Boarding Buddies, Breeds, dog rescue, foster dogs, fostering

Fostering Our Way Through This Crazy Time

If it were for nearly any other reason, I’d probably be enjoying the ‘social distancing’ as it’s giving me plenty of time to write, read, and hang out with the dogs.

As it is, the whole situation is heartbreaking as I watch my son’s senior year disappear.

His swim relay made states and was ranked number one, only to arrive for their day of competition just as the tournament was canceled. Now his track and field season, soccer season, and musical are all at least postponed and possibly canceled. Let’s not even think about prom or graduation. UGH.

To brighten his spirits, I showed him a picture of a dog currently in OPH boarding named Siobhan, his dream dog, a Husky.


(Pronounced Shi-von – I know this because one of my elementary school friends was Siobhan and I remember being fascinated that her name was pronounced nothing like it was spelled.)

Ian has two dream dog breeds – Husky and Great Dane. I’ve avoided Husky’s because they have a reportedly serious prey drive and we have chickens, and Great Dane’s because, well, the potty training piece. The other reason I haven’t picked up fosters of these breeds is because they generally don’t have any trouble finding willing fosters (or adopters).

Due to unforeseen circumstances, Siobhan’s original foster home fell through and she landed in boarding. Add to that situation, she is heartworm positive and can’t begin treatment until she is in a foster home.

I told Ian we’d go out and visit her, but likely someone else will speak up for her, so we wouldn’t need to bring her home.

She turned out to be a love. And, of course, Ian was in love.

So, this morning, when I got word that she still needed a foster home, I told him we could try her out. If she fits in with our current pack (Gracie, Fanny, Shennanigans, plus a new foster I committed to who arrives on Sunday), we will foster her, but she will be his foster dog. He will be doing the walking and the cleaning up after, if necessary. Of course, with school, practice, and the show canceled indefinitely, he has nothing but time on his hands.

Meanwhile, Shenanigans is the ultimate lovebug. He does not understand about personal space or his size. He is over forty pounds and only six months old. We still have some growing to do and it almost seems like it’s happening daily. He doesn’t seem aware of this and regularly climbs into laps and trips over his growing limbs.

He’s gotten very good about crate time and is making progress but still not quite perfect with house-training. Lucky for him, we tore out the carpet in our living room recently to address a mold problem, so there’s not too much damage he can do.

He and Fanny get along famously, wrestling for hours on end, even from a prone position when they exhaust themselves.


Gracie treats him like the little brother she never wanted. Whenever she lounges on the Frank bed and he joins her for a snuggle, she immediately gets up, shakes her head in disgust and moves somewhere else to sleep. He is undeterred and takes no offense, joining her again and again when she finds comfy spot and backing her up whenever she barks at anything out the window or in her imagination.

As if four dogs aren’t enough, we plan to add another foster dog on Sunday. Sun Salutation is a little hound dog who arrived more than a month ago, desperately underweight. She’s gained weight and her health with another foster and will join us this week in search of her forever family.


Which means we may have quite a pack by the end of the week. Stay tuned. Or join the Another Good Dog Facebook group for daily updates.

Cara Sue Achterberg with pupThanks for reading!


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, 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:

6 thoughts on “Fostering Our Way Through This Crazy Time”

  1. Huskies are wonderful dogs and since you have so many other dogs there, she will be happy. The prey drive is legit as is the escape artist thing, though. I’m really happy for Ian. A husky is some compensation for all that he may miss — but really missing all that, as awful as it seems (and my heart goes out to him; I remember how important it was so long ago) is not as bad as missing out on a future. ❤

    Liked by 1 person

      1. They are not large dogs — though the males can be. Cody was 75 pounds. Huskies will talk to you. If you start howling (or play wolf howls) she’ll probably join in. It means so much to them. There are four at the end of a path I take sometimes. and if I start howling, they all come the the fence and howl (sing!) with me. It’s the most wonderful, unifying, harmonious, fantastic human/dog moment I know. There’s all the yearning and love in the universe in that magical timeless song. How old is she? I’m so tempted to drive to PA and meet you and adopt her.

        I miss mine so much. Sometimes I just howl for the hell of it. I should come and adopt her, but she needs someone more active than I can be. 😦

        Liked by 1 person

  2. She is pretty amazing (and gorgeous). Ian is really enjoying her, actually, we all are. She LOVES to be outside and races for the door if you even look in that direction. She is five years old and obviously has been used for breeding. She’ll undergo heartworm treatment while she is with us so we’ll have her for about another month, maybe longer depending on when her treatment is scheduled. Seems like she’ll be a wonderful guest and I have no doubt she’ll have adopters lining up for her.


  3. I’m so sorry for your son! I know so many people are suffering from this…job loss, health issues that can’t be addressed for a while, etc. But I still remember how important all those things are for young people, and I know he must be very disappointed!


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