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Patricia Altschul is My Spirit Animal.



If you don’t know who Patricia Altschul is, either get acquainted or we can’t be friends. Sorry. You don’t have to love her like I do but at least appreciate her for God’s sake… She deserves it. Why? Because her Charleston, South Carolina house is fabulous and that is enough for me. I don’t care if she murdered someone (which she didn’t), she will always be, as the annoying French say, “Top.”

I don’t know much about her personally but I do know that she married well… a few times. I first learned about Mrs. Altschul on my favorite reality show, Southern Charm. The show is about a bunch of over-privileged and quasi-privileged brats that live in Charleston. Mrs. Altschul is the Grande Dame of the group. Her son, Whitney, is also on the show whom I would like Grace to marry because he is the only one who has any true class… and he was educated in Paris which you know is a big plus in my book because I am a big fat snob. Whitney also produced a super cool documentary about fashion designer, Halston. But back to Patricia…

I mostly love Mrs. Altschul for her house which I know is shallow… but true. Let’s take a look.



 
Look at her house in Charleston! That salmon pink façade with those mint green shutters! To die! The house is a landmarked antebellum mansion built in the early 1850s. Mario Buatta designed the interiors.
 
 
The Drawing Room. Apple green double drawing room. Stark carpet, Lee Jofa floral upholstery, Colefax and Fowler check fabric for the French bergere chairs.
 
 
The Dining Room. Antique Zuber wallpaper, 19th century Waterford chandelier. I love the curtains but I might change the shape.  I am not a fan of the swag. Notice the sunburst over the fireplace... available on my website. Product placement!
 
 
The Morning Room. Colefax and Fowler stripped wallpaper.
 
 
The Entrance Hall. Regency mirror. Black chinoiserie cabinet. Black and ivory hand painted floors.
 
 
The Library. Cherry red. Chinoiserie fabric curtains, Brunschwig & Fils tiger stripe velvet chair, gilt 18th century mirror and that sofa fabric is to die for.
 
 
The Master Bath. The fact that the toilet is concealed in a tall chinoiserie cabinet says it all. The blue and white garden stool next to the bath is perfect and incidentally available on my shop.
 
 
The Master Bedroom. Manuel Canovas cornflower blue fabric. Be still my heart. And look at that 19th century chinoiserie étagère!

Enough about her house, let’s talk about Mrs. Altschul. To start with, every day, she has her butler bring her a gin martini calling it her “medicine.” What’s not to like about that? Mrs.  Altschul is also an etiquette expert which in my book is golden. Town & Country magazine did an article about Mrs. Altschul asking her advice on all things etiquette.

Town & Country: “What are your etiquette rules regarding social media?
Patricia Altschul: “The rule used to be "Don't put your elbows on the table," but that is the least of it now. Today, people have two iPhones on the table and maybe an iPad on the seat next to them. It has gotten out of control. I have asked people to put away their cell phones because there is nothing ruder than to sit with someone who is cutting their steak and then poking at their iPhone to look at their tweets. 
I think it is unacceptable behavior. Phones should be put away and turned off. I don't know why people's perception of what is appropriate and what isn't has gotten blurred. Social media is like an addiction and lot of people who would ordinarily be very thoughtful can just be disrespectful and thoughtless."
 
Mrs. Altschul also offers her advice on dating…
Keep the décolletage to a minimum. I think women should wear something demure on a first date. You don't want a lot of bosom showing, you don't want to wear a miniskirt. Wear something ladylike with high heels. I think you should always wear heels. And you know, I'm telling my age, but I would wear a beautifully cut simple dress with pearls. And I wouldn't try to look like the Whore of Babylon.”
 
My favorite characteristic of Mrs. Altschul is that she says it like it is. No sugar coating. Here are some of her best lines…
"I have no interest in an inferior martini."
"In my day, if you got knocked up, you went to a home for unwed mothers and your parents changed their name and moved to Missoula."
"I don't have a husband right now, so I fill up the house with butlers. You can't have too many butlers."

"Instead of impregnating 21-year-olds, you might refocus, is all I'm suggesting."
Mrs. Altschul is writing a coffee table book on entertaining and trust me, I am sure it will be an instant hit.
 
And lastly, if I ever move back to the States I am going to send a formal request to reside at Chez Altschul.
 
Tune in to Southern Charm, on Bravo, of course.

