You Can’t Tell the Players without a Program

Meet our current (about to change) roster:

Hula, who you will remember arrived deathly thin, riddled with worms and nursing three puppies, is a new dog. She has gained weight, her coat has a nice gloss, and there are no traces of her mommy-life. She is full-on puppy and always ready to play. She is also always ready to steal socks. She pilfers them out of dirty laundry baskets and from where they hide, abandoned in a ball under the couch. Once in her possession, she challenges Frankie or Flannery to a game of tug of war.

They stretch the sock into unimaginable proportions, and then, Continue reading You Can’t Tell the Players without a Program

Returning an Adopted Dog (Flannery, Flannery, Flannery…)

All four dogs like to lounge in my office after their early morning romp in the play yard. Having four that get along so nicely is refreshing. Between that fact and the three quiet, sweet, not-quite-so-messy puppies, fostering has never been so easy.

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Flannery finished her week shut-down and emerged a different dog. When she arrived she was snappy and tense, having proven to all that she will not do well in a home with young children. That wasn’t something I expected when she was adopted a few months ago by a family with five children.

Flannery is such a busy, fun, happy pup, so I was surprised to learn that Continue reading Returning an Adopted Dog (Flannery, Flannery, Flannery…)

Have Dogs, Will Travel

Christmas week was joyous and dog-filled at our house. Frankie reveled in the presence of family and the presents under the tree. My mom gave me a sign that says it all –

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My happiest news for you is that Daisy Duke was adopted!

Before she left, though, Nick and I took her along on his birthday trip to the Shenandoah Mountains. She was a great traveler, but just about the time I said, “I don’t know why her previous adopter said she was an escape artist….” she threw in a few parting shots.

For the past three weeks she had been Velcro-ed to my side at all times and never gotten out of crate, gate, door, or window. Honestly, I had even forgotten to worry about it. Continue reading Have Dogs, Will Travel

It’s Worth All the Poop (really)

“Ah. I can’t do this anymore!” I wailed at Nick after I cleaned up puppy diarrhea coated on every square inch of the puppy pen, every toy, every fence.

“You know,” Nick observed from where he sat with Oreo watching football with a beer in his hand, “You reach this point with every litter.”

He’s right.

I know I post all the fun and cuteness and make it look like puppies are the best thing ever, but here’s the God’s-honest truth: Continue reading It’s Worth All the Poop (really)

Anger Won’t Bring Change; People Will

The range of emotions on this trip swings wildly from devastation and hopelessness to joy and gratefulness. Almost every night we’ve stayed with old friends who I rarely see, but are dear to my heart. It has been wonderful to catch up with them and they’ve also proved a delightful distraction from the reality of rescue in the rural south. There hasn’t been time in the evening to dwell on what we’ve seen during the day; there also hasn’t been time to write.

I mentioned this to Lisa and she said, “But it would be really hard to go back to a dark hotel room after what we’ve seen.” And she’s right. We’ve been blessed with wonderful hosts and hostesses all week long who’ve shared their food and homes and hearts.

I’m writing this post from my second hotel night. Lisa has flown home to PA and Nick has arrived to help. He’s taken over the driving and I’m trying to ‘be Lisa’ which is a much bigger job than I realized. She has been a wonderkund at social media – tweeting and posting and tagging.

She has been the one getting the word out, which I’ve discovered is probably the most critical part of this trip. People need to know. If they don’t, they can’t help. They need to know what the shelters need, how they can help the dogs, and the truth of what we all wish was not true. So, Nick has been doing the driving and I have been doing my best to gather the pictures and put them out for you to see.

I’m way behind on recapping out shelter visits, but really want you to get a picture of what is happening. On Wednesday Continue reading Anger Won’t Bring Change; People Will

Being (kind of) Famous

I’m still figuring out this being famous gig.

Not that I’m famous in the everyone-knows-my-name way, but famous enough to have my bad-hair picture splashed across the centerfold of the New York Post, my book mentioned in People Magazine, a live interview with the “most listened to pet talk radio show in the country” and lots of dear family and friends turning out for my book launch.

It’s exciting and overwhelming and humbling.

I don’t know how to say thank you enough, and truth be told, I feel a bit guilty. I know of SO MANY amazing people at OPH and its partner shelters who are doing so much more than me and my little foster home. But I’m grateful that I can do what I do, knowing that it’s only because of so many other people, not the least of which is my husband Nick and my three kids who have suffered through the poop and the plunder. Just this morning Grits destroyed one of Brady’s socks and Billie Jean got the other.

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Before I give you the reality of my past week, I have to say one thing – I AM NOT COMPLAINING.

I’m not.

Seriously, I’m beyond thrilled.

But while it might have looked great online, there were plenty of moments when I was well aware that I’m really not that important! The dogs helped out a bit in hammering home that point. Continue reading Being (kind of) Famous

Look For the Good

I’m a person who likes a plan. I’m not naturally inclined to waste time or wander. (Obviously, the dogs have much to teach me.)

With Gala, alas, I have no plan. The simple plan was always that we would foster her and she would get adopted. That plan, to date, is not panning out.

I’ve spent more hours running Gala’s situation through my head and heart than any dog to date. But then again Gala’s been with us much longer than any other dog. 10 months.

And Gala, like any other dog, is an individual—made up of good and bad, like all of us.

Even Frankie, who Nick and Ian are both convinced has me wrapped around his little dew claw, has a few faults. He tends to eat first, evaluate later, which I’m convinced will lead us on numerous runs to the Doggie ER in the years ahead. And occasionally, but not often, he does not come immediately when called, but he’s still a puppy, so this is only a temporary fault. (The boys also say I make excuses for Frankie.)

Most of us fixate on faults instead of redeeming features. I don’t know how to reorient myself, much less the world, to see the good before the bad. After all, the bad is what makes headlines and click-bait; it makes plots more riveting and characters more interesting. Perhaps, life wouldn’t be half as interesting if Continue reading Look For the Good