booktour, Dixieland, dog rescue, foster fail, fostering, oph, puppies, Uncategorized

Should He Stay or Should He Go Now?

It’s hard to write about the dogs when I’m not with the dogs, but I’ll try. I’m actually in a California hotel room recovering from my brief brush with Hollywood. If you’d like to read about that adventure, you can find it on my other blog, My Life In Paragraphs.


The drama continues with Oreo. Not that he’s creating any of it. It’s all in my heart and head as I wrestle with this decision of whether he should stay or he should go (the Clash song echoes in my head all day).


Already, Frankie is relaxing with Oreo’s presence. With an older, male dog in residence, he’s free to not be quite so anxious. Instead of clinging to me when I take him outside, he is wandering farther afield. He even ran off into the woods chasing squirrels and was ‘lost’ for over five minutes. That’s a first. Normally, he is hesitant to leave my sight.

He has taken to lounging on the living room sofa instead of standing vigilant at the front door watching and ready to sound the alarm at the sight of intruders (or the horses trotting around the field).

There are plenty of people who agree that having a larger, more mature, calm lead dog in the house will have a good impact on our pack. But the reality is this would be adding a 60-pound family member to an already over-busy household. Plus, there’s the question of is this the best place for Oreo. Can we give him the loving, happy life he so very much deserves?

So far, I haven’t seen a lot of change in Gracie, but she’s stayed fairly consistent through 130 foster dogs so I wouldn’t expect much change yet. It took her about four months to really accept Frankie as permanent. So far, she ignores Oreo’s invites to play, but at least she doesn’t growl at him, and he is nothing but respectful of her cold shoulder.

From my vantage point, it sure is nice to have a dog that welcomes everyone into our house without any coaxing or managing on my part. And wow, could there be a sweeter, more loving soul?


The fact that he is perfect on the leash and has better manners than my kids doesn’t hurt either. Each night when I tuck him in (it’s become a ritual), I ponder these things. We love him, but can we love him enough? And can I trust him to another family? This dog has come way too close to losing his life. He’s spent too much time waiting to live. And now he has to battle heartworms. I need to know that he is safe and loved and happy…forever.


Should he stay or should he go now….I still don’t know. So let’s talk about puppies…

The puppies are growing! Their eyes and ears are open and they tumble around the box with puppy growls and wagging tails. Too cute. Impossibly cute. Why is it that small things are cuter? These pups are nearly half the size of the other litters I’ve had. Which (I assume) means their messes will be half the size. Definitely a nice feature with smaller pups.

On Saturday, the whelping box wall was breached for the first time. I was at a book signing in Maryland and pulled the puppy cam up on my phone to show someone and to my surprise, I could see one of the pups running around outside the box! I called my husband (who was home) to alert him. He texted back: Actually there are three loose puppies!

Up until now, we’ve kept one wall of the box folded in half so that Dixie can easily climb in and out with her bent hind leg, but I’m not sure why since Dixie has easily scaled the baby gate to escape the room. Nick raised the low wall, but maybe it’s time to think about moving them out of the box altogether.

I’m also happy that it’s time to start them on puppy food. I hope that this will mean Ramblin’ Man will begin to gain the traditional puppy belly that he’s yet to develop. He’s doing well, very feisty and playful, despite his skinny appearance (puppy fluff and black fur obscure it in pictures). He tends to end up on the bottom of the pile much too often.

I’ve given him lots of extra nursing time away from the others since Dixie stays out of the box except when nursing the horde, but he seems a bit ADD, going from nipple to nipple, staying less than thirty seconds on each. Even when he does settle on one, within minutes he’s asleep and falls off. His habits when feeding with the rest of the pups basically create a musical chairs effect. He gets off his nipple and someone else immediately grabs it and then he has to go in search of the available nipple since there are eight of them.

Everybody is enjoying real food — so hopefully next post I’ll have a different report on Ramblin’ Man.

I’m hoping to get Nancy here for a photo shoot soon, so we can do official portraits for everyone. Watch the Another Good Dog page for those photos.

If you’re a long-time reader of the blog (or you’ve read my book), here are a few pictures from the signing on Saturday. I had Zora Thurston Neale (from the Edith Wharton litter) with me and also Momma Bear! I’m hoping to add a page to the book’s website of the book alumni dogs signing at events. Collecting their signatures is a thing – at least one person brought her book to the White Marsh signing just to get more signatures.

I’ll be in Vienna, Virginia this Saturday at Bard’s Alley bookshop at 10:30am. I don’t have any dogs yet confirmed to sign with me, but Vienna is deep in the heart of OPH territory, so I’m hoping I’ll find a few to join me.

Thanks for reading!

If you’d like to know more about my blogs and books, visit 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, 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 or connect with me on Facebooktwitter, or Instagram.



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

Another Good Dog cover


19 thoughts on “Should He Stay or Should He Go Now?”

  1. Keep Oreo, I feel like Oreo needs you as much as you need him. You are a remarkable person with an awesome family. He will get plenty of love. You probably hold a special place in his heart also because you brought him here.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. The fact that Oreo is so good for Frankie makes me think he belongs with you. For some reason, Frankie is now under the impression he needs to be on high alert and be the protector. If Oreo makes Frankie feel calmer, perhaps that’s why Oreo came your way.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m inclined to agree with that thought, but trying to be realistic in terms of our busy life and what’s best for Oreo. In some ways he does seem like an answer to prayer, but I know he is only a dog. Luckily, we have a few more weeks to decide while we wait for him to have his heartworm treatment.


  3. Hi Cara. After reading your book(s) I’ve been following your posts. I say keep Oreo in your family. He’s already completely in your heart. Your life is crazy busy, in such good ways anyway, so what’s one more to love (and feed, walk, play with and clean up after…ha) And he is quite beautiful. Anyway point is, which you already know, is there will be no room for any questions as far as how he’s doing, how much is he being loved up, how happy is he….with another family. If he’s in plain sight of you and yours, every day, you’ll know. And never have to wonder. So again, hopeful you’ll keep him. Sending love from Long Island,

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Bev! For reading and for your kind words. Oreo is something special. I can’t imagine letting him getaway. And you’re right – our lives are already crazy busy. I worry 3 dogs makes me the crazy dog lady, but then again, I suppose I already am! Blessings.


  4. I enjoyed reading your book (and I am a cat and horse person) and told the director of the Lexington (KY) Humane Society about it so she could share it with the people who foster dogs for LHS. I vote that Oreo stays b/c 1)his influence on Frankie, 2) you would regret giving him up, even to a good home–you and he seem to be deeply bonded, 3)he would be a marvelous good influence on future fosters and help them be ready for adoption sooner, 4)your family has had to give up so many dogs they begged to keep–this one time break your rule of not keeping a foster dog, and 5)with the heartworm condition Oreo’s life may be shorter than normal. Let him spend his days with you and the rest of the family he trusts and not have to adjust to a new situation. He’s home now. . Margaret

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Margaret – About your comment concerning Oreo, I have to say I couldn’t agree with you more. Oreo is “so home” already! (But no pressure, Cara hahaha)…Bev

      Liked by 1 person

    2. You listed all the reasons we’re leaning so heavily towards keeping him. The heartworm and age factors are big ones for me — this dog needs a happy, healthy life with the years he has left. He goes for heartworm treatment on October 31, so keep him in your thoughts. It’s a tough treatment.

      Thanks for sharing my book! Hope it encourages someone in KY to foster too!


  5. I hope you keep Oreo. Besides being so incredibly handsome, being a calming influence on others in certainly a bonus! My three certainly influence each other, but calming is not a word I would use, lol!

    Liked by 1 person

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