By Stacey L. Evans | Photography by Samantha Shal
Casey is a small dog with a big personality.
Whether he’s digging up his collection of hidden bones to show off to his doggy friends, reading with children at a local library, posing for photos at an antique store or floating on a noodle in the lake, Casey has an enthusiastic zest for life.
“He’s funny; he’s entertaining,” says owner Laura Fritz, a Woodstock resident. “He’s got that poodle prance. People are drawn to him when we are at a dog park, or anywhere. Everyone stops and has to comment on him.”
The former Alabama show dog was adopted by Laura when she was recovering from breast cancer four years ago.
“When I was sick I promised myself once I got better I would get a dog,” said Laura. “I thought a dog would be a good way to make my recovery better, to make me get out and exercise.”
The black-haired poodle came to be the perfect dog for Laura, but their first week together was a ‘battle of wills,’ she said.
“When he didn’t want to listen — he would ignore me.”
But he soon adjusted, wooed by treats and adventures. Laura took him to dog parks, hiking, and shopping. She took him to hang out at the lake, one of her favorite activities. She even bought Casey a life jacket so he could ride along on her jet ski.
“When you’re hanging out on the boat, everyone has a noodle. So I figured he could raft on the noodle and be in the water with us,” she said.
It worked. “When I put him on a noodle he would stop paddling and just float. He likes it; he just relaxes and hangs on it.”
Laura began posting photos of Casey’s adventures on her cubicle at work.
“[Coworkers] actually looked forward to seeing what fun Casey had been up to over the weekend,” said Laura. “My boss told me the pictures were perfect for a children’s book. I was doubtful at first, but when I saw how many adults actually laughed out loud at Casey’s pictures I began to look for photo opportunities and take pictures as if there really were a book. Much of that summer was spent on the lake and boaters would see Casey and laugh and come back around to see the dog on a noodle. One day in response I just blurted out, he’s a “poodle on a noodle!” At this very moment the book became a reality.”
“Poodle on a Noodle” tells stories of Casey’s adventures — including an adorable dog birthday party and flying a plane. As a cancer survivor, Laura wanted the book to also have a purpose. In the book, Casey undergoes surgery to show young patients they are not alone.
“It shows [kids] that even little poodles lose their curls,” said Laura. “It was tough enough as an adult. I want to help children who are going through the same thing. We help locally whenever we can, and also donate to Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta.”
Laura can’t give enough praise to the pint-sized companion that has brought so much joy into her life.
“He’s the bravest dog I know. He got attacked and will still walk up to big dogs,” she said. “He’s my baby. It’s like the love you have for a child. You look forward to coming home. You snuggle with them when you don’t feel good. You get enjoyment when they are happy. We were destined to be together for the purpose of the book. I wouldn’t be able to do it without him … with his personality and the way he brings out a positive, feel-good feeling in people.”
Laura and Casey have another book together, “Poodle in a Puddle,” which depicts Casey as a lost puppy and touts the importance of microchipping pets. Laura also wrote “Homeless Pet Clubs,” which tells the story of veterinarian Dr. Michael Good and serves as an informational guide for the Homeless Pet Clubs organization he founded. The clubs are formed by students, schools or organizations that choose a homeless animal to sponsor — they spread the word about the pet until it is adopted, in the meanwhile saving the animal from taking the walk to ‘the sleeping room.’