Believing in Meant to Be

I don’t know where to begin.


I guess I’ll start with the biggest news – Continue reading Believing in Meant to Be



This is the longest we’ve gone without a foster dog since we started fostering with OPH just over three years ago.

It’s weird.

It’s made me aware of two things – 1) I spend a lot of time fostering and 2) I don’t like being without a foster dog.

I’m amazed at how much time this has freed up. I’ve had time to work with Frankie (and even a little with Gracie) on his homework for doggie school two or three times a day. We also take a two-mile walk each morning and sometimes again in the afternoon. I’ve stayed on track with my latest manuscript and even had time to cook dinner nearly every night. I even had lunch with a friend and on one balmy day recently, I took my convertible out for a drive with no destination in mind.

Of course, just because I don’t have a foster dog in residence, doesn’t mean Continue reading Fosterless

National Television Debut!

Okay, I’ve been sitting on this news for months! Literally! But now I just have to tell you. Frankie (and Buford – remember him?) are going to be on national television THIS SUNDAY as part of the pre-game show for the Puppy Bowl on Animal Planet!

It’s been a dream of mine that one of my puppies be chosen to be in the Puppy Bowl and while Frankie isn’t in the Puppy Bowl, he’s part of the pregame show. There are a bunch of other OPH puppies in the actual bowl, including Cotton who is in the starting line up. Timing and schedules prevented Frankie from making the actual game, but a few weeks after the game was taped (don’t tell – pretend you think it’s live!), Animal Planet needed a few more puppies to liven up the pregame show. Frankie, Buford, and three other OPH puppies spent a day at the studios.

Other than the insane challenging traffic, the three times Frankie barfed in the car, and the fact that there are no convenient places to stop and pee when you take the back way to the DC area to avoid the challenging traffic, it was a fun day.

The puppies were treated like celebrities and there was even an Animal Humane Certified Animal Safety Representative to monitor everything and be sure the pups were treated humanely. We lounged around in a sunny space equipped with puppy pens, puppy pads, water, treats, and toys for the puppies, and plenty of snacks and drinks for their human handlers. A steady stream of beautiful-young-people-who-work-in-television stopped by to cuddle them and take selfies while they waited for their cue to join the actors on set. Continue reading National Television Debut!

Unsung Rescue Heroes & A New Training Tool

I’d never want to be an adoption coordinator. Seems like an exhausting, frustrating, thankless job.

As the foster mom, I get all the glory for taking care of the puppy or dog in question. But the adoption coordinator is the one who has screened the applications, asked the hard questions, gone over the extensive adoption contract (for the bazillionth time), and made the final decision. Not having firsthand experience, I could be wrong, but it seems like ACs put in hours of effort for each adoption, and for a litter that is tenfold.

Puppy adopters are like new parents – they have lots of questions, good ones, silly one, odd ones, but lots. I get a few of those, but the AC for my litter gets most of them. Adopting a puppy is a big deal, as it should be, and puppy adopters can sometimes get cold feet and back out last minute, change their minds about what kind of puppy they want or get impatient with the lengthy adoption process and the hold time. Some adopters have lots of lines in the water (they’ve applied for several puppies at several different rescues or shelters). All of this means that the ACs are juggling many, many people and puppies at once and the winds change on whims.

As I said, I wouldn’t want their job, but I am VERY grateful that there are these odd people who enjoy being ACs and do a tireless job for OPH.

This litter had more than its share of switcheroos and moving targets. Deb had her hands full. Last fall when I had Edith Wharton and her darling dozen, I actually had to have two ACs because the job was so enormous. I’ve worked with probably a dozen different ACs with OPH and every time, I’m amazed at the work they do. So, I just wanted to mention them in a post—ACs, along with reference checkers, are the unsung heroes of every adoption.

[If you’re one of those people who read my posts and think—“I wish I could foster, but it would be too hard, messy, heartbreaking, etc.,” but you’d really like to help, consider being a reference checker or even an adoption coordinator for OPH. You do all the work from your home with your computer and your phone. If you’d like more information, click here.]

Okay, enough of my shameless volunteer recruitment. What happened this week in this foster house? Continue reading Unsung Rescue Heroes & A New Training Tool

Holiday Happiness: Foster Pup Version

When my children were young, Christmas was such a huge deal. Not that it isn’t a huge deal, still. It’s just a different kind of huge deal. Christmas is no longer baking cookies or endless shopping or matching jammies or teacher’s gifts or Christmas concerts.

And truth be told I only miss a few things on that list. Now, Christmas is more about all of us being in the same house at the same time paying attention to each other in the form of eating meals, playing games, sharing music, teasing, and giving, yes, still quite a few presents (but none that came from a maddening trip to Toys R Us).

We didn’t decorate the tree until Dec 23, even though the tree had been in the house for over a week. On Saturday morning, I decided I couldn’t wait any longer for decorating-the-tree to fit into everyone’s schedule. Frankie and I began decorating without them. His job was to reinforce the “Frankie zone” so I didn’t hang ornaments where he (or a loose puppy) could reach them. We’d been at it for about five minutes, when my oldest son, Brady walked throught the room on his way out and asked, “Are you decorating the tree?” Continue reading Holiday Happiness: Foster Pup Version

Who Wants a Puppy for Christmas?

A house full of teenagers returning home from war school with laundry in hand, holiday chores, high-maintenance foster-dog, an as-yet-undecorated Christmas tree, zero Christmas cookies made, gift-shopping incomplete, gift-wrapping not-yet-a-thought, book edits due, and impending relatives – what else could we pile on?

How about puppies?

Great idea.

And yet, it is.

These four little girls are absolute loves. Well mannered, happy, loving, healthy, and precious. The perfect escape from the holiday load. Once again, my mudroom is full of puppies. All is well in my world.


These puppies are the Giving Tuesday Pups. They got that name because all four have sponsors who donated at least $150 to OPH on Giving Tuesday in exchange for the naming rights of these puppies. Isn’t that cool? Doesn’t it make you want to donate $150 now so you can name a pup in my next bunch? (I can make that happen.)

These girls are three months old. They hail from my favorite rescue operation in North Carolina – Old North Canine Rescue, who took great care of them and sent them northward healthy, clean, and happy. The breed guess on this bunch is all over the place. They’re listed as terrier-beagle, but that’s really just an idea. No one knows, and they aren’t talking. Beyond that, it doesn’t matter. What they are is gorgeous puppies. That’s all any of us need to know. At between 10-15 pounds, they are not going to be huge dogs, especially the smaller two.  Let me introduce you…. Continue reading Who Wants a Puppy for Christmas?

I Don’t Think I Can Save Her

I’ve started and restarted this post again and again. I like to be positive and helpful and inspiring. I really don’t want to be a bummer on your day. But today, finding a positive note isn’t easy. And maybe that’s a message worth writing. Fostering isn’t all roses and puppy breath. It can be hard and it can be heartbreaking.

When we set off on our fostering adventure, my biggest fear was that we would get a dog that would never be adopted.

Lately, I feel as if we are living that fear. Yes, yes, I tell myself, Gala’s family will come. They always do.

But for now, for this week, it doesn’t seem evenly remotely possible.

When I write about Gala, I’ve tried to focus on the positive Continue reading I Don’t Think I Can Save Her