Breeds, Dixieland, dog rescue, foster dogs, fostering, Labrador Retriever, puppies


For some reason, this current litter is not flying off the shelves like litters past.


It could be the time of year or the fact that OPH has a slew of cute adoptable puppies on the site right now, but I’m thinking it might be their label.

SIDEBAR: I hate labels. They are restrictive and offensive and many, many times plain wrong. They conjure up assumptions which inevitably lead to judgment and disappointment. I am not just talking about dogs here.

The fabulous adoption coordinator for this litter, Kassie, messaged me after several interviews to tell me that “People want them to be bigger than they are.”

ANOTHER SIDEBAR: Adoption Coordinators (ACs) are the fabulous volunteers who do final interviews and match adopters up with dogs. They are critical to OPH’s ability to save dogs. Without them we would not be able to save nearly as many or process adoptions nearly as fast. AND we need more AC’s. So, if you’ve ever wondered how you can help save dogs from the comfort of your home (and computer and phone), HERE IT IS! Find out more here.

And why would people want my adorably perfect little puppies to be bigger than they are?

Because they are labeled ‘Labrador retrievers’.

I know.

How did this happen?


They are labeled Labrador retrievers because the vet that gave Dixieland her health certificate labeled her a Labrador retriever.

You can see why – right?


Maybe a different angle will make it more clear—

DSC_6861 (2)

Totally lab, right?

And why would a veterinarian label Dixie a Labrador retriever?

To help her out and make her more ‘adoptable.’

Her surrender papers say ‘coonhound’ and for whatever reason, many people don’t choose to adopt coonhounds, so with one stroke of a pen—wallah!—much more adoptable.

And I get that—both why the vet labeled her lab and why people don’t choose coonhounds. But neither label is helpful and neither is likely correct.

Here’s what I wish: That all dogs with unknown heritage who find themselves in need of a rescue, could be labeled, “American Shelter Dog.” Let’s stop trying to figure out what they are and talk about what they could be—the perfect dog for your family.

All the guessing and rationalizing designated breeds doesn’t help and can potentially hurt.

So, for the record, here’s what the Songs of the South puppies are:

Beautiful American Shelter Dog puppies with gorgeous colors and markings and medium length fur, who have fun, friendly dispositions and will likely grow to be about 20-30 pounds. With excellent care, diligent training, and plenty of love, they will grow up to be amazing dogs.

See for yourself:

If you’d like to apply to adopt one of these gorgeous American Shelter Dog puppies, click here!

If you’d like to see them in action, watch for a LIVE Facebook video of their lunchtime adventures somewhere around 12:30-1pm on the Another Good Dog facebook group.

It’s rare that we know the father involved, but I recently heard from the rescue coordinator in Scott County, who told me they picked up this handsome fella at the same home that Dixieland came from. He’s guessing this is Dixieland’s baby-daddy. (Does this little guy look like anybody we know?)

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 “Labeled”

  1. I may be old but what happened to “mutt”, a term I grew up with a long, long time ago (I’m expecting my first biological great-grandchild). I didn’t know breeds back then so everything was a mutt, and I loved the term and the dogs.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I’m the mama of a beautiful, lovable, fat, lazy coonhound. She is the absolute best girl, and I always tell people who want a nice family dog to get a coonhound. Does she drive me crazy with her howling at time? Sure…but her floopy ears and big butt make up for it. I’m loving the puppy pics. We adopted our coonhound when she was 8 months old, so we never got to see puppy pics. But we’ve decided that My Darling Clementine is exactly what Penny looked like when she was a baby. Keep the puppy pics coming. They’re too cute!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I couldn’t agree more! If a dog is not a known purebred, or looks so obviously like a particular breed that it needs to be called that, just label it a “mutt” “mixed breed” or “shelter dog” and be done with it! We have no idea what breeds are in most dogs, and truly, what does it matter? Labels do hurt dogs (people as well) and in most cases are absolutely unnecessary.
    And those puppies are adorable….I can’t imagine anyone not wanting one!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. The Puppies are adorable and I completely agree with you Cara. Shelter dog mix is a perfect breed. Shelter dogs make the best pets! Trust me I have three, two dogs and a bunny (who is adorable and perfect companion for the one we purchased from a breeder)
    Will not buy from a breeder again. But we originally let my daughter pick out two bunnies as therapy bunnies for her extreme anxiety. We had them since they were young and the one mysteriously died. So in order to keep the other bunny from grieving and not eating we adopted a shelter bunny. This guy is great. They even neutered him before we adopted him. I digress, Dixie looks like she is a mix of a lot of dogs. She looks like a terrier mix to me but we cannot base all adoptions on the jumble of breeds a dog is composed of because dogs personailities are a mixture of their experiences and their genetic background. I recently adopted a red heeler mix. Most people equate this breed with high energy and needing to be kept busy. He is a laid back guy who just wants to hang out and sleep on my bed all day. He only gets mad when I leave him. I took him to the vet to make sure all was okay and the vet fell in love. He laid down on the floor of the examination room, totally chilled, licked her and wanted to be petted. He was only scared of the new environment but once he got use to her and the office, he was totally relaxed. He is so happy to have a home. Your pups are too cute and will make the perfect fall gift for some caring family. I think 30-40 pounds is a perfect medium size dog. I would love to adopt a pet from you because you have done all the hard work, potty training, cleaning up the messes and you know each dogs personality and can recommend the right personality for the family/person looking for certain traits. There are not many “Cara” shelter moms out there. Trust me I know and what a priviledge to adopt a dog from you, a conscientious dog lover, smart and capable. And just to reiterate: Shelter dogs/rescue dogs make the best pets and one of CARA’S dogs…even better, the cherry on top!

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Hi Cara,

    For selfish reasons I’m glad to hear that these little babies are still available. I’m going through the approval process to adopt one now and I can hardly contain myself. Each day this week has seemed like a year. Tomorrow I have my phone interview and hopefully then I will be approved!! I’m crazy over all of these little cuties. But especially Ramblin’ Man and Sweet Georgia Brown. And Rocky Top is catching my eye a lot too! If approved (please, please, please) I can’t wait to come and meet the gang! And for the record, I’ve always felt that mixed dogs or mutts are the best dogs around!!

    Sending hugs and kisses to all the babies and Mama too!

    Liked by 2 people

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