dog rescue, fosterdogs, fostering, puppies, transport, Who Will Let the Dogs Out

Meet the Pep Boys- Manny, Mo, and Jack!

I’m not a night owl, so when I saw the transport time to pick up my puppies, I joined the chorus of grumbling that came from pretty much everyone whose new foster dog was on the last stop scheduled to arrive at 11:30pm Friday. Normally, transport arrives around 9:30 (although one recent transport didn’t arrive until closer to 1am thanks to traffic on 95). I am generally sound asleep by 9:30, so that was already pushing it, but 11:30?

I registered my unhappiness but accepted that it wasn’t within my realm of control. I’ve long ago come to grips with the fact that fostering can be a lot of things and one of those is inconvenient.

Friday night, we had a nice send-off dinner for my oldest who was moving to Phoenix the next day for a job and then I settled in to binge watch Pitbulls and Paroles until it was time to go. In the end, transport arrived at 10:45; somehow like the pilots flying east, they made up time in the air.

Our three newest residents claim to have come from the same litter, but there is no physical evidence. It was midnight when we got home, so they each got a quick bath before being turned loose in the puppy room. Watching them buzz around like the escaped convicts they were, Nick commented that we should call them the Pep Boys. The name stuck, so let me introduce you to The Pep Boys—Manny, Mo, and Jack!


They were born on September 28, 2019, which makes them just over four months old. The intake vet in Mississippi labeled them ‘shepherds’ and while I question what was in his coffee mug that morning, we have to go with that label. OPH policy is to stick with the breed listed by the examining vet at the original shelter. Because these pups will likely top out at 15-25 pounds, their ‘shepherd’ label may lead to a bit of confusion.

If I were a betting woman (I’m not) or very good at guessing breeds based on appearance (which I am decidedly not), I’d say these pups are corgi-chihuahua mix. Jack’s nubby tail and Mo’s elongated, stubby-legged body combined with the intense enthusiasm of all three are what my only argument for that breed mix. I’ve learned, time and again, that we truly have no idea. Having never met the parents, the best we can do is go by puppy weight for size and treat each dog as the individual it is.

The puppy growth chart (whether they are corgi-mixes or shepherds – I checked both) says Mo will be only ten pounds at full weight and the other two will be more like 16 pounds. Either way, for my money, these are going to be more like puppy-dolls than full-on dogs.

Manny is the only girl. She’s a gorgeous butterscotch color with a white striped down her face that widens at her nose. She is tall (for a small dog)—all legs. She reminds me of our dog Gracie when she was a puppy – tiny head with big brown eyes. She is the shyest of the three, generally hanging back when they rush the gate each time I enter. She keeps to herself, claiming the crate and leaving the boys to sleep outside on the extra bed I added when it became apparent she wasn’t sharing her space. She’s an excellent snuggler and quite happy to leave the crazy boys behind to sit in my lap.

Mo is the tiny blond boy. He has stumpy legs and an elongated body and the skin on his legs tends to pile up like an elephant’s, or maybe a Corgi’s. He has lots of playful energy and holds his own in wrestling matches with Jack even though Jack has four pounds on him. Mo is a busy boy and when Nancy tried to get pictures of him, it proved challenging. He didn’t like the camera pointed at him and bounded out of the picture at every opportunity. Mo is a lover and Ian says he’s the best pup for television watching. (Mo watched a good portion of the Superbowl in his lap.)

Jack is something else. Entirely. He looks like a miniature Rottweiler, right down to the tail nub. He is downright gorgeous and he knows it. When Nancy aimed the camera at him, he was happy to pose for hours which is kind of funny to me since he’s usually the wild one in this bunch. Jack is a full-on pup. At just eleven pounds and four months of age, he’s not going to be a big dog anywhere but in his mind. He will likely be that big dog in a small dog body. He bosses his siblings and commands attention from anyone in the room. He is confident and happy and ready to take on the world.

Cleaning up after these tiny guys seems simple after Bell’s brood. They all love toys and happily entertain themselves for hours. They’ve been excellent about using the puppy pads and sleep through the night. There’s never a peep out of them until Fanny greets them in the morning and causes a ruckus that doesn’t end until breakfast is served.

This little gang is looking for forever homes so if you know someone who is looking for an adorable, energetic puppy that will grow up to be a small dog, please tell them about the Pep Boys!

Many of you know about the initiative I started with Nancy Slattery called Who Will Let the Dogs Out. This week we began a teespring campaign selling t-shirts and sweatshirts to raise funds to purchase supplies for the shelters we will visit on our next trip which leaves March 1. You can see all the Who Will Let the Dogs Out gear at teespring. The sale goes through Feb 14!

Thanks for reading!

Cara Sue Achterberg with pupCara

If you’d like regular updates of all my foster dogs past and present, plus occasional dog care/training tips from OPH training, 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 (available now for preorder!), 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 coverIf you can’t get enough foster dog stories, check out my book: Another Good Dog: One Family and Fifty Foster Dogs . It’s available anywhere books are sold.

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

Many of the pictures on my blog are taken by photographer Nancy Slattery. If you’d like to connect with Nancy to take gorgeous pictures of your pup (or your family), contact:

17 thoughts on “Meet the Pep Boys- Manny, Mo, and Jack!”

  1. Nancy’s photos of those cuties had me laughing out loud! They are all so photogenic. But Nancy is a master photographer too. 🙂


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