*Something you don’t know about me? Well, I did not get to attend the Christie’s auction because my husband had to go visit his 82-year-old mother in the French Alps. Why, you ask? Well, I’ll tell you why… Remember when I got sick in Provence and had to come back to Paris? Well, my husband had the grand idea to take my beloved dog, Teddy, to his mother’s house to live. In theory, this was a great idea but in actuality, it was catastrophic. Teddy, the sweetest dog on earth only wants love, kisses, hugs, cheeseburgers, and affection. My husband thought Teddy would be the perfect companion for his mother as she is a widow and lives alone on a big piece of property on the lake. Teddy would love it. However, disaster ensued. Within the first 5 minutes of Teddy being at David’s mother’s house, Teddy got a tad bit “over loving” and accidentally knocked over David’s mother breaking her 82-year-old wrist, knee cap, and hip. She has been in the hospital since March. I think she has had 4 surgeries thus far. Can you fucking believe that? David feels terrible, responsible and guilty. I agree. Just kidding. Anyway, this is why I could not go to the auction, dammit! The good news is that David’s mother gets out of the hospital today and the good news is that I can see what everything sold for at the auction online. I will report back tomorrow with all of that. I would just like to point out that I did not pitch a spoiled brat fit and reluctantly allowed David to go see his mother because I am a fucking amazing wife. Just kidding… I threw a huge fit… as expected.

50 comments:

  1. Dear Ellie,
    There is never a time that your posts do not put a smile on my face...even if at times there may also be tears. You continue to be in my thoughts and prayers every day. xo
    Jennifer in Princeton, NJ

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  2. Ok you've convinced me I'll add another Bravo show to my list of 65 to watch.

    Might say a bit about me that despite the story of poor 82 year old in the hospital I'm most thrilled for a Teddy update! Aww he was just trying to be nice. But where is he now?

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  3. Anyone that lives in the south knows of Patricia and if they don't well they better Google her :) the epitome of southern class...I hope to run into her on my travels to Charleston& hopefully get invited to her lovely home for one of her signature martinis.....sorry abt the MIL..oopsie..guess Teddy wont be going over there any time soon. ..btw i received my beautiful vase..I adore it and think of you whenever it catches my eye xoxo

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  4. Oh, no! I didn't realize the full saga of Teddy. People over 80 are not a good fit with animals. Big ones knock them over. Small ones are tripping hazards. You have my sympathy.
    I have a window on my computer dedicated to your blog, so I keep refreshing in hopes of finding out about the auction. Not for the prices, but for your take on it. I am confident you will have a witty take on it even without having attended in person, so I'll keep refreshing.
    Mme. Altschul is quite a character. A number of her quotes deserve to be in needlepoint, if not on T-shirts. I am in awe of someone who can wear a muumuu (isn't that what she has on in the dining room, and then again next to the macaron tree? And isn't a macaron tree a good idea?
    FYI, I have reread through your blog twice and you are 1000% awesome. If Grace isn't aware of it, I'll drive up to Paris and put some sense in her.

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    1. She wears caftans, which are more sophisticated than a muumuu, I think.

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    2. CAFTAN or KAFTAN is what she has on and the MUUUMUUU is from HAWAIII and looks the SAME!
      She is a pretty SPECTACULAR LADY!I Loved CHARLESTON!!!!!!!!
      XX

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  5. Wonderful post, as usual, Ellie. Can't not admire a woman who starts her day with a perfect mart8ni. Sorry you missed the auction and am looking forward to your posts on the sale. Terrible news about David's mother...I hope her recovery becomes complete. David is a good son to go to her. And lovable Teddy...I hope he has a good life whoever chooses to love him as you do. Spirits up, sweet Ellie....lots of people adore you. Sally

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  6. Ellie once again you have delighted me with your article. I am enthalled by Patricia Altschul. It may be my southern upbringing talking, but it is refreshing to see someone on television who displays dignity, morals and manners. These are sorely lacking in our society. Kudos to her for carrying it onward!

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  7. OMG - only in your life Ellie would that dog story happen. Seriously you should have your own reality show. Or perhaps someone needs to start writing the screenplay, because your life is a movie - one I'd definitely pay to see. Imagine all the drama and fabulous locations!

