Dixieland, dog rescue, Flannery Oconnor, foster dogs, fostering, house training, John Jacob, oph, puppies, whelping

Am I Becoming a Broken Record?

I’ve been kicking around ideas for this post—lots to say, not enough space (the usual for me).

My thoughts are scattered because part of me is in North Carolina worrying about the dogs at the three shelters we visited who were all evacuated. I know they’re confused and frightened, but so far, at least, I know they are safe.

In a news story about the Anson shelter, I saw footage of several of the dogs I met – Oreo (who is coming to my home at the end of the month), the Great Dane that Lisa and I flirted with (whose destiny is uncertain), Sparky (the shy, adorable pit mix with bandit eyes that Lisa coaxed out to say hello to us), and a large gray pitbull whose sad face I’ve been carrying around with me ever since I met him. Of all the dogs we met, his eyes seemed to sear my soul – the depth of sadness and the resignation broke my heart.

Seeing those friends crammed in crates and stacked in a van, while the people around them talked in panicked voices and the flood water closed in on them was unbearable. I want to be down there, doing something, and yet again, I can do nothing but be a witness.

Going anywhere is tricky because I am needed at home. Dixieland has still not had her pups (she’s given me many false starts). Her enormous belly gets impossibly bigger every day.

JJ (John Jacob JHS) is still a puppy (a big one). His housetraining is a work-in-progress. This means plenty of crate time, but also frequent walks to stretch his long legs and supervised time in the kitchen. The nice weather this weekend did allow him to have some serious playtime outside with Frankie. JJ is a social guy, he likes company and he’s good company, but there’s only so much of me to go around.

IMG_1334 (2)

Flannery is actually our easiest guest. She’s earned the right to roam freely in our house – she’s not a destructive chewer, she’s housebroken and she’s learned to give Gracie wide berth.


I’ve come to the conclusion that five dogs is one too many for me. There have been too many preventable slip-ups in regards to unattended items and the question of where best to pee. But that might also be partly because my heart is still in the south, walking through those kennels offering little comfort – a touch, a treat—to the hundreds of dogs we met.

My state of mind makes me not the best company. If you ask how I’m doing and I feel like I can be honest with you, I’m gonna unload my fury about what is happening in our rural shelters and how oblivious the rest of the country seems to be.

But saying it over and over isn’t making it any better. And I worry that I will become a broken record who no one will listen to.

I think you have to see those faces, hear the stories of the shelter workers, observe the conditions, experience the situation firsthand in order to get it, to really get it.

And I can’t take you all down there. I can only write and share the pictures we took. So I’m working on a few projects.

One is little – a calendar of the dogs we met in the shelter. Nancy Slattery lent her expert editing skills and cleaned up my pictures and I’ve added a few words to each one. I’m hoping the calendar can do two things – raise a little money for the dogs still living in shelters, but also be a daily reminder that they are there and that they need us.

Here’s one sample page.


Once we figure out how/where to print it to get the best quality and best deal, I’ll let you know on the blog and on the Facebook group. I’ll be bringing calendars to all my future book signings too.

The other project is more ambitious and I’m not ready to share the details of it—there’s way too many moving parts to pin down. If you’ve got ideas or you want to help, please visit the How You Can Help page on AnotherGoodDog.org. Trust me, you haven’t heard the last from me on this situation. As Arnold said, “I’ll be back!”

If you want to follow the journey of Dixieland, I’ll be posting regular updates on the Facebook group.


I’m really (really, really) hoping she delivers before Nick and I head to Bark, Wag and Wine THIS SATURDAY (are YOU going to be there? You can still get tickets! We’d LOVE to see you!).

After BWW, we’ll be heading further south to attend the Floyd County Humane Society fundraiser at Chateau Morisette. I’m excited to explore Floyd and to meet the good people of the Humane Society. Proceeds from book sales at the event will go to FCHS, and I’ll be exploring how we can partner with them in the future. They have no shelter in Floyd County and the Humane Society is a completely foster-based organization; when they run out of foster homes for the animals in need, they pay to board them at a local veterinary office. Excited to meet these super heroes and hopefully help a tiny bit.


If you know of anyone looking for a really fun pup who would make an excellent family member, tell them about Flannery.


Not only is she housebroken and crate-trained, but she’s also a fun-loving sweetheart who never meets a stranger. We took her to Ian’s soccer game on Sunday and she charmed everyone she met. At just 25 pounds and less than two-years-old, she’s the perfect little pet who will no doubt provide daily entertainment to her forever family for years to come. Here’s the link to find out how to adopt her.

JJ met his future forever mom on Sunday and won her over. He’ll be with us a few more days, and hopefully, master the housebreaking before he takes off for a happy life in the nation’s capital.

