dog rescue, foster dogs, fostering, litters, puppies, Runt

One Hundred Percent Chance of Mutt

So…..puppies! Now that Houdini is safely launched and Flannery is thriving in her new home, we can talk about puppies!

Everyone keeps asking me what breed they are and the only answer I have is 100% mutt. If you can think of a breed, I can probably find some evidence for it amongst these ten puppies. They are all so different!

Some have short hair, some long hair, and some fuzzy hair. They arrived in a rainbow of colors – black, chocolate, brown, mocha, tan, white, and gray. Some of the puppies have a thick density to them and others are light-boned. The two black puppies might look similar in photos, but one is fuzzy and stocky, and the other is short-haired and leggy. I keep color collars on them, but it’s easy to distinguish one from the other. There is something for everyone in this crowd.

Nancy was here for a photo shoot over the weekend and as she snapped away, we both remarked repeatedly that these puppies are gonna overwhelm you all with their cuteness. The adorableness is quite nearly unbearable. In fact, we are hoping to put together a calendar of their cuteness to raise money for our next shelter tour (in February!).

Bell has happily moved on to the weaning process, and I’m getting much more time with the puppies (especially since cleanup is necessary pretty much every hour at a minimum. I still can’t believe I ever had twelve puppies in here.)

Bell is a happy, darling, energetic, busy dog who is still frighteningly skinny. Hopefully, once the puppies are completely weaned and we can get some more powerful wormers into her, that will change.

Here are a few photos and the little bit I can tell you about them. If you want to see them in action, check out the Another Good Dog Facebook group.

Tastykake is pretty darn gorgeous. She is fuzzy and sweet and enjoys her naps more than most. She can doze while all manner of chaos is happening around her. She is a solid puppy and one of the heaviest.

Yuengling looks a little like Tastykake except you’ll note that his head is dark, while hers is light. He’s a lighter boned version of her, but also has fuzzy fur. He is absolutely striking. If there is a most gorgeous of these gorgeous pups, it might be him, but then again beauty is in the eye of the beholder and there is just so much to behold here.

Nittany is one happy little gorgeous guy. He has short hair and the BEST nose. Nittany has a big, big appetite, but is probably in the middle on the weight range. He is a gentle guy and very sweet and friendly, almost always attached to the cuff of my jeans.

Keystone has long hair and speckled white fur, his skin beneath his fur is black which makes him look gray from a distance. He is pretty vocal and also a serious sleeper. He’s one of the bigger pups and generally in the thick of things.

Utz is the smallest besides the runt. He is light-boned and has short blond hair. What I love most about him is that he is almost always snuggling with Rocky and has done this from the beginning—sharing his warmth with her. He is a fun little guy who follows me around the pen getting in my way as I clean up.

WaWa has the markings of a rottie with short, short hair. He has excellent eyebrows and a white marking in the shape of a pawprint on his chest. He is a little quieter than the others, sometimes watching to see what the others do before jumping in whole-heartedly.


This funny girl has a lot to say. She definitely holds her own with the boys. She has her mother’s pretty countenance and long legs, and her fur is on the shorter side.


This beefcake is the largest pup. His fuzzy fur makes him look even bigger. He has the same markings as his mom and is the mini-me in this litter (there’s one in every litter). He is pretty easy-going despite his large size, and already a first-rate snuggler.


Hershey is a delicious chocolate color, hence the name. His fur is medium length and he sometimes sings in his sleep. He’s definitely all-in when it comes to meals, and likes to be in the center of the puppy piles.


Born the tiny runt in this large litter, this little girl is holding her own. That baldness you see, we believe to be the result of a staf infection she developed due to her compromised immune system. It hasn’t advanced and ever since we started her on solid food she is growing stronger every day. She is active and playful and loves me (probably because of all those supplemental feedings!). She’s still a pound or two smaller than all her siblings and is wobbly, but she doesn’t let that slow her down one bit. She still doesn’t have a lot of body fat or muscle tone, but she’s a smart, plucky little pup who always burrows to the bottom of the puppy piles to take advantage of the warmth from her fat siblings.

We’ve now moved out of the puppy box and into the full room. They are learning to use their puppy pads and like to snuggle in the little dog bed together.

I’ve had lots of inquiries about adopting one of the PA Pups. If you’re thinking you need one of these precious babes, here’s what you do:

Apply to adopt at The pups won’t appear on the site for another week or two, but you should apply now. The people already on the Puppy Waiting List will have first dibs, so get yourself on there.

Before you apply, though, think seriously about whether there is room in your life for a puppy.

