When Three is Really Nine It’s Good to have a Solid Marriage

The email said, “Jen just posted a momma and 3 pups on Facebook.”

Mindy knew I was jonesing for some puppies, so I appreciated the heads up. I checked the page and there was a picture of a momma and there were five pictures of individual puppies. I examined them and decided that some of the pictures were just different angles of the same pups.

And the pups were adorable- only two weeks old, their eyes barely open. Like human newborns, unless they’re yours they all do look kind of alike.

And mom even looked a little like Lily.


I’ll take ‘em, I said. Yay puppies for Easter!

I went for a bike ride with hubby and broke the news. Continue reading When Three is Really Nine It’s Good to have a Solid Marriage

BLM (Black Lab Mix)- the Catchall Breed of Rescue Dogs


And the dog wheel goes round and round. The only thing consistent is the color of all these dogs – black.

When I turned up at the OPH event in York this past Sunday, it seemed like a bit of a racist event – all black dogs. Well, to be honest, there were a couple brown dogs and even one tiny white (and black!) dog named (appropriately) Sylvester, but they were all on the smaller size, so they were eclipsed by sheer size and number of big, black dogs.

If OPH has a trademark dog is must be “black lab mix.” BLMs are prevalent in the site’s listings on most days. Nothing wrong with a BLM, mind you, I’m just a hound girl myself.

Bernie landed in a stellar forever home on Sunday. She’s got an adorable, like-sized fursister to hang with and two of her very own children! Her new family was super nice and they seemed like a perfect fit. They sent me pictures later in the day that clearly showed Bernie (now Zora) is making herself right at home. Happy for Bern!

With Bernie’s departure, we welcomed our fourth BLM of 2016 on Sunday. Catalina is a skinny (seriously skinny), leggy, long-nosed girl who resembles a German shepherd in her size/shape/nose length, but has the short black coat of a lab. She’s spent the last week in a local boarding facility as there was no room in the foster inn.

When I met Catalina, she was nervously guarding her own personal space at the event – happy to meet people, but snarling at dogs that crowded her. Perhaps a week in boarding, after a month or two in a shelter, had made her a little defensive and suspicious. Being shuffled like a number and lodged with other nervous strangers in noisy unfamiliar quarters would make me touchy, too, so I tried not to judge. Just took her leash and carted her quaking self home. Continue reading BLM (Black Lab Mix)- the Catchall Breed of Rescue Dogs

There’s Always Another Good Dog

Fostering has so much become our way of life that all my kids (and most of their friends) always close the baby gate behind them when they leave the kitchen, even when there’s no dog about. They are careful when they exit/enter the house, looking all around them like soldiers averting land mines. No one wants to chase a foster dog up the hill.


Visitors don’t bat an eye at the keys hanging out of the front door lock (on the outside) because they know that some of our fosters (Meredith, Tennessee, John Coffey, and Frank) know how to work a lever handle door. Even if you’re only going for a piece of wood for the fire or to throw some scraps to the chickens, LOCK the door behind you.

The stacks of towels, bags of food, and random collars that litter the landscape of our house don’t look so out of place to me anymore. I just dust around them (if I were to dust).

Best of all, there’s no need to explain the random crates, assorted dogs, or that funny smell to anyone who stops by because they know all about my dog habit.

Meredith took off for her forever home on Monday after being a ROCK STAR at the Hanover OPH event. She was a much different dog than the frightened little girl who hid behind me on her first visit to the pet store. Continue reading There’s Always Another Good Dog

Ch-ch-ch-changes…a foster dog’s life is full of them

I’ve moved more times than I care to remember in this life. And I know that each time I relocated, there was an adjustment period. Unloading boxes and setting up utilities and discovering the idiosyncrasies of each new house and neighborhood was stressful in many ways – both good and bad. It always took at least a week or two before I really felt like I had my feet on the ground and could begin my new life.

I’ve learned that my foster dogs go through even more stress when they move in with me. And it’s not just the flying nerf darts, grumpy Gracie, or the swatting and suspicious cats. I know the dog I bring home from transport will not be the same dog I hug goodbye after a few weeks.

I wrote last week about Meredith’s miraculous transformation and it was that, but she continues to transform. As she has gained confidence, her energy level only increases. It’s dangerous to update your foster dog’s information on the public website right away because like a guest who has just arrived, the dogs are many times just being polite. They don’t know you well enough yet to let down their guard.


