Dogs with Issues, fosterdogs, fostering, Gala, Yin and Yang

Looking for Lucy

Arriving home from the vet’s office, where I had just deposited Gala, I called Nick to tell him what was going on and said, “She just can’t catch a break.”

Later after picking her up and watching her sleep off her sedative, I thought more about it. Maybe Gala’s stream of mishaps and misfortunes have more to do with how fully she lives her life than any kind of black cloud hovering over her.

My little brother was the same way. He broke at least five bones (maybe more I lost count) when he was a kid – falling out of a tree house, taking a header over an unexpected wall, pretending to be Evil Knievel. Seems every summer he had a plastic bread bag over his casted arm as we swam at the beach. As a teen he totaled at least three cars. And later he became a fighter pilot in the US Airforce, flying F-15s all over the world including Korea, Iraq, and Afghanistan. I always enjoy his company because it’s never boring and he usually has me laughing so hard I pee myself. Tommy lives his life full-on.

That’s how Gala lives. She has an exuberance for life that may sometimes lead her into trouble, but makes everyone around her smile. I love this dog; life with her will never be boring.

Gala was rescued off the streets of South Carolina; she was thin and it was obvious that she’d had at least one litter of puppies. She tested positive for heartworm—a death sentence in or out of a shelter for most homeless dogs. OPH saved her from euthanasia and brought her north, but there was no foster home available so she was placed in a boarding facility for nearly a month before I brought her home to undergo heartworm treatment.


She handled the treatment beautifully and after another month of rest she became my best running buddy. Not one to be contained, she mastered door opening and discovered she could easily handle the ten foot drop from the deck railing or the six foot height of the kennel fence. She never went far, she simply didn’t want to be contained.


One of her freedom runs resulted in a horse kicking her in the head and breaking her jaw. A three day stay at the vet office, followed by a month wearing a muzzle and a cone, confined to her crate brought her nearly to her mental breaking point.

FullSizeRender (2)

Soon enough, though, given the all clear, she was back running with me and learning to stay away from horses thanks to e-collar training.


After only a handful of adoption applications in five months of foster care, last week she moved to a new foster home in the hopes that she could overcome some of her anxiety about other dogs. And then…..

This dog. Breaks my heart. Once again.

She lasted only three days in her new foster home before she got into a tussle with one of the resident dogs. The other dog had thicker fur and better dodging skills, but Gala now sports a shaven back dotted with healing puncture wounds. The punctures go deep into the muscle, which caused her back to swell as an infection set in. Antibiotics and pain meds are working their magic and she is almost at full strength now a week after the fight.


From what I’ve seen and from what Shannon observed in her brief time with them, Gala’s response to other dogs is one of fear, not aggression. She’s terribly afraid of other dogs, and I would imagine her latest experience is only increasing that fear.

We’ve all come to the conclusion that Gala would do best as an ‘only dog.’ Personally, I think Gala is more than enough dog for one family. She certainly has enough love to give and enough personality to entertain an entire household.

Maybe she’s appreciating me more, or maybe her back is still sore, but our walks have been lovely and there’s been no need to use the e-collar. She’s barely given the cat the time of day and even walks calmly past the horses on the other side of the fence.

Who knows what goes through a dog’s mind, but I’m imagining she’s thinking, I better stick close and behave myself or who knows what kind of major hurt will come next. She’s become my little brown shadow, following me everywhere and whining for me when I leave her to tend to the horses or Gracie.

I am absolutely certain that she will make the very best friend for some lucky adopter, but she will need an adopter who will be as devoted to her as she will be to them. Then again, every dog deserves that. Gala has some powerful love to give. So wherever you are, Gala family, you are in for one fun ride. Hope you get here soon.

And just in case you were wondering, Yang found her people. And no, it wasn’t us, though we did come very close to foster failing on our 88th foster pup! Everyone, even Gracie, wanted to keep that special girl, so I’m super excited that she isn’t leaving our lives entirely. She was adopted by a wonderful family who live nearby and who adopted Millie (aka Estelle, my very first pregnant mama dog). Mara has promised to bring Yang (now Lucy) for visits.

yang adopted as lucy

I’ll finish with one curious aside. Yin and Yang, my last two foster puppies were appropriately named as they were quite different but complimented each other perfectly. Both were adopted into wonderful families and BOTH (without either family’s knowledge) were renamed Lucy.

That alone is cool, but if you know my history, you may know that I began this entire fostering adventure after my own beloved Lucy died and I couldn’t find a dog to adopt who could fill the hole she left. I’m still looking for my Lucy, meanwhile I’ve been blessed with 88 dogs and puppies who all offered me a piece of what Lucy did – their unbounding love. Here’s to the latest two Lucys to launch!

lucy with soccer balls

Thanks for reading!

If you’d like to know more about volunteering, fostering, or donating with OPH or adopting Gala, click here.

If you’d like to know more about my blogs and books, click here.

Have a fabulous week!




17 thoughts on “Looking for Lucy”

  1. Oh Cara, I just love your stories and always look forward to reading them. I just wish I could adopt a puppy but it just isn’t possible.


  2. Dear Gala,

    I saw the photo of us in Cara’s most recent post and it made me long for your kisses.

    (I’m writing this directly to Gala because I just know she is able to read if Cara will just show her the screen)

    If only I didn’t live in California in a tiny apartment where the rule is No Dogs, I would adopt you in a minute.

    I would take you to classes — and you and I would learn how to do amazing things together. You would guard me from anyone who tried to harm me or my belongings — especially my toys. And we could make some new friends in those classes. It may take some time — but I’m sure you will eventually be comfortable with new dog friends.

    Please forgive me for not being able to share my life with you.

    Love always,
    Margot (people where you live now call me Nana)

    Liked by 1 person

  3. That is really neat about both Lucy’s and your sweet Lucy. There seems to always be an impactful animal behind many peoples choice to get involved with the animal rescue/welfare world. And as for Gala, ahh she really strikes the depths of my heart. I am so glad you two are ‘back together’ you seem to share something special. And 88 foster pups?! You really are an angel!!!!


    1. There does seem to be a special animal behind most of the people I know involved in rescue. I learned so much from my Lucy and know she’s smiling down from doggie heaven on all the pups who pass through here. Thanks for reading and for your kind words!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. As always, I remain in awe of you and your family and the ongoing, unconditional love that you give Gala. I know I’ve said this before, but will say it again, I honestly feel like Gala found you for a reason and you are meant to be.

    On a different note, my respect for you and fostering continues to grow! I just puppy-sat for 8 days and my friends returned last night to reclaim their little lovebug and take her home. My three dogs are just wandering around in a daze today. They saw her leave last night but this morning they all seem sad and confused. Not to mention my heart is aching a little, lol! Puddin was a foster fail and I’ve thought about fostering again but I’m not sure I could take the heartbreak of letting them go, lol!

    Finally, since Puddin looked so much like Ying and Yang, you need to check out Tequila, our pup-guest that just left, who resembles a baby Gala! I’ll send you a pic on Twitter 🙂


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