Frankie Goes to School

Frankie’s going to school!


After searching high and low, I finally settled on a dog-training school that seemed to offer the most options, a solid reputation, and a reasonable price.

Before we could sign up for classes, we first had to attend a free orientation. This seemed like a great idea because of 1) Free! And 2) a chance to see how Frankie would react to the other students and 3) an opportunity to meet the trainers before shelling out any bucks.

Everything was looking stellar until Continue reading Frankie Goes to School


Open Letter to My Pitbull-Owning Neighbor

Monday morning Gala and I set off on a run, well, with my sore hamstring more a runnish.


We’d gone about a mile and ¼ when we came to a lone farm house that sits nearly on the road. Most of the old farmhouses in Pennsylvania do, since the roads are really paved cow paths and mail routes.

A young brown dog with a friendly face lives at this house chained in the side yard on a wire that allows him to nearly meet the road. On the days when he is outside early, he charges down the hill at us until the chain hangs him and his feet are yanked into a skidding stop. He barks ferociously, but his tail is usually wagging.

One time he was loose, about a year ago, he was still mostly a puppy. It was a rare day when I was running dogless. He leapt at me, nipping at my elbows, desperately wanting attention. I tried to pet him, but he dove at my face, most likely in the hopes of licking it. I continued on and he followed for a dozen yards or so before a voice from the porch called him back.

The dog is fullgrown now. A pitbull/bulldog mix of some sort – broad and squat and muscled with an enormous head. His regular charge always makes Gala nervous and she’ll bark back at him a time or two before pulling hard to get away from the house and his noise as we run past.

Monday, I heard the dog but didn’t see him as we approached the house. Odd, I thought, since by now he would usually be halfway down the short slope after us. We were nearly to the house when he came charging across the grass; a few inches of broken chain hung from his collar. I pulled Gala to the opposite side of the road, but he ran across the road after us, lunging at her. I yelled, she returned fire and he backed off, only to come at us again and again and again. Continue reading Open Letter to My Pitbull-Owning Neighbor

My One and Only Amstaff


I read the labels below the puppies in the puppy bowl bios and asked, “What’s an Amstaff?”

I thought maybe this was some new designer breed I’d never heard of, when in fact, my very own Amstaff was lying beside me. Or rather, at that particular moment, careening around Nancy’s living room.

Frankie, Nick, and I watched the Puppy Bowl on Sunday with Nancy and Matt, who adopted Edith Wharton. While we sampled some excellent beers, Edith and Frankie wrestled and played with abandon. Frankie was thrilled to discover the huge cache of toys Edith had – many with squeakers intact! (There are very few of those at our house, as Gala considers it her job to keep the squeakers silent.)

We arrived just in the nick of time to see Frankie and Buford on the television. Unbeknownst to me, the pregame show started earlier than three, and Frankie and Buford turned up larger than lifesize around 2:40. (I apologize to any of you who had hoped to catch it. You can see it here. Forward to minute 30 and then wait through a batch of forced-commercials and you’ll see their segment.)

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The game was fun to watch, but what was more fun was watching Frankie watch the game: Continue reading My One and Only Amstaff

Record Breaking Dog

Gala has broken the record.

Longest foster dog we’ve ever had.

At nearly five months here, Gala easily surpassed  Whoopi, Ginger, and Carla,  our other longest fosters.

She’s also the dog with fewest applications. (Currently that would be zero applications.)


In the past five months, she’s only had four interested potential adopters. All changed their minds. None ever met her in person. Continue reading Record Breaking Dog

The Other Foster Dog

So, you may have noticed that I haven’t written very much about my other foster dog. Vera Bradley has been with us for a month now, and in that time her presence has been eclipsed by puppies leaving, Estelle leaving, and then Darlin’ giving birth. That’s my official excuse.

My unofficial excuse for not mentioning Vera often is that my family is in love with her. All of them.

Well, except the cats.

The cats are beyond terrified of her. One has even taken to living up the hill with the barn cat. There is good reason for this fear. I have little doubt that Vera would (best case) run them out of town or (worst case) shred them into little bitty pieces, if given the opportunity.

In fact, it is this very threat to the cats that keeps my family from kicking me out and keeping Vera instead.

And Vera, for her part, loves them. Every one of them. Even Gracie…. Continue reading The Other Foster Dog

Getting Serious About Dog Rescue

Are you as afraid as I am to turn on the news? I feel obligated, but at the same time a heart can only take so much. This past weekend I finally heard some GREAT news. I was privileged to attend OPH’s seminar for volunteers. I learned even more about this fabulous organization I’m a part of and left feeling motivated to do more.

The highlight for me was a presentation from two women from one of the shelters that OPH partners with in south western Virginia. I went to school in southside Virginia a million years ago, so I remember that part of the country as rural, blue-collar (when there are jobs) with field after field of tobacco. I worked at a pub in Danville where I served mill workers who called me “Yankee Girl” and never missed an opportunity to remind me that Danville was the last confederate capital of the south!

Rachel and Ashley traveled north this past weekend to share with OPH the impact our organization has had on their shelter in Scott County, VA. I couldn’t hold back tears as I listened to the statistics they shared. I think it was the best news I’ve heard all summer, actually all year, and it renewed my desire to help more dogs and my admiration for the people who work so hard to save them.

OPH began partnering with the Scott County Human Society shelter in mid 2015. Take a look at the impact we are having on this one shelter- Continue reading Getting Serious About Dog Rescue

Whoopi Finds Her Family (and Ginger Claims Ours)

DSC_4109Whoop! Whoop! Whoopi found her forever family!

She left early Sunday morning for the 6 1/2 hour drive to her new home in Rhode Island!

We’re already hearing how well she is fitting in and how much she is loved! She has a big fenced yard near the seashore, two kids of her very own, and two fursiblings (weiner dogs! Can you imagine the trio they make?). It’s a great story that makes my heart very happy. Continue reading Whoopi Finds Her Family (and Ginger Claims Ours)