fosterdogs, fostering, Gomer Pyle

Home Alone (Canine Edition)

Vacations always seem like a good idea when I’m planning them. But when it’s time for the trip to actually happen, I always say (Nick can back me up on this) – What was I thinking? I’m never going away again.

We’re leaving on Thursday at 4am in the morning for our 10-day trip to California for my nephew’s wedding and a long-overdue celebration of my mother-in-law’s 80th birthday. My two college age children will be in charge of the ranch while we’re gone. So nothing to worry about, right?


Everything to worry about.

Yes, they are competent and capable people, I agree when my husband reminds me.

Yes, they can (sometimes) follow directions, I remind myself.

A few weeks ago, when I began to think about our impending trip, my first worry was whether my busy, otherwise-occupied kids would notice if Frankie was standing patiently next to the door with his hind legs crossed (mentally). He’s so quiet and unpushy with his needs, but he can only hold it so long.

To remedy this particular fear, Nick installed a dog door over the weekend. Gomer was the first to dive headlong through the car-wash-like plastic strips covering the sizable hole in the door to the playyard. When Frankie hesitated, Gomer ran in and out repeatedly to show him how it worked, like he was saying, “See buddy? It’s easy! C’mon! C’mon! C’mon!” It was comical. Gomer continues to amaze me with his ability to communicate.


Gracie still refuses to even attempt the door no matter how many times Gomer demonstrates or even if I hold up all the flaps so it’s a clear shot. But Gracie has other options – she is happy outside in her invisibly fenced portion of the property. She stays out there for the better part of the day barking at the long-suffering neighbors and lounging underneath the porch.

But what to do with the foster dogs?

When I volunteered to foster the 80’s Ladies, I thought for sure they’d be gone as soon as their 2-week hold was up. After all Zander and Hops didn’t stay even an hour past their holds. But both of these girls are still available for adoption.

Luckily, A new foster family with three adorable little girls jumped in to babysit Sherry and Brinkley. I have a feeling that if these pups aren’t adopted before we get back, they will not want to return to our boring house after the fun they are likely to experience for the next ten days!


I watched them take off down the driveway yesterday and breathed a sigh of relief. They are in good hands and will certainly break in this new foster family for OPH.

But what about Gomer?

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I couldn’t imagine him adjusting to a third foster home, not when he is so content here. I also couldn’t imagine him going to a boarding facility either. The other dogs and noise would stress his happy little heart and could undo all the great progress we’ve made. Every day he’s here he gets easier and calmer. He’s not the dog he was when he arrived.

But keeping him here is also a tough one. His exuberance and affection can wear on Frankie, who has been beyond patient with him, and Gracie growls whenever Gomer turns his happy in her direction. So they can’t be left alone together unsupervised for long periods.

Add to that, Addie simply cannot stand Gomer’s constant licking and loving. “Leave me alone! Go away! Stop!” she pleads when they’re together. Her aversion does not deter Gomer; rather, it seems to encourage him. He’s like that boy with a crush who simply can’t take the hint.

Lucky for him, though, Brady is a fan.

I’ve written up a daily schedule for each of the ten days for Gomer varying it according to who will be home when. He’ll get some extra crate time, but that won’t hurt him and he’s gotten very content in his crate.

The best answer would have been for Gomer’s forever family to have found him, but that hasn’t happened, so we’ll do the best we can for him even if it causes his foster mommy to worry and text her children incessantly while we’re away.

Next summer I am NOT going anywhere. It’s not just the dogs, it’s also the snap peas and snow peas and lettuce and kale and blueberries that I’ll be missing. I’m mainlining all of them right now, but even I can’t possibly eat it all. The blueberries are the only thing in the gardens that the kids might pick in our absence.  Sigh.

I think maybe the reason I don’t like to go on vacation is because I like it here so much. I’m a happy homebody hanging out with my dogs and my gardens on our little hillside. Which is simply a reminder that I am blessed beyond all that I deserve. I’ll try to remember that when I’m celebrating young love and long life, kayaking in the bay, and hiking in the Redwoods next week!

I’ll also do my darnest not to worry about the two and four-legged critters I’m leaving at home! See you all in two weeks!

Thanks for reading!

If you’d like to know more about my blogs and books, visit or subscribe to my monthly e-newsletter.

If you’d like to know how you can volunteer, foster, adopt or donate with OPH, click here. And if you’d like more regular updates of foster dogs past and present and extra puppy pictures, be sure to join the Another Good Dog facebook group.

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COMING AUGUST 2018 (OMG it’s just over a month away!) from Pegasus Books and available for preorder now:

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9 thoughts on “Home Alone (Canine Edition)”

  1. Go Cara enjoy your trip. No one will ever do things the way you do things but at least you have 2 watching the house! Surely one will pick up the slack of the other👍👍👍right!? Love your post and Gomer, he sounds like such a sweetheart!


  2. I’m going on holiday with my husband in July. We may have to come early if our boy doesn’t cope. I know I should go away for short weekend trips so he gets used to our absence, but these are hard to fit in as life is so busy.

    Good luck with Gomer. He sounds like a delightful character.


    1. The perfect vacation for me would be if I could take all the dogs with me, but Gracie doesn’t do well out in public and Frankie is a lot of dog. We took Frankie and a foster dog on a short vacation with us once when he was a puppy – it was perfect, although a little like traveling with toddlers. This trip is by airplane and all about family, so no dogs. Hope your pup can cope and you don’t have to come home early! Fingers crossed for both of us.

      Liked by 1 person

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