Diary of a Rescue Week Two

All along this journey, I have been buoyed by an outpouring of support online and by friends who have come by and brought food and company or emailed to ask what they can do. I even got a lovely gift from Arkansas!

As we lost the puppies last week, people kept saying, “I could never do that,” but somehow, I think you could and more than that, I could never do it without the support of family and friends.

If last week taught me anything, it’s that I am stronger than I know. All during that long, long night when Daisy’s labor began and it became clear that it was too soon for puppies to be born Continue reading Diary of a Rescue Week Two

Happy Christmas!

I had all kinds of good intentions for a moving and thoughtful blog post today, which included writing it yesterday and scheduling it to appear this morning while I was busy gobbling up time with my precious babes and my dear parents. But now it’s after 1pm on Christmas Day and I’m finally sitting down to write.

First off, I know that not all of you celebrate Christmas and I want to be sure you know this is not me foisting my holiday on you. However, when I started to title it Happy Holidays, that seemed contrived because today is Christmas and I’m writing this while Christmas carols blast in my living room, my parents dig into the books they unwrapped a few hours ago, and all three kids are happily ensconced in getting to know their newest belongings. My belly is full of egg casserole and monkey bread, two things I eat only one day a year. Nick is puttering around, ripping new CDs and charging batteries. Frankie is prowling the premises looking for unattended ribbons (for some reason none of us know, he loves to shred ribbons), Gracie is hunkered down in her crate guarding the beef jerky stick she got from Santa, and Daisy is curled up savoring my dad’s affection.

So, you see, there’s no denying what today is.

What’s more, for me at least, Christmas is about love and generosity and peace and hope; and those are all gifts desperately needed in our world and our homes. So…….after much struggle and more than a few bribes……..

Happy Christmas from me and all the critters currently filling our ark:

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Much love and many blessings for a wonderful new year!


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.

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

Should He Stay or Should He Go Now?

It’s hard to write about the dogs when I’m not with the dogs, but I’ll try. I’m actually in a California hotel room recovering from my brief brush with Hollywood. If you’d like to read about that adventure, you can find it on my other blog, My Life In Paragraphs.


The drama continues with Oreo. Continue reading Should He Stay or Should He Go Now?

AGD on the Road: Stories, Faces, Heartbreak and Hope

Where to begin. My heart is so full and my body is exhausted and my soul is simply worn-through.

And we’re only on day three of this tour.

Can’t promise that this post will make complete sense as I’m writing this from the Comfort Inn in Lumberton, NC in an exhausted state with a thousand images and a million thoughts swirling through my mind.

Here’s the cliff notes of this week in my foster world:

Friday, right after I finished packing the van (a feat that took the entire day), Grits’ family came to meet him. Frankie (and I) will miss him, but he’s headed for a great life with his new family who were thrilled to take him home.


My dear friend, Lisa and I took off on Saturday morning in a cargo van crammed to the ceiling with donations that included over a thousand pounds of dog kibble and over a thousand cans of dog food, plus cat food, cat litter, bleach, sheets, towels, blankets, cleaning supplies, collars, leashes, toys, and treats.

The generosity of my dog-hearted community is overwhelming. I have over a thousand dollars in donations and Amazon cards to buy supplies to send directly to the shelters. Because I’m visiting 8 shelters, in addition to a foster-based rescue OPH partners with, I’m waiting until I’ve seen it all to distribute those donations.

Over the weekend, we attended two book events where we hung out with adoptable dogs and OPH volunteers. On National Dog Day at the Barnes & Noble in Richmond, Homeboy came to sign books with me. It was such a treat to see her and she spent the entire event sleeping at my feet between signings. Her wonderful mama, Jennifer, was so gracious to drive her to Richmond and hang out for two hours while Homeboy (now Nahla) helped me sell books!

I met Scrooge, a very special sweet senior beagle who has been in foster care with OPH since March. He has a sponsor so that his adoption fee is only $50, plus his adopters will get $700 in reimbursement for medical care since he’s an older dog with old dog issues. I loved sharing treats with him and pray that someone special out there decides to take him home and give him the life he deserves.


Billie Jean was adopted on Sunday. Nick had to handle the adoption since I was out of town on this trip. It hurts a bit that I didn’t get to tell her good-bye or meet her new family, but when I think about it in relation to all that I saw today, it seems minor. Still, we were so bonded that I worry that she is sad now and hope her adopters are patient with her as she makes the transition. What a special pup she is – I know someday soon I’ll be hearing about her happy new life.


On Monday the hard part started. We visited Lenoir County SPCA where we met Continue reading AGD on the Road: Stories, Faces, Heartbreak and Hope

Another Good Dog – Book Review

I am traveling in California this week and the only dogs I’m encountering are the ones I pass on the street who are lucky and loved. When I get back home, we will be in the countdown for the publication of Another Good Dog: One Family and Fifty Foster Dogs. I can’t tell you how excited I am for this book to hit the shelves – this book is more than just a book to me, it’s a mission. It’s an invitation to the reader to not just be a gawker of our fostering lives, but to join us by opening their own hearts and homes to fostering rescue dogs.

The following post is a review from a writer whose wisdom, compassion, honesty, and sense of humor brighten my days through her near daily posts. I’m honored that she read my book during an especially difficult time in her own life and – true to form – was generous with her time and talent. Enjoy friends! I’ll be back next week with (hopefully) news of three adoptions!


I'm a Writer, Yes, I Am!

I have always loved dogs. As a little girl, I put my stuffed poodle toy under my pillow at night for the poodle fairy to come and replace it with a real poodle. It wasn’t until I was thirty-five that I finally got to have a real live dog of my own. Since then I’ve had more than twenty-five dogs, hiking pals and teachers, all of them over fifty pounds and all of them rescues. If anyone were to write the story of my life, it would really be the story of my dogs. Naturally, I was eager to read Cara Sue Achterberg’s book about her experiences with her first fifty foster dogs, Another Good Dog. 

This is a book, first and foremost, for someone who likes dogs. While it definitely advocates for rescuing dogs if at all possible (and, regrettably, it is. not always possible), it is…

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I Believe

Honored to get a mention here from a blogger I so very much admire. She is a wise woman once again sharing her wisdom and warmth with the rest of us. There are many times I read Ann’s blog posts and think, “Amen.” So, once again, Amen, Ann.

Muddling Through My Middle Age

When Cara Sue Achterberg over at  anothergooddog.wordpress.com  asked me to review her book Another Good Dog, I was a little hesitant.  The book is about how she became a temporary foster for a rescue group that pulls dogs out of overcrowded shelters (usually in the South) and places them in foster homes until they can be adopted.  I volunteer at a large, open-admission animal shelter, and I know that sometimes people involved in this sort of rescue have nothing good to say about animal shelters.  I didn’t want to write a review for a book that badmouthed the animal shelter workers and volunteers that I have come to respect and admire.

Turns out, I had nothing to worry about.  Another Good Dog is an interesting and well-written account of the joys and challenges of fostering rescue dogs, and Cara never once trash talked animal shelters or the people…

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