Miss Fanny Wiggles, My Girl

It’s very hard for me to talk about my dog, Frankie.

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But while I don’t talk about him, he is constantly on my heart; I see him everywhere.

Losing him and the way we lost him truly leveled me and to be honest, Continue reading Miss Fanny Wiggles, My Girl

Member of the Pack

Normally when I bring home a new foster dog there is an extended shut-down period – a time when the new foster is kept away from the other dogs, spends a lot of time in her crate, is kept on a leash all the time even when out of the crate (and confined to the kitchen). This generally lasts one to two weeks.

We started down that path with Fanny Wiggles, but Continue reading Member of the Pack

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

Diary of a Rescue Week Six: Change is Coming

The coming week will mean a big change for Daisy.

I am preparing to leave on the OPH Rescue Road Trip, a weeklong trip with seven other volunteers to visit six of our partner shelters in North and South Carolina to spend our days working in the shelters. Our hope is to not only offer physical help with the dogs and the work, but to learn more about the needs of our shelters and to raise awareness of those needs.

You can follow along on our Facebook group, OPH Rescue Road Trip, where we’ll be sharing pictures, stories, and live videos all week long.

This is an exciting adventure for me, but it means that Daisy will have to leave our home which has been her safe haven for nearly seven weeks. Nick and Ian cannot be left in charge of Daisy for an entire week.

It’s not their safety I’m worried about – Daisy has shown no aggression at all towards any people (although it’s more than clear that she has suffered at the aggressive hands of people). The problem is that she goes into a blind panic if Nick or Ian approach her and I worry for her safety and emotional health if we force the issue. We have made incremental progress, but sadly, there is still so far to go in convincing her to trust them.

She has three options. One would be Continue reading Diary of a Rescue Week Six: Change is Coming

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

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.

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Or maybe it’s just me, missing Gala.

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

Homeless or Humanless?

I’ve been reading a lot of dog books lately. Partly, it’s because my upcoming book will be my first in this genre, and I want to get to know what’s already out there and the writers who publish these books. But mostly, I’ve become a bit addicted. I love reading about people’s experiences with dogs. It’s not just educational and entertaining, it’s also inspiring.

Rescuing Penny JaneIn Amy Sutherland’s book, RESCUING PENNY JANE, she writes about her experiences volunteering at a shelter, sharing a perspective I’ve never heard since I meet my dogs after they’ve left the shelter. I like to think that there are volunteers like Amy at the shelters where our dogs come from. Sutherland is a shelter volunteer, walking dogs every Friday for a local Animal Rescue League. She’s also a journalist and author, so of course, she overanalyzes and writes about her experience.

While it can be momentarily dense with information on shelter dogs, Rescuing Penny Jane is an exploration of the rescue dog world, but also Sutherland’s story of adopting a difficult rescue dog and sticking it out. She writes that she won’t be one of ‘them’, confiding that in becoming a regular at the shelter she is privy to the staff’s feelings about people who return dogs. And so, even though it strains her marriage, she sticks it out with Penny Jane, a fearful and more or less, feral dog.

Sutherland’s words remind me of my own experience with more than a few of my foster dogs. I write in this blog about the funny, the touching, the messy, and occasionally the heartbreak, but each story eventually culminates in one happy ending after another. What I rarely write about is how sometimes I reach my limit and more often sometimes my husband reaches his limit. There have been teary late-night walks waiting for a foster dog to just pee, already. There have been mornings spent on my knees scrubbing carpets and grumbling mangled curse words and masked threats (who am I going to offend? The dogs?). There have been plenty of words typed and then deleted, planned posts that never materialized, and frustrations outlined in detail for my husband even as I stroke the furry head of the offender. For a few hours, sometimes a day or two, I’m done. “Once this one is gone- no more fosters!”

So when Sutherland’s husband says, “It would be easier to return Penny Jane than to get a divorce.” I don’t laugh. I know he’s not joking.  Sutherland’s frustration and tears are familiar, and I read her story with a lump in my throat. I’ve thought so many of the same things.

There is one comment she makes relatively early in the book that struck me so much that I got up to find a pen so I could underline it. She wrote – Continue reading Homeless or Humanless?