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 lake Allatoona, Casey has a zest for life.
“He’s funny; he’s entertaining,” said 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.”
She took him to dog parks, hiking, shopping and to hang out at the lake, one of Laura’s favorite activities. She even bought him 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 out on it.”
Other boaters would circle back to get another glimpse of the dog on the noodle. “One day in response I just blurted out, he’s a ‘poodle on a noodle!’” said Laura.
She had been posting photos of Casey’s adventures on her cubicle at work, and her boss suggested she create a children’s book from them. Laura was doubtful at first. But then she realized the effect Casey had on others, and thought a book could have an impact. As a cancer survivor, Laura wanted the book to bring comfort and joy to children who are in hospitals. In the book, “Poodle on a Noodle,” Casey undergoes surgery to show young patients they are not alone.
“It shows the young patients that even little poodles lose their curls,” said Laura. “[Dealing with cancer] was tough enough as an adult. I want to help children who are going through the same thing.”
The book also tells stories of Casey’s adventures — including an adorable dog birthday party and him flying a plane.
A portion of the book’s proceeds are donated to Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, and it’s Laura’s dream to raise funds to get books donated to children there. She is also working to partner with the Chattooga School of Gymnastics & Dance in Marietta, which is home to the Cobb County Special Olympics Gymnastics team, to donate locally.
After “Poodle on a Noodle” was published, Laura took Casey to events to promote it. One evening, just days before a fundraiser, Casey fell ill. He stopped drinking and had trouble walking.
Laura took him to several veterinarians and the prognosis wasn’t good. They said surgery may or may not work, and would cost thousands of dollars. A friend heard Dr. Michael Good speaking on a radio show and suggested him. The Marietta veterinarian assured the worried Laura that he would take care of Casey. He did. It took months of recovery, but in the end Casey was as good as new, and Dr. Good was interested in learning more about the “Poodle on a Noodle.”
“I was crying and thanking him and he said I could thank him by writing another book,” said Laura.
So she wrote “Poodle in a Puddle,” which tells the story of a lost dog (portrayed by Casey) and explains the importance of microchipping your pet. Dr. Good then collaborated with Laura to write an informational book for his Homeless Pet Clubs (read Dr. Good’s story here).
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.”
Where to buy the books:
All are available at www.poodleonanoodle.com.
Homeless Pet Clubs info: www.homelesspets.com or 770-971-0100. Read more HERE.
Casey’s favorite things:
HOBBY: Burying things. “I have seen him unbury bones to show off to his dog friends. He knows where all his bones are all over the neighborhood,” said Laura.
FOOD: Chicken and cheese.
TRICK to get TREATS: “Every time we come back in from outside he gets a treat, so now he will go outside just to come back in and get a treat,” Laura said about the clever little poodle.