, my sweet Ariel went to the Rainbow Bridge. 🌈😢 We’ll always remember her for her gentle soul, perma-grin, and big, dark, soulful eyes that sparkled with wisdom from the stories she could never tell. It’s like she had THE secret to LIFE, and she was watching us all with amusement trying to figure it out. All that was garnished with the tiniest tip of her tongue that always stuck out, as if to lovingly taunt us further.⁠⁠

She was also a tank, in both body & spirit.

If cats have 9 lives, she had 99 of them. It might make sense that someone with her difficult start as a puppy mill mama would be burdened by the trauma of abuse & loss, but with Ariel, she lived her life with an open heart. ⁠

Everyone who met her fell in love with her, enchanted by her trademark perma-grin, gentle eyes, & tank-like Buddha belly. While some dogs worked hard to gain attention from new people with jumps, Ariel was happy to sit in quiet contentment, observing the tornadic chaos around her that was often created by her two more energetic Boston siblings. It was because of her unusually zen glow that drew many to her. The more Frenchies we met at our many pop-up shops and dog meetups, the more apparent it was that Ariel’s demeanor was very special. ⁠⁠

Image of a smiling Ariel, a cream French bulldog wearing turquoise glass pearls.

She might’ve been content to let others come to her, but she also knew how to shamelessly ask for snuggles. Every morning, she woke me up with the click click click of her toes on the floor as she made her way over to my side of the bed. She would sit patiently and look up at me in silent faith that I knew she was there. This was her way of asking to come up for bedtime snuggles. This girl loved her scheduled snuggles. Also every day, around 4 o’clock pm, she asked to come up on my lap for what we came to call Daily Desk Buddy Time.

When we applied to adopt from the Chicago French Bulldog Rescue 8 years ago, we mistakenly thought we could pick the Frenchie we wanted.

But no: The CFBR prides themselves on finding the right home for every Frenchie. They do this through an extensive process that involves a thorough application, interview, vet check, and home check. After we passed the interview, they informed us that they had matched us with a Frenchie named Ariel. I initially giggled in delight at the name: Ariel was the name of my favorite Disney princess. We later learned that Ariel started off as Number 258, her number at the puppy mill from which the CFBR rescued her. After a CFBR foster family had taken her in, Number 258’s foster sister, who was a young preschooler at the time, had received the honor of naming her new Frenchie foster sibling. She chose the name Ariel… after her favorite Disney princess.

Photo collage of 8 photos, all featuring Aireen and Ariel snuggled together.
Daily Desk Buddy time. That was our special date every day at 4pm. Look at that sweet little butterball.

We are so grateful to the CFBR for deeming us worthy of being caretakers for the pure and gentle soul that was Ariel. We always told Ariel, “Thank you for choosing us.” We were truly lucky to have her for 8 of her 12 years on Earth.

She changed me in ways that will affect me forever.

Let me be clear: This isn’t my first time losing a dog. Ariel was my 4th. (Shoutouts to Alex the Boston terrier, my first dog; Max the long-haired dachshund; and Angel the Boston terrier, bridge sibling to both Max and Ariel.) Each loss was filled with its own unique grief. Part of the grieving is not just mourning the loss of life, but also the loss of what our lives were during each era. Ariel represented a carefree time when I co-owned and co-ran a lifestyle apparel brand with my husband. During that time, we hopped from event to event, bringing Ariel with us, slinging and selling our wares while our customers cuddled and cooed over the living teddy bear that was our Ariel.

Ariel was also my first rescue dog. Before Ariel, we had gotten our fur family members from breeders. But now after Ariel, if I were to open up my heart to a new furbaby, I will only support rescues.

Ariel also reminded me that life is good. Her consistently calm demeanor was an ongoing lesson in chilling out.

Ariel also helped me usher in a new era in my life: Motherhood to my first human baby.

I always joked that Ariel could teach me a lot, since she was a mother to 8 litters of puppies. (8! Litters! Puppy mills are awful.) I might’ve been joking, but she *did* teach me a lot. Since we brought home Brim Baby, all Ariel wanted to do was sit close to her. In the mornings, she insisted on bypassing the baby’s room gate to check on her young human sibling. And when I let her through, she would peek at the baby through the bars of the crib. Satisfied that her baby was okay, she settled into her guarding spot, which was either sitting with her trademark zen composure facing out as if to say, “No one gets to see my baby without my say-so,” or laying down with her chin tucked and resting atop her paws and feet tucked under her hips and what we’ve come to call her “Frenchie loaf” formation. And when Brim Baby would start crying, Ariel stayed calm through it all. She could’ve left the room to regain peace, but she didn’t. She sat with me with calm attention, watching me with her soft grin as if to say, “It’s okay, mama. You got this. We got this. I’m here.”

We hope that Ariel is now basking in the sunlight on Rainbow Bridge, with her trademark turquoise pearls, perma-grin, and gentle, sparkling eyes.

We hope that the heavenly grass she’s sitting in is gently tickling her sweet belly and that that belly is eternally full, just like our hearts. ⁠⁠
Ariel Arellano-Loftus (Sept. 4, 2008 – June 28, 2021)⁠⁠

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