Boarding Buddies, dog rescue, foster dogs, returned dogs, shelters, Volunteering

Three New Friends I Met This Week

Bell is recovering from her spay surgery. She’s sporting the cone of shame and confined to crate or kitchen, and it’s still a challenge to keep this busy dog down. I’ve never had a mama dog bounce back from this surgery so unaffected and strong.

Thankfully, she tolerates the cone, even sitting calmly for me while I try to figure out how to feed all the plastic straps in and out of the holes to keep it in place!

recovering from spay surgery

Yesterday Bell had her last romps with Fanny. They played all day long, wrestling and chasing. We had nearly eight inches of snow last week and it all melted in the sixty-degree heat this weekend so all that chasing and wrestling had to be inside since my play yard is a muddy mess.

Even so, it has been a quiet house and as I prepare for Bell to leave this week, I’m also preparing for the next foster. I chose a dog that appears to be a nice fit for us and for Fanny, but choosing a dog from blurry shelter pictures and one line of description is always dicey. We shall see.

Meanwhile, Nancy and I went to visit three OPH dogs in boarding yesterday. OPH uses several boarding facilities that give us a reduced rate. Our dogs end up in boarding for a plethora of reasons and without our boarding partners, we couldn’t do the work we do.

One of the dogs we visited is a returned dog. OPH is committed to all our dogs and doesn’t just volunteer to take them back when an adoption doesn’t work out, we make our adopters sign a contract that assures they will bring their dog back if it comes to that.

Opportune is a small, black dog, almost a miniature of Bell, except his white patches don’t have spots like Bell’s.


He weighs a good fifteen-twenty pounds less than her also. Opportune is a happy, busy, guy who had no interest in chasing the ball I threw but was happy to scarf up the treats we offered and joyfully come when we called him. He greeted us happily, jumping up with kisses. His tail never stopped wagging during our entire visit and Nancy struggled to get pictures of him as he was in constant motion.

Opportune is about two years old and weighs thirty pounds (he is smaller than his pictures make him look). He is a sweetheart, very affectionate and people-oriented. In his previous foster home he did fine with cats and was working on housetraining skills. You can learn more about him here.

We also visited with a funny, affectionate, slightly plump hound dog named Rockee. He is in boarding because his current foster home was also housing a heartworm positive dog who needed a quiet atmosphere to recover. OPH is trying to find him another foster home, but meanwhile, he is in boarding.


Rockee is another sweetheart who greeted us with kisses and tail wags just like Opportune, but he’s more mature and stately. He’s a bigger dog with probably a few more pounds on him than he needs. I’m a hound girl and I love his long silky ears and short, brindle coat. We took him in the play yard at the boarding facility and he commenced sniffing the perimeter. He was happy to lean on us for hugs and treats, but he was all hound—busy surveying the olfactory history of the yard.

We decided to take him for a little walk down to the reservoir so he could enjoy even more smells.

This guy is pretty fun, from his bio I read that he does well in a home and despite being a hound doesn’t counter surf or get into things. He’s about three, and seems to have picked up a few manners at some point in his history. You can learn more about him here.

Our last dog to visit is only at boarding temporarily while her foster is out of town. Whenever a foster parent has to go out of town, we try to find another foster home to babysit but that’s not always possible. When that happens, OPH puts that dog in boarding. If you have hesitated to foster dogs because of travel plans, rest assured we’ve got you covered so it’s safe to jump on board.

Chloie is a former mom whose puppies have all been long adopted. She’s a gorgeous sweetheart with a quick smile. She carries herself like a shepherd and is affectionate and smart. I put her through a few tricks but would guess she knows even more. She is tall and lanky and walked very nicely on a leash. I think the word on this girl is that she needs slow introductions with people and dogs. In the tiny office at Lakeside there was no time for slow introductions, but there was no need as Chloie was friendly and clearly thrilled to see us.

