fosterdogs, fostering, Gala, oph

With Gala the party never ends

Gala, Gala, Gala. There is never a dull moment with this dog.


On Friday, we sat on the deck having snacks and a glass of wine with the five grandparents who had arrived for the graduation of my middle child. Gala worked the crowd, slurping faces, giving full body hugs, gladly accepting the dropped slice of cheese. I kept her on a leash so that I’d be able to restrict her enthusiasm if necessary. It was all going nicely. Gala sat sweetly next to me on the couch for a picture.


And then a moment later, she was up and over the deck railing. Her leash was looped around my wrist, as it always is since I’m well acquainted with her sudden movements. I felt the tug and then nothing. Had she slipped her collar or worse yet, had she inadvertently hung herself?

Nope. I peered over the flower boxes that line the deck and saw her standing on the ground below me, a shocked expression on her face. The leash was exactly long enough for her to have landed on her feet ten feet below, but she couldn’t take another step. Foiled again! Nick raced down the stairs and retrieved her and she rejoined us on the deck. She seemed subdued and I worried she was injured, but it must have only been a scare as she resumed her schmoozing a few minutes later. Thankfully, there were no more leaps off the deck.

On Saturday, we took her to the farmer’s market and then for a walk on the rail trail where she slurped all available faces, politely stayed out of the way of the bikes, splashed in and out of a tiny stream, and then chased a pair of mallard ducks.

On Sunday, Nick assembled our outdoor kennel, which we haven’t had a need for since we fostered Lucy and her endless hound songs last August. Having witnessed the acrobatics of Gala now on too many occasions (she sails over baby gates in a single bound), I had my camera ready and was not expecting her to last in the pen more than five minutes.

I was wrong.

She was up and over that pen wall in less than two minutes.

After the morning adventures, I took Gala to an OPH Adoption event. Once again, we had to stand apart from the other dogs. Gala LOVES people, but Gala does not love other dogs. At our house, she and Gracie have settled into a state of mutually ignoring each other, and Gala does love puppies (a little too much as Punkin experienced), but for whatever reason, she feels threatened by other dogs.


So, like social lepers, Gala and I stood outside the entrance to Jersey Mike’s Subs, while the rest of the OPH crowd gathered in front of the Pet Valu. We’d been there about an hour, when a large pickup truck stopped in front of the store and three people got out. A woman and a teenage girl headed for the OPH table, and the driver, a large man with plenty of tattoos and a beer belly, ambled towards Gala and me.

This was Gala’s third adoption event, she has enthusiastically (perhaps too enthusiastically) greeted all the humans she’s met at each event – tail wagging, big smiles, happy to give kisses and hugs.

As this man approached us, she lowered her head and the hair on her back stood up in a ridge. When he reached towards her she began a steady growl. Surprised, I pulled her back to me. He said, “Oh, she’s a meanie! I like meanies, I’ve got two at home.” He proceeded to tell me about his two purebred pitbulls who are so ferocious, no one but he can handle them. He told me he hadn’t had either the male or female fixed because the vet said that would only make them more aggressive.

I swallowed all the things I wanted to say and instead told him that I’d never heard a vet say anything like that, in fact, to the contrary, all the vets I knew would say the opposite—that spaying and neutering makes a dog less aggressive. He then told me his vet has to tranquilize his dogs to give them their shots. (I refrained from asking how the vet gave the tranquilizer shot.) He seemed proud that he had raised two vicious dogs. When I asked if he planned to breed them, he said, “Oh, I wouldn’t breed my girl because then she’d have those droopy boobies. That looks disgusting.”

Thankfully, about that time, his passengers were ready to go and I was saved from responding to this horrific comment. During our entire exchange Gala kept up a steady growl. As they pulled away, the man rolled down his window and yelled, “Bye Meanie!” to Gala. The woman riding with him, laughed, and said, “He likes ‘em mean!”

As soon as the truck was gone, Gala relaxed and resumed her happy greetings. In fact, moments later a family with a toddler approached and helped their daughter pet Gala gently. My nerves were still up from the previous exchange, but Gala had obviously let it go. Remarkably, she even dialed back her energy for the little girl, giving her a gentle kiss on the cheek.


Yeah, what a meanie she is.

I thought about that man the rest of the day. I sent up prayers for his poor dogs, and I wondered about his words. I worried that he is part of what is rumored to be a prolific dog-fighting business in York filling the SPCA’s kennels with pitbulls. I’ve replayed my exchange with that awful, ignorant man and wished I’d said a million different things. Sadly, it’s likely that nothing I said would have made a difference. I’m left to wonder what would.

Gala still has no adoption applications. She is a lot of dog. Athletic, energetic, smart, fun, sweet, and mischievous. She’ll need an adopter who will put the time in to train her and to help her manage that energy. She’ll need regular exercise and her clever mind needs a job to do—agility, tricks, frisbee catching, even dock-diving. The lucky person who commits to this dog, though, will have a once-in-a-lifetime kind of dog. That’s the kind of dog Gala is. She’s ready for anything. She’s also a great judge of character.

On Saturday, we’ll be picking up our newest foster, a lab/plotthound mix we have named, “Dug.” Ian picked out the name, but I’ll save the story of why for another post.


If you’d like regular updates on fosters past and present (and if you want to know whether the ‘lid’ Nick put on the outdoor kennel will keep Gala in), be sure to join the Facebook group, Another Good Dog.

If you’re interested in Gala, Dug, or any of the amazing dogs available for adoption through OPH, visit the website. (Where you can also find information on fostering, volunteering, and donating.)

If you’d like more information on my writing and my latest novel (which comes out TOMORROW!!) click on over to

Thanks for reading!




3 thoughts on “With Gala the party never ends”

  1. Dug has big ol’ feet! Cute pup! I’d take Gala if I had the energy. My dog is already hyper. Altho he and Gala might actually learn to get along. Either that or they’d kill each other. Gala is one smart girl— I know Jake would have growled at that man as well. There are certain people who set him off, for reasons only dogs know.


  2. I wonder what would have made Gala be so friendly towards most of the visitors in front of the sandwich place, but so cold towards that crazy man… a meanie in human form. Maybe she sensed your unease at his words? I know you’ve commented on how your dogs can pick up on your mood, and reflect it through their own behavior. What a crazy man. It’s awful that people deliberately raise their dogs to fight others and to be aggressive in general.


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