Puppies can’t be left alone during the day for more than four hours, so if you don’t have a flexible work schedule, a willing family member, or money for a dog walker, you should consider adopting a dog instead.

Puppies require a LOT of time. In addition to the management and clean up, they need regular playtime and exercise. They need to be socialized with other dogs and lots of people. The more enrichment and new people/dogs/places they are exposed to in their first year, the fewer issues you will have down the road like reactivity, separation anxiety, and destructive behaviors.

You will need to provide plenty of toys, especially chew toys so that they don’t wreck your house. You will need to train them, hopefully in class settings where they can learn to listen despite distraction. If you don’t put in the time when they are young, later you will have problems.

Our rescue has had plenty of dogs returned who were adopted as puppies, not socialized or trained, and then returned to us because the adopter can’t deal with behavior that could have been easily prevented had they put the time in during that first year or two. Dogs do not speak English and don’t naturally ‘train themselves.’ It’s also a myth that an older dog will ‘train’ your puppy.

You will have to make the time and do the work. If you can’t, then please, please don’t adopt a puppy. Instead consider adopting a dog. You’ll still need to put in work to help the dog adjust to your lifestyle but it is not nearly the amount of work you’ll have to do to raise a good puppy.

Okay, enough lecturing. On to more cuteness.

Thanks for reading!


If you’d like regular updates on all my foster dogs past and present, plus more pictures and videos of the PA pups, be sure to join the Facebook group, Another Good Dog.

If you haven’t already, I hope you’ll sign up for my very occasional newsletter, although my newsletters are a rare occurrence, I’m working on a new one to go out this week!

For information on my writing and 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




20 thoughts on “One Hundred Percent Chance of Mutt”

    1. People get caught up in the cuteness, but I’m tired of hearing about another dog returned at age 1-2 with issues because the adopter didn’t put the time/training in necessary for the dog to be successful.


      1. Amen. People’s stupidity brought me a nice team of Siberian huskies. One of the huskies I adopted literally WALKED on the kitchen counters and opened the cupboards. Beautiful two year old dog with NO training. When I hired a trainer, it took six weeks and an electric collar for Cheyenne to finally notice people and their authority. She was SO HAPPY after that. Many people don’t understand that a dog WANTS to live with its people and WANTS to learn how. ❤

        Liked by 1 person

  1. Awww…..Keystone is a visual reincarnation of our wonderful Fred. Now I disagree an old dog will not train the new dog but I will agree that an old dog will HELP you train a new dog. Our Fred housebroke Misty after he figured out if she went out and did her business they both got treats. Once he figured that out, all we had to do was take Misty outside whenever Fred told us to. We didn’t have to watch Misty as all. We had no accidents after the first week.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Fred was a rescue from a northern community at age 4 months. He had been starved. The result was he was the most food motivated dog I ever met by a long shot. He would do anything to get a treat and he would eat anything except onions and orange peels if we let him. The trick to getting him to teach Misty anything was to reward him with a treat as well when she did something right.

        Liked by 2 people

  2. I have been eagerly awaiting puppy news and pictures! Thanks for delivering!
    They are so cute (fantastic pictures, btw) and sweet. I also know from experience that they are a TON of work. That you might need to totally clean their area every hour is NOT an exaggeration. (Add a picture of what the puppy room looks like in the morning next time for anyone who may think it’s all fun and cuddles, lol!) Bell and the pups are so fortunate to have ended up with you during this vulnerable time in their lives. I am excited to follow along with them as they grow.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’ve thought about posting a picture of the horror scene that is the puppy room each morning, but then I might frighten off someone who’s considering with puppy fostering. And truly, while they’re worth it, it’s much easier to do knowing it is only for a few weeks. Lucky for all, no one adopts all ten at once!


  3. Nice post. Did Flannery get adopted? I don’t remember you posting a recent update about her on here… perhaps you could do so to catch us up? I know she was a real handful for you, but a dog who did make some progress in your care. Sounds like quite the litter of puppies. What things are they named after? Hopefully they’ll find committed adoptors sooner rather than later. Puppies are definitely not for the faint of heart.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Flannery did get adopted! I’m sure I posted about it on the blog, but I’ll double check. She’s doing well. The puppies are named after Pennsylvania icons because they are my first rescue from Pennsylvania, except Seneca, she’s named after the town where they were born.


      1. Glad Flannery got adopted. I checked your recent posts, and didn’t find anything about her adoption. If you could let me know which post the news was first shared in, or write a post about the happy ending to her time at your place, I and I’m sure others would enjoy reading it. We’ve been following her progress for a long time.

        Liked by 1 person

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