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

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

People Save Dogs, but Dogs Can Also Save People

Sharing Gala’s situation last week triggered an avalanche of reaction. Many, many suggestions for trainers, meds, herbal supplements, etc. And more than that—lots of support and encouragement, which is maybe what I needed most. Sadly, it did not trigger any adoption applications.

I want to be clear, I was not suggesting that it is time to euthanize Gala. I don’t believe she’s out of options. And I ABSOLUTELY believe she can be successful and happy in the right adoptive home. What drove my frustration and sadness is that I’m pretty certain our foster home is no longer helping her. Her anxiety is up, not down. Yes, she has improved in many areas – she is better on the leash, she is accepting of her crate, she knows commands like sit, stay, and come. She is not trying to escape our house.

In other ways, though, I feel she has peaked and is regressing. Her reactivity to people has increased, and I believe that’s a combination of her becoming attached to us (and feeling she needs to protect us), and my nervousness when she meets someone new. I always worry how she will react. Gala is an extremely sensitive dog. And Gala loves me beyond reason. This combination becomes combustible when we are in public places where her anxiety is already ramped up.

This realization is what drove me to tears. I wrote that I don’t think I can save her, but I didn’t mean that someone else couldn’t. Continue reading People Save Dogs, but Dogs Can Also Save People

What it Takes to Raise an Awesome Dog

Frankie and Buford have become bestbuds.

I know Frankie will miss Buford when he finds his forever family. And I’m sure that will be soon, because this is one awesome puppy.

He’s my sweet little shadow in the house, regularly nudging me with his big nose (think Spud McKenzie) asking gently for my attention. I traveled to Hanover with Buford for an adoption event and he slept quietly the whole drive which was hilly and long. At the event, he was calm and friendly—quite a difference from the other overly excitable puppy attending the event. They really don’t make much nicer pups than this. Somebody is going to score bigtime with this adoption.

I know having dogs and puppies coming and going may seem a bit disruptive emotionally for Frankie, but it’s my greatest hope that instead of being a negative experience for Frankie’s little heart, it’ll be a positive one. He’ll discover that there are LOTS of dogs to love and that even though I might be paying a lot of attention to the latest visitor, that dog is just that – a visitor. I’m hopeful it will make Frankie a welcoming, confident, friendly dog who is always ready to make a new friend.

Because that is exactly NOT the kind of dog Gracie is.


Upon meeting any new dog, Gracie’s assumption is Continue reading What it Takes to Raise an Awesome Dog

Buyer’s Remorse?

You know how parents tend to overreact with their first kid? How they immediately assume the worst-case scenario so that every funny bump is cancer and every new word means their child is destined to win a Pulitzer?

This is me with Frankie.

He’s actually the second puppy I’ve ever adopted, Gracie being the first. When I adopted Gracie, though, I also had three kids at home, a traveling husband, and I was co-president of the PTO. There just wasn’t time to get all worked up over her every move.

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But now I only have one kid at home and he’s bigger than me and other than stocking the refrigerator (almost daily), he needs very little from me. Which gives me plenty of time to fuss over Frankie. Continue reading Buyer’s Remorse?

Foster Fail

Ninety-five dogs later…..I’ve finally found the one.

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It’s not that I haven’t loved the ninety-four that came before him, but this guy seems to belong here. As my husband would say, “He ticks all the boxes.”

He’s a boy.

He’s got very short hair.

He’s a Catahoula (swoon).

He’s very mellow and unflappable.

He’s not gonna be huge.

He’s friendly, but not in-your-face.

He’s not a whiner. He’s happy for my attention, but doesn’t demand it.

He’s happy to play with siblings, but also happy to play with his toys.

Maybe it’s the fact that he’s grown up with five sisters, but this Continue reading Foster Fail