When we went to the States in January, the dogs had to stay here in Brazil. Airlines are making it almost impossible to travel with dogs these days, and we figured they could live without the stress of unnecessary international travel.

So we boarded them at the Argo Kennel in Embu Guacu, just about thirty miles from where we live. Tom and I had driven out to Argo a few months ago to check out the place, and were very impressed, both with the location (this time, not in the midst of a favela) and with the owner, Christiane, a lovely French lady who moved to Brazil as a child after World War Two.

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We had taken the dogs with us when we checked out the place, and they had instantly fallen for Christiane. I swear she’s a dog whisperer.

Argo is located out in the countryside, and Christiane and her late husband had purchased 20-some acres for their home many years ago. So, her house sits in the midst of lush green forest.

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Stand still for a moment and you’ll hear the calls of the birds, and the sounds of animals in the woods. No worries, though, since the house compound is surrounded by high fences, and the animals are very safe.

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Argo can house up to 15 dogs at a time, of any size. The smaller dogs seem to have free run of the place, which we were happy to see, since our dogs are small. Christiane has lots of help in the place, and the women we saw really seemed to love the animals in their care.

After seeing Argo and meeting Christiane, we felt pretty confident that the pups would survive, and be happy. Christiane and an employee came to get the girls the morning of the day we left, and then returned them the day after we got home. What a funny sight to see them drive off in the sedan, faces at the window, like kids going to camp.

While we were gone, Christiane sent me a couple of email messages, telling the girls were fine and happy. She even sent a few photos of the twin hoodlums and their friends so that we wouldn’t miss them too badly.

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The morning the girls came home, they were so excited! They dove out of the car to greet us, getting tangled in their leashes, and jumped all over us, telling us in dog language about their vacation.

And then the strangest thing happened. They ran back to Christiane, and then to us, and back to her, as though wanting all of us to know that we were special to them. They wanted to be with us, but they wanted to be with her (and with the gal who had driven that day, who couldn’t keep her hands off them), but they wanted to be with us.

It was quite apparent that Cricket and Sydney had not been bereft without us. We told Christiane that it was obvious that they love her, and she said she loved them as well. And, she admitted, perhaps she had let them sleep with her in our absence!

As she got in the car to drive away, the girls sat staring raptly at her, unbudging, until she was out of sight.

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There is no doubt in our minds that Argo is well worth the cost. After all, what price can you put on love? And Christiane does love dogs!