We All Need a Sanctuary

I just dropped off Dixie for her spay surgery and 4Dx test. She stood shaking beside me on the passenger side floor for the entire drive.

46804873_10155990017632405_6961956951034953728_n

I tried to explain to her that this was for the best and that it would move her a step closer to her new life – the one that won’t include puppies or horrible people who don’t take her to the vet when she breaks her leg (or who possibly broke that leg in the first place).

If her heartworm test comes back negative, Continue reading We All Need a Sanctuary

He Deserves Better

So, I’ve made a decision. And the puppies have been very helpful in my decision-making process.

All kinds of people have been visiting, trooping into our house, sitting on a couch or floor with a puppy in their lap. For me, a solitary writer, this is a welcome break. The puppies also love it and need the socialization.

But the dogs in this house find visitors stressful. I had hoped that Oreo’s calm happy state would rub off on Frankie and Gracie, but it seems to be the reverse. As more people come to visit, Oreo is more stressed. He’s been a perfect gentleman, but it’s clear he would prefer a quieter home.

DSC_6587
photo credit: Ian Achterberg

I think if the other two didn’t react to a new car in the driveway as a potential terrorist attack, he wouldn’t raise an eyebrow. Unlike my other two, I’m pretty sure Oreo would adjust to this if I asked him too, but I don’t want to ask him to.

It’s not fair to Oreo. Which has led me to this conclusion: Continue reading He Deserves Better

My Heart and House is Full

My heart is so full this morning that tears seem to turn up on my face without warning.

Sunday night was the official ‘end’ of my tour, although there are still a bunch of events this month and I’m hoping to get more opportunities to talk about the book, its purpose, shelter dogs and how we can all make a difference. (So feel free to toss my name/contact in any direction you want!)

My last event was sponsored by an awesome person, Karen Johnson and Paws Go. She designs and sells fabulous t-shirts and gives away much of what she makes to dog-related causes. During August and September that cause was OPH.

Sunday night, Karen hosted a book signing for me at Nectar Wine & Coffee Bar in Alexandria, an adorable little spot with great VA wine selections and amazing food. Rooney came to sign along with me (thanks Lauren!).

42806488_10215363696717394_7666937852277555200_n

The generosity and kindness of so many overwhelmed me as I drove home from Nectar through the growing darkness.  Not only Continue reading My Heart and House is Full

Travel Adventures

Traveling with two puppies took me back to the days of traveling with my toddlers. We had to pack their beds, playpen, toys, food, snacks, extra jackets (it was gonna be cold), stuff to entertain them in the car, and plenty of supplies for cleaning up after them. Once the car was loaded, we buckled Buford and Frankie into the backseat and set off for Virginia to celebrate our anniversary hiking, wine-tasting, and relaxing.

The boys traveled well for the two-hour trip, cuddled together and mostly sleeping. Every time I turned around to check on them, they’d morphed into a new formation. Continue reading Travel Adventures

Two Girls Looking for Great Homes

Way back on February 17 when Darlin’ first began labor, I looked 8 weeks ahead on the calendar and thought, “These puppies will go home on Tax day, April 15.” It was solidly winter, with snow days still to come so I couldn’t imagine that day. And then as the adventure began its wild and tragic ride, it was even harder to imagine.

But come it did. It was a happy day for the adopters and I didn’t want my sadness to dampen their excitement, so I saved my tears until I was alone, clearing out the puppy pen, stacking the towels and washing the toys. In many ways it’s felt like I’ve been holding my breath for the last 8 weeks, just trying to get these puppies to this day. And they made it. They are out of my hands.

Darlin’ is either picking up on my emotions or is also missing her pups’ presence. She is more attached to me than ever, even crying (and baying!) at the door when I take Gala outside without her. She follows me from room to room and is underfoot, leaning against me, wanting my constant attention. Continue reading Two Girls Looking for Great Homes

Fostering By the Numbers

Nelson went home on Saturday morning.

DSC_7562

His story illustrates how the foster dog system works when all goes well:

  1. Nelson is selected from the dogs in a shelter in Virginia as an adoptable dog that just needs more time than a shelter has room or funds to provide. OPH pulls him and after a vet determines there is no medical treatment needed for his eye (it was an old trauma), he is neutered, tested for heartworm (he was negative), vaccinated, and microchipped. Then he waits in a local foster home until he can catch a ride north with an OPH transport.
  2. I pick Nelson from a list of dogs in need of fosters, but can’t meet the transport van, so other OPH volunteers step in to pick him up and house him for two nights until I can take him. (Thanks Karie and Evan!)
  3. Nelson arrives here and we assimilate him into our home, walk him, feed him, and get to know him.
  4. I write up a bio about him saying that yes, he is housebroken and yes, he is crate-trained, and no, he isn’t a threat to cats. I write that he’s an easy-going sort of dog who is very lovable to everyone he meets but can counter-surf despite his size. Information like this is something you can’t get when you pick a dog out at a shelter. (And not to discourage ANYONE from adopting from a shelter, I’m just pointing out that there is much good about the foster system that makes an adoption match more likely to be an informed one.)
  5. Nelson is with us for just under two weeks. He is adopted by a family who discover him via the OPH website and have already applied and been approved to adopt a dog. They bring their current dog with them to meet him at my house, adore Nelson on sight, and take him home.

Many, many foster experiences happen just like that. But a few don’t. Continue reading Fostering By the Numbers