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

My Dog Year

I’m a big fan of new year resolutions and reflections. In these long, dark, cold days I do a lot of pondering and journaling and assessing and dreaming.

When it comes to my dog world, 2017 was not an easy one. It began with the miracle and magic of Fruitcake.

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Helping that pup to walk was an amazing experience, and it prepared me for the bigger task of saving Darlin’s babies. The heartbreak of that experience was only softened by the community that emerged around us, giving their time and efforts to help those pups survive and then thrive. It was a hard, rich, exhausting time. Every time I hear from Darlin’s or her three surviving pup’s adopters, it never fails to bring tears to my eyes and a lump to my throat.

Gala came to us not long after that and she has colored our lives ever since.

My heart ping-pongs back and forth in regards to Gala. She is not easy, but she is so amazing. Her devotion knows no bounds, but it can be all-consuming. I love that dog, but she cannot be my dog. I had a conversation this week with a trainer who offered Continue reading My Dog Year

Home, Sweet Home

After a long weekend of driving in the rain and being on my feet talking to strangers (and trying to be charming), it has been nice to be surrounded by dogs once again. They’re very honest about what they want from me – food, squeaky toys, and my undivided attention and affection.

Buford (Bronson) basically doubles Frankie. Same size. Same energy. Same happy-happy. Same need for love and attention.

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They spend their days wearing each other out with their playing (which was the secondary reason for fostering Buford, beyond saving a life). They vie for attention, constantly one-upping each other much like real boys. Sometimes their exchanges disintegrate into modified brawls. And sometimes they end when Gala has heard enough and barks at them. Her loud voice sends them both running for cover.

Here’s a typical scene: Continue reading Home, Sweet Home

Runaway Gala (& The Pepper Puppers)

This time I really thought I’d seen the last of Gala.

That was my thought, anyway, as I watched her disappear through the woods in pursuit of a herd of deer. She was headed in the general direction of Maryland, and I was pretty sure she would make it.

We were about a mile and a half away from home on our regular run when the deer appeared. Gala did what she usually does – leapt in the air after them.

Because we run with the Easy Walk harness, this usually means that as she reaches the end of her lead, the harness forces her to do a lovely pirouette in midair and land facing me again.

This is the point where I say, “Leave it,” in my firm, take-no-prisoners voice, and then she does not leave it. Most days it takes three or four pirouettes and reminders before she gives up and simply prances for a quarter mile or so.

On Friday, she had done about four pirouettes, when she went airborne for a fifth. This time, though, Continue reading Runaway Gala (& The Pepper Puppers)