The era of the Lambert Girls, a.k.a. The Red Collar Club, turned the Sutphin Girls began 17 years ago. I was 32. Over the course of less than two years between 2001 and 2003, I adopted four dogs – one from Nassau, one from Maryland and two from Nairobi.

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The Lambert Girls were my life when Don and I reunited at our 20th high school reunion. (If they hadn’t liked Don, he would’ve been history.) They weren’t a very well-behaved pack, especially with strangers. I was pretty nervous having Don meet the girls and I’ll never forget what he did the day he met them. He walked into the backyard of my Maryland house and rolled right over onto his back. They instantly fell in love with him, just as I had.

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The Girls made the move with us to Albuquerque in April 2007, then made the move back east with us (us by that time was Don, me, the Girls, Whisky, seven donkeys and a goat) to Virginia in December 2013.

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Kassie and Whisky died a week apart in 2014/2015, the day after Christmas and the day after New Year’s. Enzi and Suni died three days apart in May 2016.

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Kike died Friday, July 6, 2018. Kike Kyote, Little Fart Squeaker (LFS), Hairy Hairy Kike (HHK), our African Queen, Deeker… our skittish girl. She eased the passing of the others for us. We’re positive that without Harper and Vivien, Kike wouldn’t have held on for so long.

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With the death of each of my girls went a bit of my youth. With the death of each of them went a family member who had weathered so much by my side. With the death of each went a child I loved unconditionally and who loved me in return.


I’m thankful every day for Harper and Vivien (The Blue Collar Club) and the journey we’re beginning with them. A life without dogs – impossible to imagine. ♥♥♥♥♥♥

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Getting annual jabs is exhausting.

Kike Angel

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It was 10 years ago on June 3rd that my African Queens flew from Nairobi, Kenya to their new life in America.

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Naturally, we had a party last week to celebrate their anniversary birthday.

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My beautiful girls.

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Still so polite.

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Happy Birthday, Kike Coyote. Happy Birthday, Suni Lou Who.

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Having my mom; aka Memaw, here for a visit is always a blessing because she helps us with so many things. On Saturday, she helped me give the girls and Whisky a bath.

Kassie’s favorite part of getting a bath is being dried off.

She loves being rubbed dry.

Giving Whisky a bath is a dream. He loves water, so he walks right into the tub when he’s asked… and stands quietly and calmly while he’s being washed.

Enzi and Suni share the same philosophy about baths. They do everything they can to convince themselves that, “This isn’t happening to me,” while they’re being bathed, but they love the end results.

Both Enzi and Suni always have an extra spring in their step after a nice bath.

And Kike. Sweet girl just loves to be loved, no matter where she is.

Even in the bathtub. ♥

Despite that she’s named after a cheetah in Kenya, Kike’s middle name is Kyote.

She’s very skittish around strangers and is often on alert.

She’s beautiful and we love her. 

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A while back, Cathy asked if I would share some of the story about how Kike and Suni came to America. When I came across this newsletter over the weekend, it reminded me that she had asked.

You can click on the newsletter to embiggen if you’d like.

It’s really hard for me to believe that the African Queens have now been here for almost seven years.

I was in Nairobi, Kenya when I met Kike and Suni. My business partner was the Chairperson for the Kenya SPCA, and so each time I visited, a trip to the KSPCA was in order.

It was love at first sight when I saw Kike. She was the spitting image of Enzi, who I rescued while on a business trip to the Bahamas in 2001.

When they told me that Kike had a sister, I knew that I couldn’t take Kike and leave Suni behind… exactly as was the case when I knew Fergus had picked us… I knew we couldn’t take Fergus and leave Nigel behind.

The requirements to bring a dog through U.S. Customs are: 1) a valid rabies vaccination; given at least 30 days earlier, and 2) a certificate of good health completed by a doctor of veterinary medicine. (There is no quarantine period once they arrive in America.) Because Kike and Suni had only just been vaccinated for rabies, they were not able to fly home with me from Nairobi to Washington. (I lived in Maryland at the time.) Instead, we had to wait three weeks before they could fly.

While I was very unhappy that they wouldn’t be able to fly home with me right away, the time lag actually ended up being a blessing. The wait allowed the KSPCA staff to get Kike and Suni accustomed to being in crates, which was necessary for their long flights.

The KSPCA staff was wonderful in helping with all the necessary paperwork, helping to book flights for the girls, teaching them the names that I had picked for them, working with them to get them ready for their big journey, taking them to the airport, and so on. I’ll always be grateful to those wonderful and caring people. 

Interestingly, we had the option of having Kike and Suni fly either with KLM through Amsterdam or British Airways through London. It was an easy decision to make based on the fact that had they flown with British Airways through London, they would have been in their crates for the entire 24-hour door-to-door journey. With KLM, the girls were taken out of their crates in Amsterdam, taken for a walk, and fed and watered, which I’m sure made all the difference for them.

I think I arrived at Dulles International Airport at least two hours before their flight arrived. As I watched each plane land, my anticipation grew. I couldn’t wait to see the girls in America! Naturally, those last moments felt like forever. When I finally saw them, it was a powerfully emotional moment. I was definitely in a hurry to get them out of their crates, but for safety reasons, I wasn’t allowed to take them out while we were still in customs. Who really wants a dog running down an airport runway?

Once I finished the required paperwork, I drove a short distance to one of the airport hotel parking lots. I remember feeling so happy taking them out of their crates and watching them ecstatically explore their new surroundings together. New smells! New sights! New sounds! To me, it was as if they had just been born. It was a beautiful June day and they were home.

If you’d like to learn more about the KSPCA, you can visit their website here. Interestingly, they do a tremendous amount of work with donkeys in Kenya. I vaguely remember donkeys at the KSPCA, but unfortunately the last time I was there was BD (before donkeys at Morning Bray Farm), so I didn’t give the donkeys there a second glance. You can bet that the next time I’m there, I’ll notice the donkeys. ♥