Home Again with a Stowaway

It has been a long time since I brought in a new foster dog. April to be exact.

(Which makes me wonder what I’ve been writing on this blog for all these months!)

There is a very special dog in my kitchen. She arrives with a story that began back in June. A story that inspired me to return to Tennessee and go on to Alabama and to now explore more ways I can change the situation.

You may recognize her face… Continue reading Home Again with a Stowaway

I Just Can’t Wait to Get on the Road Again…

I am still struggling on a daily basis to accept that Frankie is gone. To say I miss him doesn’t even begin to touch what I feel. Caring for the other dogs gets me out of bed, but moving forward? That seemed out of reach. I need to do something with my grief – so the trip that Ian and I have been planning since winter has been the perfect panacea.

I had hoped to share about this trip weeks ago, but like so much else in my life right now, it was pushed aside. We’ve shortened our originally planned trip in terms of days and distance, but it feels right to be doing this now and I’m grateful for the distraction and the chance to do something to honor Frankie.

Ian is my 17-year-old son, my youngest.

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He’s my baby, despite the fact that Continue reading I Just Can’t Wait to Get on the Road Again…

The Business of Saving Animals

I am home again after a week of visiting and volunteering in seven animal shelters in our rural south with an amazing team of volunteers.

When I try to describe the experience, I have to grapple for words. I’ve been to the shelters before; I was there while on book tour last fall. But this time, Continue reading The Business of Saving Animals

I Want to Be Hopeful

The last time I set foot in the southern shelters, I was stunned.

We wandered through the kennels, head spinning and heart-aching, helpless to do anything except offer a few bags of dog food, a box of cat litter, and a promise to share what we saw. This time… Continue reading I Want to Be Hopeful

Ready for a Road Trip!

This Sunday I will climb in a van with seven other volunteers and head south to visit six of our partner shelters in North and South Carolina.

We have three goals – Continue reading Ready for a Road Trip!

Saving Oreo’s Life

Oreo went to his first adoption event on Sunday. At a jewelry store!

Nelson Coleman Jewelers in Towson, MD featured OPH dogs in their holiday catalog. The pictures are gorgeous (and so are the dogs!). To celebrate, they hosted an adoption event on Sunday.

Oreo was pretty nervous at first—hair raised, clinging to me, but after he realized all that was expected of him was to sit calmly while people loved on him, he did great. He’s such a gentle, well-mannered giant, I forget that he hasn’t seen very much in his four years besides the rural countryside and the inside of a shelter.

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Which is what makes him so remarkable. For all he’s been through and the many, many ways that people have let him down, Continue reading Saving Oreo’s Life

Finally– a Rescue!

After a fun night and day in Nashville with my hubby in which we discovered my book at Parnassus Books (Ann Patchett’s bookstore!), visited a few honky tonks, got some much needed rest, and I bought new cowboy boots (!), we headed to Scott County, VA to visit the shelter that inspired my book.

Back in summer 2016, I was about forty foster dogs in to my rescue adventures when I attended a training seminar with OPH. We heard about how the rescue came to be, how many dogs we had collectively rescued to date (6000, I think it was), and then we heard from some special guests. Rachel and Ashley had come all the way from Scott County, Virginia. Ashley was a volunteer and foster mom and Rachel was a volunteer, foster mom, and rescue coordinator for the Scott County Humane Society.

As I’ve learned, at many rural shelters the intake is handled by animal control and the ‘shelter’, but the actual saving of dogs is done by volunteers, many times a Humane Society organization. If not for these amazing people, the dogs would just be held until their owners came and found them, or they were euthanized. Sadly, there are still rural shelters where there are no volunteer organizations like the Humane Society.

Rachel and Ashley had come to OPH’s meeting so they could tell us about the impact OPH had on Scott County. OPH began pulling dogs from Scott County in mid-2015. At that time Scott’s kill rate was well over 60%. Now, a year later their rate was just 3% thanks in large part to OPH. They just wanted all of us to know we were making a difference. It was the moment when I realized that fostering dogs was critical not only for the dog in my home, but for the people who worked in the shelters.

I was excited to go to Scott County because this time instead of just delivering donations and touring the kennels, we were going to get to spring six dogs! The van was almost empty and Nick and I Continue reading Finally– a Rescue!