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


A New Normal in this Foster Home

Our house is very quiet sans Gala.

Not that she was necessarily a noisy dog. Without her, though, the energy level has dropped.

Or maybe it’s the unrelenting gray, rainy weather.

Or maybe it’s because Frankie is out of sorts ever since his neuter and dew claw removal on Tuesday.


Or maybe it’s just me, missing Gala.

There is no need to Continue reading A New Normal in this Foster Home

National Television Debut!

Okay, I’ve been sitting on this news for months! Literally! But now I just have to tell you. Frankie (and Buford – remember him?) are going to be on national television THIS SUNDAY as part of the pre-game show for the Puppy Bowl on Animal Planet!

It’s been a dream of mine that one of my puppies be chosen to be in the Puppy Bowl and while Frankie isn’t in the Puppy Bowl, he’s part of the pregame show. There are a bunch of other OPH puppies in the actual bowl, including Cotton who is in the starting line up. Timing and schedules prevented Frankie from making the actual game, but a few weeks after the game was taped (don’t tell – pretend you think it’s live!), Animal Planet needed a few more puppies to liven up the pregame show. Frankie, Buford, and three other OPH puppies spent a day at the studios.

Other than the insane challenging traffic, the three times Frankie barfed in the car, and the fact that there are no convenient places to stop and pee when you take the back way to the DC area to avoid the challenging traffic, it was a fun day.

The puppies were treated like celebrities and there was even an Animal Humane Certified Animal Safety Representative to monitor everything and be sure the pups were treated humanely. We lounged around in a sunny space equipped with puppy pens, puppy pads, water, treats, and toys for the puppies, and plenty of snacks and drinks for their human handlers. A steady stream of beautiful-young-people-who-work-in-television stopped by to cuddle them and take selfies while they waited for their cue to join the actors on set. Continue reading National Television Debut!

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

Who Wants a Puppy for Christmas?

A house full of teenagers returning home from war school with laundry in hand, holiday chores, high-maintenance foster-dog, an as-yet-undecorated Christmas tree, zero Christmas cookies made, gift-shopping incomplete, gift-wrapping not-yet-a-thought, book edits due, and impending relatives – what else could we pile on?

How about puppies?

Great idea.

And yet, it is.

These four little girls are absolute loves. Well mannered, happy, loving, healthy, and precious. The perfect escape from the holiday load. Once again, my mudroom is full of puppies. All is well in my world.


These puppies are the Giving Tuesday Pups. They got that name because all four have sponsors who donated at least $150 to OPH on Giving Tuesday in exchange for the naming rights of these puppies. Isn’t that cool? Doesn’t it make you want to donate $150 now so you can name a pup in my next bunch? (I can make that happen.)

These girls are three months old. They hail from my favorite rescue operation in North Carolina – Old North Canine Rescue, who took great care of them and sent them northward healthy, clean, and happy. The breed guess on this bunch is all over the place. They’re listed as terrier-beagle, but that’s really just an idea. No one knows, and they aren’t talking. Beyond that, it doesn’t matter. What they are is gorgeous puppies. That’s all any of us need to know. At between 10-15 pounds, they are not going to be huge dogs, especially the smaller two.  Let me introduce you…. Continue reading Who Wants a Puppy for Christmas?

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

Best of the Blog

Hi blog readers!

I’m traveling in England and Cyprus this week, but I thought I’d share a few of the best moments of the blog this year.

Of course Fruitcake takes the cake (so to speak).

Here’s a post explaining his Swimmer Puppy Syndrome.

And here are a few pictures of Fruitcake (now Brodie) from his adopter, showing a very different dog nearly a year later. Continue reading Best of the Blog