I was ready to put Chloie in the car and take her home myself, she’s that sweet. But with a houseful of girl dogs, one of which is seriously dog-selective it wasn’t possible. Plus, her real foster mom will be home soon, but gosh, this darling girl deserves a forever family of her own! If you think you might be that person, click here to learn more.

If fostering is out of the question for you, but you’ve wondered how you can help rescue dogs, consider being a volunteer who visits dogs—whether as a boarding buddy with OPH or at your local shelter or rescue. Frequent people interactions are crucial to the mental well-being of any dog, but even more so for a dog living in a shelter situation. The people at Lakeside are very good to our dogs, but it is basically a shelter situation and the dogs are isolated from each other in individual kennels 24 hours a day.

Human interaction can quite literally be the difference between life and death for many shelter dogs. Without frequent positive human contact, a dog who is living in a frightening situation like a noisy, unfamiliar kennel, can break down. Getting that dog out of that atmosphere for a walk or a play session or even a field trip or pupover, can help them stay emotionally stable in a tough environment. If you’ve got a few hours a week to spare, I’d encourage you to find out how you can volunteer at your local shelter or rescue and save lives.

If you’re in the OPH area, we’d love to have you join us as a boarding buddy. Boarding buddies not only visit dogs while they are in one of our boarding partner facilities, they can also take those dogs to adoption events or out for a hike at a local park. For more information, click here.

If all goes according to plan, I’ll have an adoption story for you on next week’s post, plus introduce you to our newest foster. The need is unrelenting, so as much as I’d like to, I won’t relent.

If you, or anyone you know, is looking for a new dog, please consider choosing a rescue dog. We can’t rescue our way out of this crisis of homeless dogs, but we can adopt our way out. If just one third of the people who are currently shopping breeders or pet stores, instead chose to rescue we would empty the shelters in a day. Wouldn’t that be a great day!

If you haven’t already subscribed to my occasional newsletter, please consider signing up today – I’m going to be sharing news of my upcoming book in the newsletter which will definitely hopefully go out this Thursday! Click here to subscribe.

Cara Sue Achterberg with pupThanks for reading!


If you’d like regular updates of all my foster dogs past and present, and maybe a sneak-peek at our newest foster, be sure to join the Facebook group, Another Good Dog.

For 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




10 thoughts on “Three New Friends I Met This Week”

  1. I am in awe of the work you continue to do. Looking forward to your new book. If your southern travels bring you to Chattanooga, please be in touch with me and I will be happy to introduce you to some great animal rescue people here.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I love Chattanooga! Hoping to get back there again on the next book tour! When I was there at Starline Books in 2018, I had the chance to meet a few people from the Humane Educational Society of Chattanooga.


      1. I volunteered for several years at McKamey Animal Center, the other large shelter in town that serves the city of Chatt.—Humane Ed Society serves the county. I still have lots of friends at McKamey, and would be very happy to introduce you.


  2. I am so glad to hear that Bell is doing well with her recovery and will be off to her new home soon.
    Good luck with your next foster; I can’t wait to read about all the details. Acclimating a new pup into the mix is always nerve wracking and exciting. I hope it goes well.
    The variety of the pups you visited in boarding really demonstrates how there is a pup for everyone out there in the rescue world. What 3 beautiful, wonderful, and different dogs!
    I love your description of Chloie’s “quick smile”. I have met a couple dogs with that trait and it is indeed a heartwarming one!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Rumor has it one of the three pups I met already has an adoption application! I think that if there is a ‘fun’ aspect to this work, it’s meeting so many new dogs and getting to know them. Hoping the new pup merges into our pack easily – we could use an easy one!


  3. Now I know what a bording buddy is. I’d asked you what that was when you wrote about Paul’s visits with Daisy several months ago. How is Daisy? Keep doing your part for man’s best friend. I guess you had a canine-filled Christmas?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Daisy is doing okay. Still no adopters, but she likes her foster family very much. I’m still trying to figure out how I can help her find her family before her one year anniversary in rescue next month. We had a quiet Christmas – only our two dogs and Bell. It was much needed after the hectic time with the puppies. Hope you are well.

      Liked by 1 person

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