If you’re in the Leesburg area – come meet me for a beer tomorrow night at Spanky’s Shennanigan’s Yappy Hour from 6-8pm. I’ll be there signing books (might bring Flannery along to help) unless Dixie decides to pop! (check the event page for any news on that!)

The rest of you – see you at Bark, Wag, and Wine THIS Saturday!!

Thanks for reading!

If you’d like to know more about my blogs and books, visit CaraWrites.com or subscribe to my monthly e-newsletter (which is rarely monthly, but I’m working at it…everybody needs a goal).

If you’d like to know more about the book, Another Good Dog: One Family and Fifty Foster Dogs, check AnotherGoodDog.org, where you can find more pictures of the dogs from the book (and some of their happily-ever-after stories), information on fostering, the schedule of signings, and what you can do right now to help shelter animals!

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

I love hearing from readers, so please feel free to comment here on the blog, email carasueachterberg@gmail.com or connect with me on Facebooktwitter, or Instagram.



Released August 2018 from Pegasus Books and available for preorder now:

Another Good Dog cover


12 thoughts on “Am I Becoming a Broken Record?”

  1. Dusty and Bear say “Thank you Cara.” ❤ ❤ They see it as when you help one dog you're helping all the dogs who need a home, even them, so many thousands of miles away. And me? Without me, Dusty would have been put to sleep. Without Bear, the despair I felt when my left hip went bad almost pushed me over the edge. If not for her, I might not be here. Seriously. I believe "Rescue a dog, rescue yourself."

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Hi Cara, Hope you received word about the donation I made on behalf of the flood victims that I dedicated to you. Keep writing and keep telling us about all the opportunities to help. Does OPH do adoptions in Texas? I am thinking I would like to adopt a mature dog (can’t do a puppy) who is good with cats and bunnies. The bunnies have their own room but I don’t want a predatory dog. Also work full time and have a doggie door to the back yard. I wouldn’t know how to get a dog from the shelter that’s been flooded but if you have a recommendation, let me know. My dog 10 years old and is a border/burmese mountain dog mix and I have an elderly 17 year old cat. I like the bigger dogs, or the same size as my dog.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I am incredibly honored (and super excited) that you gave a donation in my honor! Texas is one of the places we have explored rescuing dogs from – the crisis is big there. I think that when you’re ready, you should find a local shelter where you can volunteer a bit and get to know the dogs and find the perfect one for your family. Maybe a shelter that would let you bring the dog home to test out with the other fur siblings. Save one there, so we don’t have to bring it east! Thanks so much for reading and for your kinds words! (also – what lucky bunnies you have!!)


  3. Thank you Cara. Was at the Petsmart and a rescue group from East Texas No Kill shelter had their dogs for a meet and greet. There was one dog in particular that was in a crate, very quietly sitting. I asked to see him. When they took him out of the crate he seemed a bit sad, hardly wagged his tail. Learned that he has been fostered since a pup and is now 2. He is a cattle dog mix. He is coming to my home to meet my animals. So maybe…


    1. oh wow!! Love this. Read up on cattle dogs. If that’s what he really is (and it’s usually just a guess with most rescues), he needs to be managed and have a job. Awesome dogs – that’s what Billie Jean is – they are devoted as can be. Can’t wait to hear how it goes!!


  4. I have been fostering for our local humane society for a little more than two years, and I mostly do kittens. This year, however, I have taken on a few dogs, and right now I have my first pregnant mama! She is a little long-haired chihuahua, about 3 years old, sweet as can be, and I am a bit nervous. But I am like you: dogs have been doing this for hundreds (thousands?) of years on their own, and even just the simple act of providing good food, fresh water, and a clean, calm, loving space for her to whelp her puppies is a step up from where she was as a stray on the streets. I have blankets, towels, a phone, instructions from my foster care directors and vets and their phone numbers all in place — but I am still a little anxious!


    1. You’ll do great no matter what happens because you care. That’s one thing she didn’t have before. If you haven’t already been warned – be sure to place TONS of puppy pads near your whelping area for mama dog who will have serious, urgent diarrhea post delivery and cook her up plenty of chicken and rice ahead of time to help with that. Bonding with her now is the most important part. Thank you for what you are doing – you are a rescue rock star! Thinking of you!


  5. I didn’t see this until today and can’t believe you were at Chateau yesterday!! I live about 25 miles from there! We could’ve met and shared the love girl! Hope it went well 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Actually I wasn’t there – we had to cancel because of weather! But I’m going to come back. We haven’t got a date picked out but I plan to come back to help Floyd County Humane any way I can. have you heard of them? Seem like great people – completely foster-based rescue.

      Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s