dog rescue, fosterdogs, fostering, litters, puppies, Runt

Mostly Fat and Happy in PA

Almost all of the PA Pups are fat little butterballs.


11-4 foster puppiesIt’s been a challenge to get to know them as mom prefers that we keep our hands off. Bell is an absolute love when she’s out of the puppy pen. She is embarrassingly affectionate, even with strangers, and always happy to go for a romp. Her favorite place to walk is in the woods where there are so many smells, she quite literally quivers with excitement. In the playyard she chases balls and carries the jolly ball around proudly, but mostly she wants to sit in your lap (and no she is quite definitely not lap-dog-size).

11-4 Bell mama dog

The puppies are two weeks old now, but Bell is ready to resume her single life. She waits at the gate all day, yipping when she hears the other dogs, whining when she hears me, begging anyone to get her out of that room. She’s tall enough that she could certainly jump the gate, so I’m assuming it’s her nice manners keeping her in there. Because she tested positive for Lymes, I’m hoping to get those pups weaned by five weeks so we can get her on a course of antibiotics. Somehow, I don’t think it will be too difficult. For all her protective mama-ing, she is quick to forget about them once she’s out of the puppy room.

One of the puppies, the tiny little runt, is not growing as fast or as well as the others. Where as they are fuzzy chunkeroos, she is sleek like a seal and weighs about a pound less than the others. On Sunday a weird rash appeared on her head, likely a staph infection that developed because of her compromised immune system. We’re hopeful that as she grows and gets stronger it will right itself as she is too young for antibiotics. This poor girl! She looks pretty rough, especially with one eye not quite open yet (it opened the next morning!).

11-4 runt puppy with staph infection

I decided to try supplementing her in the hopes that she will start to thrive. She took to it immediately, slurping and gnawing at the syringe tip, demanding more. I wish I could get a picture of her with milk mouth and a full belly, but I’m always on the clock while Bell is out. This picture gives you an idea of how much smaller she is than the others.

11-4 puppy pile


Part of my hesitation in naming them is that when I named the last litter at about this age, one of the puppies who had been struggling but holding his own didn’t make it. But I’m a second guesser and a wish-I-had-er, and a person who struggles to let go of history and still believes in jinxes, so for now, they shall all remain nameless until I’m certain we’re out of the woods.

Meanwhile, if you’re nearby and want to help, I’m always looking for people to come walk/babysit Bell so I can work with the puppies. Just Facebook message or text me if you’re available.

Before I introduce you to the ten-pack, I have to tell you a little about Houdini/Hot Diggity, since he’s now been here more than a week. I took him to an adoption event on Sunday where he charmed the masses and kissed lots of babies (and displayed his team loyalty).

His sweet, friendly nature is remarkable for a dog who has not had a charmed life to date. His appetite speaks to either a hound nature or the fact that he quite literally almost starved to death from the deadly combo of shelter stress and worms. He is driven to find food and every crinkling bag or hand in a pocket mean (to his mind) that there are treats to be had.

He has a super soft, white coat, but his spots are beginning to appear more everyday as he gets healthier and happier. Now there is a faint smattering of light brown spots all over his back that had previously been lily-white, and the black spots on his face are darkening.

He gets along beautifully with every dog he’s met; he and Fanny have enjoyed lengthy bouts of face-wrestling, many happy hours snuggling, and short games of chase (Houdini does not have Fanny’s stamina).

He is appropriately respectful of Gracie, and when he met tiny Kakuna at the adoption event, he was captivated and invited her to play but backed away when she said enough was enough.


This boy is a doll baby and would make the perfect family dog. Other than his stellar counter-surfing skills (he stole a loaf of home-baked bread off the counter) and one roll-in-horse-poop episode, I have no complaints. Adopt this boy quick, he won’t last long!

rescue foster dog

And now, let me introduce you to the PA Pups, for now we’ll go by collar color and markings:

This is a little boy puppy whose most alarming characteristic is that he squeals like a pig whenever I pick him up!

This is the puppy that everyone always notices. He looks like a panda bear and his skin beneath that white coat is black, making him look (to me) like he’s always dirty. He is very strong and usually laying on the top of the pile. (I added that last picture because every time I look at it, I think he looks more like a hedgehog – also that already pointy nose makes me think these will be long-nosed dogs because usually at this age their noses are still very smashed in.)

This is the pink collar girl puppy who is simply gorgeous – I expect a stampede of adopters for this girl.

This yellow collar pup is a gorgeous shade of caramel brown and he’s a boy!

This light green collar boy is a rich chocolate color (maybe this is Hershey?).

Dark Green Collar boy is another stunner.

This is the biggest pup – huge, fuzzy, black with white marking similar to his mother. I think this one is the mini-me of Bell. (there’s one mommy mini-me in every litter.)

Blue collar is a girl version of the big boy.

Orange collar is another dark brown boy with gorgeous eyebrows!

And then there is my little darling who slurped up another helping of milk replacer this morning and is sporting a plump little belly on her skinny frame. Not that I want to jinx anything, but she is a little fighter, so I’m holding out hope.

11-5 runt snuggled with big puppy

Thanks for reading!


If you’d like regular updates all my foster dogs past and present, and to find out if my house will be invaded by puppies this week, but sure to join the Facebook group, Another Good Dog.

For more information on me, my writing, and my upcoming book, One Hundred Dogs and Counting: One  Woman, Ten Thousand Miles, and a Journey into the Heart of Shelters and Rescues, visit

And if you’d like to know where all these dogs come from and how you can help solve the crisis of too many unwanted dogs in our shelters, visit

Our family fosters through the all-breed rescue, Operation Paws for Homes, a network of foster homes in Virginia, Maryland, D.C., and south-central PA.

Another Good Dog coverRecently released from Pegasus Books and available anywhere books are sold: Another Good Dog: One Family and Fifty Foster Dogs.

I love to hear from readers and dog-hearted people! Email me at




9 thoughts on “Mostly Fat and Happy in PA”

  1. I just love their mom with her Dusty T. Dog face. ❤ As for naming the puppies — it was the custom in China NOT to name children until they were a year old. By then they all had nicknames like "first born," "second girl," or "little fatty."

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It is my mission to empty shelters, or at least reduce them to the numbers they were built to hold so no more dogs die because of lack of space. Spay/neuter is a critical piece of the solution. Thanks for reading!


  2. Love the word “chunkeroo”! Hope the bitty girl (runt) is feeling better and eating well. Wish I was there to help with Bella. I like puppies, but my heart goes out to adult dogs. Hope Diggity (and Daisy) find their families soon, but glad that Miss Fanny is keeping him busy.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I wish you were here to help with Bell too! Chunkeroos is exactly what my tiny girl’s siblings are. I’m going to try to make a video soon with them so you can see for yourself! They are so fuzzy and fat!


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