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  8. Patricia is definitely a kick in the pants to observe, and her house is great. Don't know what I can or should say about Whitney here, but he is certainly a product of his environment.
    Sheila in Port Townsend

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  9. OK, this woman is fabulous. What a perfect spirit animal for you. I love her Chinoiserie everything and her outlook on life. If you go stateside, I'm sure she will host you at once. I'm glad David's mum is OK. xo

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  10. I need to wear Depends when I read your posts!!! I ALWAYS love the 'something you don't know about me' segments!!!

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  11. Kinda just stumbled onto your blog by accident...so glad I did and I read this most amusing and delightful tale...may your mother-in-law continue to heal and may you be reunited with your beloved Teddy !
    Susan from NovaScotia Canada

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  12. YOU FOUND YOUR MATCH!Look you are even selling the SAME Things she has in her home............
    I need a BUTLER.......or rather a HOUSEBOY!I have some DEEP cleaning that needs to be done but I'm TOO BUSY reading BLOGS and LOOKING at pretty pictures on INSTAGRAM!!THIS LADY hit it on the SPOT SOCIAL MEDIA is the NEW DRUG or BOOZE!XOXO

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  13. Oh dear God, really? How could Teddy possibly have done this? Humm... I've been traveling and only now have caught up on the latest. Just read Heather has lett France. Where does this leave our sweet Teddy?

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  14. Ok, I get why you like her so much. The house is so pretty but the decor is just a little heavy for me. What's with the striped awnings in the living room? I expect them to unfurl electronically like they do on people's naff patios in parts of the south of France or Spain. The chinoiserie is stunnng, though, as is some of the furniture and it's clear that all of it is pedigreed. And she's really very funny, as well as being exactly right about the lack of etiquette at some dinner tables these days!
    So sorry to hear about David's mother and hope she's recovered fully. It's such a shame for Teddy, too, as I'm sure they would have loved living together.

    It's wonderful to see this post. I think of you every single day.

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  15. I'm assuming that Mrs. Altschul has a bit of ice in her blood as all good southern women are very strong ladies. Her house is a dream. And darn, she's tall, gorgeous, smart and wealthy to boot--and she loves dogs. xoxox Mary

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  16. Ooooops. I forgot to mention that Mario Buatta bedroom. I think I could spend my life there without missing a thing. Prayers for David's mother. xoxo(again) Mary

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  17. I am obsessed with Patricia too. I haven't seen any of Southern Charm this season so I need to catch up. I've been too busy wading through all these boringass Housewives episodes.
    I won't say anything about Whitney because I don't want to complicate my relationship with his mother. Except maybe that he needs to wash his hair.
    What a terrible situation with your mother in law! I am so sorry to hear that. Glad she is getting out.

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  18. So glad you are back and with all the sass.

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  19. I love the show, I love her house and the interiors. It pains me to watch Whitney (Grace deserves better). The show is very entertaining and interesting because there are a couple of charming characters in it and Whitney is not one of them.

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  20. I adore all of the color that Mrs Altschul has put in her home-so yummy. Thank you for sharing. Poor Teddy and David's mother. Glad she has healed but what has become of dear Teddy?
    Once again, you have brought taste and humor to my day-I am so thankful for you!!

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  21. Not a day goes by I don't think of Teddy and wonder where he is now. Has he been adopted? Last we heard he was sent back to the huge, loud shelter. I'm very sorry to learn what happened to your mother-in-law. Even when my dog is not with me, I'm checking to see if she is underfoot.

    So many of your followers promised to save Teddy from the shelter, and now there is silence. Promises forgotten. He deserves another good home, whether in France, U.S., U.K. or Canada.

    Now more than ever I feel Teddy deserves a second chance in a good, loving home.

    Jill

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    1. there is silence because the shelter says he has to be adopted by someone living in Provence...

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    2. Do you know if Teddy was ever adopted? I just can't stand to think of him back at the shelter. It would be so great to hear he is home with his new family.

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  22. Always love your posts and that today you are sounding like your energetic self. Sorry to hear about the plight of your mother in law, but what happened to dear Teddy?

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  23. Does Whitney have a job? Where does his skillset lie? I can't figure out what he actually does with himself.
    Sheila

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    1. One doesn't need to have a job -- in the traditional sense -- in order to live a meaningful/productive life. Just some food for thought.

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  24. So good to hear from you once again. Your posts are always missed.

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  25. Poor David's mother and poor Teddy. Awful for her after trying to help with adopting dear Teddy. Your David is such a good son and husband. Hopefully one of these days Teddy will find a happy home with a young couple or family. I did my best circulating info amongst friends (all really kind people) who live in Provence but with no luck - they mostly already have rescue or other dogs.
    Soo glad you're well enough to post pieces like this - and sorry you missed the auction.

