Flannery, Flannery, Flannery—what will we do with Flannery?

It would be very easy to keep Flannery. I’d love to foster fail and make her a permanent part of our pack.

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Undoubtably, she fits in here just fine. Continue reading Flannery, Flannery, Flannery—what will we do with Flannery?

Finally– a Rescue!

After a fun night and day in Nashville with my hubby in which we discovered my book at Parnassus Books (Ann Patchett’s bookstore!), visited a few honky tonks, got some much needed rest, and I bought new cowboy boots (!), we headed to Scott County, VA to visit the shelter that inspired my book.

Back in summer 2016, I was about forty foster dogs in to my rescue adventures when I attended a training seminar with OPH. We heard about how the rescue came to be, how many dogs we had collectively rescued to date (6000, I think it was), and then we heard from some special guests. Rachel and Ashley had come all the way from Scott County, Virginia. Ashley was a volunteer and foster mom and Rachel was a volunteer, foster mom, and rescue coordinator for the Scott County Humane Society.

As I’ve learned, at many rural shelters the intake is handled by animal control and the ‘shelter’, but the actual saving of dogs is done by volunteers, many times a Humane Society organization. If not for these amazing people, the dogs would just be held until their owners came and found them, or they were euthanized. Sadly, there are still rural shelters where there are no volunteer organizations like the Humane Society.

Rachel and Ashley had come to OPH’s meeting so they could tell us about the impact OPH had on Scott County. OPH began pulling dogs from Scott County in mid-2015. At that time Scott’s kill rate was well over 60%. Now, a year later their rate was just 3% thanks in large part to OPH. They just wanted all of us to know we were making a difference. It was the moment when I realized that fostering dogs was critical not only for the dog in my home, but for the people who worked in the shelters.

I was excited to go to Scott County because this time instead of just delivering donations and touring the kennels, we were going to get to spring six dogs! The van was almost empty and Nick and I Continue reading Finally– a Rescue!

Homeless or Humanless?

I’ve been reading a lot of dog books lately. Partly, it’s because my upcoming book will be my first in this genre, and I want to get to know what’s already out there and the writers who publish these books. But mostly, I’ve become a bit addicted. I love reading about people’s experiences with dogs. It’s not just educational and entertaining, it’s also inspiring.

Rescuing Penny JaneIn Amy Sutherland’s book, RESCUING PENNY JANE, she writes about her experiences volunteering at a shelter, sharing a perspective I’ve never heard since I meet my dogs after they’ve left the shelter. I like to think that there are volunteers like Amy at the shelters where our dogs come from. Sutherland is a shelter volunteer, walking dogs every Friday for a local Animal Rescue League. She’s also a journalist and author, so of course, she overanalyzes and writes about her experience.

While it can be momentarily dense with information on shelter dogs, Rescuing Penny Jane is an exploration of the rescue dog world, but also Sutherland’s story of adopting a difficult rescue dog and sticking it out. She writes that she won’t be one of ‘them’, confiding that in becoming a regular at the shelter she is privy to the staff’s feelings about people who return dogs. And so, even though it strains her marriage, she sticks it out with Penny Jane, a fearful and more or less, feral dog.

Sutherland’s words remind me of my own experience with more than a few of my foster dogs. I write in this blog about the funny, the touching, the messy, and occasionally the heartbreak, but each story eventually culminates in one happy ending after another. What I rarely write about is how sometimes I reach my limit and more often sometimes my husband reaches his limit. There have been teary late-night walks waiting for a foster dog to just pee, already. There have been mornings spent on my knees scrubbing carpets and grumbling mangled curse words and masked threats (who am I going to offend? The dogs?). There have been plenty of words typed and then deleted, planned posts that never materialized, and frustrations outlined in detail for my husband even as I stroke the furry head of the offender. For a few hours, sometimes a day or two, I’m done. “Once this one is gone- no more fosters!”

So when Sutherland’s husband says, “It would be easier to return Penny Jane than to get a divorce.” I don’t laugh. I know he’s not joking.  Sutherland’s frustration and tears are familiar, and I read her story with a lump in my throat. I’ve thought so many of the same things.

There is one comment she makes relatively early in the book that struck me so much that I got up to find a pen so I could underline it. She wrote – Continue reading Homeless or Humanless?