An Interview with April, Bessie, and Mom: A Canine Rags to Riches Story


April and Bessie are two very lucky pups. April was found as a pregnant stray in California, and Bessie, a sick puppy right here in Austin. They were both adopted by Vanessa and Justin, who live in Austin, TX. Vanessa first found out about Bessie through her mom – Instagram followers may know her as “grandma” – who was volunteering with Austin Pets Alive! Her mom sent Vanessa pictures of three puppies, including Bessie, who had come in underweight and separated from their momma dog way too early.

Vanessa tells Grocery Pup it simply wasn’t a good time to adopt. “I was dog sitting for two dogs that weekend, and we had company coming into town the next so we decided not to adopt at that point,” Vanessa said. “But, I called Justin from work two days later because I couldn’t stop thinking about Bessie. We decided over the phone to go for it!”

Vanessa picked her up that same night. Bessie was not the healthiest of puppies. It took a long time and several trips to the vet to get healthy. “But now she is the most perfect dog!” Vanessa said. “We love her spirit and how sweet she is to all people and animals.”

IMG_0820                                                   April pictured here

April was added to the family later. Vanessa was convinced that Bessie needed a friend and she had been following April’s foster mom – who lived all the way out in California – on Instagram (@noelaniig).

“I had followed April’s story closely for months and was convinced she would be the perfect fit for our family. Of course a lot of other people were too,” Vanessa said. “I applied for one of April’s puppies, knowing I really wanted April.”

As it often goes with pregnant momma dogs, the puppies were adopted out before April. “I applied for April the minute she went up for adoption,” Vanessa said. “A week passed before I received the text. I was in a restaurant with my mom and fell out of my chair when they told us April would be ours.”

“My mom and I rented a car and drove out to California to bring her home,” Vanessa continued. “We fell in love with her immediately when we got to Fresno, put her in the car and headed right back to Texas.”

April and Bessie fell in love immediately too. It took a little while for April to come out of her shell, but within just a few weeks her full personality came out. “She was really meant to be part of our family!” Vanessa said.

image1                                                                Bessie pictured here

Grocery Pup visited with April and Bessie – and mom Vanessa – recently to find out about their favorite foods, living in Austin, and what they want for Christmas.

Grocery Pup: Why is it important to you to feed April and Bessie a high-quality doggie diet?

Vanessa: “April and Bessie are our kids. We like to eat well in our house to feel great and be healthy, so I treat April and Bessie the same. Bessie was so sick as a puppy when we rescued her. We fed her the best food possible to get her well. Months of me in the kitchen making rice and shredding up chicken, and tons of supplements. All of our hard work to get her well paid off, and now she is a very healthy, happy dog! Honestly, I hope they live forever, and I think quality food helps with that.”

Grocery Pup: How did you hear about Grocery Pup? 

Vanessa: “We had seen Grocery Pup at the downtown farmers’ market. Ruth (Grocery Pup founder) reached out to us to try it right before Bessie’s birthday, and we were happy to. It made a perfect birthday treat, and now the dogs are hooked. When we brought a few bags home the other day, Bessie jumped right up on the kitchen counter to get to it!”

Grocery Pup: Grocery Pup is an Austin-born business. Is that important to you?

Vanessa: “Yes! I’ve noticed so many of the things we eat and drink are locally made since we moved here. One of the best things about Austin is the entrepreneurial spirit, and I want to support that. I work for the Downtown Austin Alliance and every day I hear how important it is to people to keep our local, home-grown businesses. I love our local pet store, Tomlinson’s Feed, and buy as much as I can from there. My goal for the holiday season and beyond is to buy as much as I can locally.”

Grocery Pup: For Bessie: What’s your favorite Grocery Pup flavor?

Bessie: “I will eat literally anything mommy gives me! I like that there are options with Grocery Pup so I don’t get bored of the same flavor. Mom adds variety with a few different things, including different Grocery Pup flavors, shredded chicken, bone broth, cucumber, organic pumpkin or sweet potato puree. Daddy says we get fed better than the people in the house! I don’t see a problem with that.”

Grocery Pup: For April: What’s your favorite part of being a local celebrity?

April: “I used to be a stray and now I have the best life ever! My favorite thing is that we can bring awareness to other dogs like me who are in shelters and will make great, loving pets in the right home!”

Grocery Pup: For both: What’s your Christmas wish this year?

April: “A new dog bed so I don’t have to share with my sissy!”

Bessie: “More Grocery Pup!”


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