    Love Mrs A's comments on how to dress and behave on the first date. She has a good sense of humour and a picturesque turn of speech. Not a fan of the interiors of her house though. A lavatory inside a Chinoiserie cabinet does say it all, but not in a good way.
    Having once had a fabulous butler for two years who was so brilliant and full of good advice about local people and their habits and how to deal with them, also at flower arrangement and folding table napkins et al, I can share her view that you can't have too many butlers. I cried when we left that country, house and our servants, specially the nanny and him. I still miss them all even though it was years ago. Best wishes, Pammie

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    1. "picturesque turn of speech" is now my new favorite expression. :)

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  26. Stephen Andrew wanted to adopt him! We want to help him; and supposedly the shelter won't let anyone not from the immediate neighborhood adopt him! Can anyone help get him out of that shelter??? Heather isn't there anymore; and so many of us want to help!!!

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  27. I have been trying to help rescue Teddy since I read about him on Heather's blog, Lost in Arles on April 15th....she posted Do You Want to Adopt Teddy? and had quite a few people interested in him, mostly from the States....Stephen Andrew wanted Teddy and would've given him a loving, forever home!....however, heather made another post on the 19th saying teddy couldn't be adopted sight unseen...so, arrangements were in the works to fly to france...then i read teddy couldn't be taken outside of provence...why not a provencal rescue to the USA???...dogs are rescued/flown from all over the country and sight unseen....every time we come up with a solution to a problem to help get poor teddy out of the shelter, we are hit with another 'glitch'.

    I read heather's post of her own rescue of her dog at the same shelter teddy is in....she says many animals have lived out their days at this shelter...she said when she visited an astonishing 140 dogs were in residence (plus 80 cats, a goat and several sheep)...the noise from their raucous barking was disturbing, their eyes were pleading, heart breaking. She described this moment when she met her dog: a paw was offered, eyes closed, looking for a bit of peace, to forget where he was for just a moment....now that heather is in the states teddy's chances are even slimmer of getting out of that shelter...how I wish she had brought Teddy to Stephen upon her return.

    I am so glad you haven't forgotten about sweet teddy, i love your description of him....i think about him every day....he deserves to be loved.

    ~tracy






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  28. So nice to hear from you, Ellie. Never a dull moment in your household! Glad to hear that your MIL is home. Wishing her a full and speedy recovery. Is there anyone in France that could adopt Teddy and then transfer ownership to Steven or Penelope? (Did I hear it correctly and both are interested in adopting Teddy?) Sorry you did not get to the auction, but I do look forward to your upcoming post about it. All the best, Susan

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  29. Leslie in OregonJune 11, 2016 at 7:24 PM

    Best wishes to your mother-in-law. I hope that she was recovered enough to enjoy her son's visit. Please update us on Teddy when you can. He reminds me of Henry, my long, tall Golden Retriever. We rescued Henry when he was 8 months old. Three months later, he and another puppy of similar size crashed into me with their skulls as they were running down a hill full-speed, biting each other's ears. (It was not their fault.) Fortunately, both dogs were fine, but my lower leg and ankle bones were broken in four places and it was only after the surgical placement of pins and plates and a long rehabilitation that I could walk again. In the 12.5 years since that crash, Henry has been the perfect dog, and I cherish every day with him. I would do just about anything for him (and Bob, his long-haired dachshund brother).

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  30. OMG Ellie Mrs A is my fave too! I wish she had her own show. Hope you are doing ok love you
    Kris in Seattle

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  31. Love Southern Charm! They had me at the opening theme song, “He’s got money, he’s in magazines, He’s got more honeys, than any honeybee”. "Ba Ba Doo, Ba Ba Dee". Catchy song by Mia Sable. I’m a big fan of Patricia’s home, caftans and cutting one-liners. How about the time she told Whitney his idea of opening a restaurant was “kind of pedestrian and banal” – And that she'd prefer saying he was a director-producer...which ironically she can since it was his genius idea to produce the show. OK Gracie can marry him and inherit Patricia’s art collection ;)

    *Something you don’t know about me? I’m patiently waiting for Patricia’s upcoming line of caftans. If she was sourcing fabric on her recent trip to India, it should be a good one. XO