On Meredith’s page, I wrote “excellent leash manners” because she seemed to have those. She trotted carefully next to me, always glancing up to see if I needed anything. But a week later, Meredith has settled in and realized that nerf darts don’t hurt, Gracie is all bluster, and the cats don’t really mean it. Now she lunges out in in front of me, straining against the leash in her excitement to head off for a hike in the woods or around the pasture. Because she is only 30 pounds or so, this isn’t necessarily dangerous (unless it’s barely light out and you’re wearing slippers and headed downhill on frost-covered grass when one of the cats taunts her by casually appearing just out of reach). Her leash manners need some work. I deleted any mention about leash manners on her OPH page.

At press time, Meredith is still a little on the shy side with new people, but I’m fairly certain that will change. When new people reach for her, she backs away and ducks her head. Yesterday when we popped in to the OPH event at the pet store, she cowered behind me at first, but after store workers, OPH volunteers, and potential adopters began offering her treats, I could see a light go on – Ah! People=treats! She began greeting everyone who entered the store wondering if they, too, came to bring her treats. I have no doubt that the overly enthusiastic love that Meredith showers on me will soon be offered to all people.

Here’s a picture of her hanging out with my little brother and his wife last evening. She’s learning that people won’t hurt her and many of them have treats in their pockets. Continue reading Ch-ch-ch-changes…a foster dog’s life is full of them

Once Upon a Puppy

Early last June, while sipping too many rum drinks on the ferry between Cape Henlopen and Cape May, I checked my email and saw a plea from OPH. They were looking for someone to take four adorable puppies from the same litter. Oh my! how cute, I thought. I want them!

When I came home from vacation, I learned there were actually two more puppies from that litter that needed foster care. What’s two more? I thought (although this time I wasn’t even tipsy, so I should have known better).

Well, those puppies were SO BEYOND CUTE that now all I want is puppies, puppies, puppies. They were my entry drug. And even the mess and the noise and work had no deterring effect. Seriously hooked. See?


All six were adopted pretty quickly, although there was a humorous (and embarrassing) hiccup in Homeboy/girl’s adoption.

Have you been wondering what happened to them? Me, too. I do hear from a few of them occasionally with pictures which I pore over and news which always makes me smile. So, for this post I emailed all of the adopters and asked for updates. I heard back from five of them! Continue reading Once Upon a Puppy

A Puppy and a Puppy-sized Dog

Big weekend here. Four out of five puppies took off for their forever homes.

It was fun to see the happy faces – especially the kids. Puppy adopters are my favorite people because they are always bubbling over with excitement. I mean, who isn’t over-the-moon happy to be taking home an adorable puppy? I’m sure some of that happy might wear off after a few days of cleaning up poo on the carpet, but for that 30 minutes or so when they are here meeting their puppy and signing the papers and taking pictures, they are THE happiest. And that’s fun to see.

Makes me smile now just thinking about it. I loved watching Sneezewort (now Cooper) jumping all over his new boys and Snap Dragon (now Rocky) giving his new mom a face bath. The grins on the faces of Foxglove’s (now Teddy) new mommy and daddy practically split their faces and seeing the dreams come true for one teenager when she snuggled Begonia (now Calypso) simply made my day.



(I picked a really sad face pic for this just so you’d say, “awe…..”)

And that leaves Pigweed alone. It was a long, tough night for that little girl. We’ve learned she can bay like a hound when she is VERY sad. She goes home to her VERY excited forever family on Friday. This morning Ian said, “Next time we do puppies, can you make sure they ALL go home on the same day.”

Yuppers. That would be ideal.


I had tried to head off this predicament by claiming a very small foster dog. Chuggy Alabaster (and who can resist a name like that?) arrived on Saturday afternoon. He’s a pug/Chihuahua cross and weighs a little less than Pigweed, my smallest puppy.  He’s got a smashed in, turn up nose which is a perfect combo of the two breeds, plus a mini-Superman build – svelte waist and broad chest. He’s about a year old and has lots of small dog energy. The perfect playmate, right? Continue reading A Puppy and a Puppy-sized Dog

Carpe Diem Because There’s No Such Thing as a Perfect Puppy

DSC_1959Never a dull moment. That’s what I can say about fostering. Especially puppies.

Two of my puppies have been playing musical chairs in terms of adopters the entire time I’ve had them. First they have an adopter, then they don’t. I’m always extra nice to the currently unadopted puppy- as if they know it – more snuggles, extra treats.

There’s been one puppy available for adoption pretty much the entire time I’ve had the bunch, but which puppy it is has changed too many times to count. First it was Begonia, then Snap Dragon, then Pigweed, then back to Snap Dragon, and now we’re back to Pigweed. But Pigweed may be available just a wee bit longer. She’s going to need a special adopter.

Let me back up. Continue reading Carpe Diem Because There’s No Such Thing as a Perfect Puppy