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  32. When I read your blog title re Mrs. A being your spirit animal I snorted coffee through my nose as unfortunately I'd just taken a sip prior to clicking on your site. If anything had to be snorted as such I'm only sorry it wasn't a martini (vodka for me please). I could have stopped reading right there and had my Ellie fix for the day - so satisfying in just those words - however of course I kept reading. Dear Teddy. I bet he was a bit traumatized too. Bless his sweet, sweet heart. I'd take him if he could come to the U.S. (Washington state) Anyone coming this way? Meanwhile add my prayers to the heaps for you m-i-l, but mostly they head your way. I love you so very much and check in almost daily to see if you've written again. Bless you always, and thank you so very much for another perfect post.

    Oh - as to Whitney, I have no qualms talking about him in such a way that Mrs. A might be put off by it, as I doubt - Southern girl that I may be - that I'll have an invitation issued to visit her anytime soon. Whitney and "skill set" should not be used in the same sentence, conversation, or life picture. Just sayin'.

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    1. Well, yeah, I just thought someone might know about something Whitney had going on that they weren't really showing on t.v.
      Sheila

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  33. Ellie, your brutally honest sense of humor is similar to Patricia's - love you both! And you both have that "classy dame " vibe and sense of style.
    When I watch Southern Charm, I often forget just how old T Rav, Whitney and Shep are because they act (and look) much younger.

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  34. Can I blame you - and THANK you for totalky getting me addicted to a bunch of trashy reality tv shows. I love the Housewives franchise and have been getting all caught up on past seasons of RHOBH and RHWONY. My family thinks I need an intervention. It's fabulous! Now, i must check out this Southern Charm show. Yippee- a show possible of becoming a summer binge candidate. Thanks for the update about Teddy. Where is he now???

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  35. Patricia (Dare I call her that????) exudes class and has exquisite taste not only in her home but in the way she dresses, speaks, carries herself, and even in the way she parents Whitney. Oh, to have the "jackiesque" style! I also hope to meet her when I visit Charleston, but I haven't the past two times I have been there. Wouldn't it be great if she wrote a book on Southern style and class AND went on a book tour? I would be there in a heartbeat!

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  36. As always, a terrific piece of writing! Evokes the full spectrum of human emotions: giggles (your irreverence is THE BEST, period), sadness (I feel bad for your M-I-L and sweet Teddy boy), jealousy (the Altschul residence is indeed gorgeous), and wistfulness (related to the Altschul residence and the fact that you live in France and I want to meet you and be your friend; hah!).

    Random aside: I once heard Mario Buatta speak, and he was supposed to be discussing his then newly-published book, but basically all he wanted to discuss was his rascally dog and some horrible neighbors that were making the renovation of his country house hell. I thought it was terrific because I could listen to tales of evil neighbors and rascally dogs for hours (especially when told by M.B.), but my husband was ready to slit his wrists by the end of it. The whole thing still brings a smile to my face.

    xo

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  37. Oh how I love every word you write, every thought you have and of course your exquisite taste. That said, Patricia makes my skin crawl - butting into the lives of her "child's" friends and holding court is just creepy and bizarre. Love you, best wishes to Teddy and the MIL, but watching Southern Charm leaves me feeling like I need a bath.

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  38. I love you , Ellie.......and you make me laugh! Where is Teddy.....and why can't we adopt him in the US??

    Are you sure? Can you help?

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  39. Per Heather's blog Lost in Arles dated April 15th, "Do you want to adopt Teddy"...Teddy is in a shelter in provence called Refuge SPA des Baux de Provence...phone number 04-90-54-60-86...he is going by his previous name, Bidule...please let everyone know how he is doing as we haven't had an update since April 19th...there are so many people that care about Teddy as you do Ellie, and they are interested in adopting him internationally.....dogs are adopted from france all the time with no problem, they are issued a passport of sorts.
    ~tracy

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  40. Well anonymous above in reply to my comment, why should that result in silence? Teddy deserves a happy forever home. It is difficult to understand any shelter denying him that, let's just see if a real effort can be made by people who care not only about Teddy, but Ellie.

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  41. We all care about Ellie!!! And she cares about Teddy! Let's accomplish this!

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    1. Do you know if Teddy was ever adopted? Do you think he is still in the shelter in Provence? I just was thinking of him and wondering if you or anyone knew where he is? I would love to hear he is at home with his new family!!!

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