fosterdogs, fostering, Long Term Dog, writing

Now What? You Tell Me

I’m in a quandary about what to write on this blog.

I could tell you about Otis, also known as Otis-Potis, Otis-the-mostest, and occasionally Otie-oat or Otis-Blotis (as he was called last night after he ate his own and then Fanny’s dinner and waddled about with great joy and an unwieldy pregnant belly).

Otis is proving to be a remarkable puppy, and as his proud mom, I could chatter on for days about his exceptionalism. But that’s not what you’re here for, is it?

With the puppy room completely renovated and re-purposed, Mia entering her tenth month with us, and no new fosters on the horizon, I’m not sure what to do. Take a break? Write about dogs in general? Evaluate dog products? Interview dog-people? Check-in with former foster dogs? Reflect on six years of fostering dogs?

So, what would you like me to write about?

I’m absolutely open to suggestions.

I enjoy writing this weekly post and enjoy the connection with readers and dog-hearted people. I’d like to keep on with my Tuesday (which, like today, occasionally gets pushed to Wednesday) posts. It’s a good writing discipline, plus it’s connected me to so many interesting people, many of whom feel like good friends even though I’ve never met you in person.

Of course, I’ll let you know about Mia’s adventures, but what else would you like to hear about? If you’ve got questions about fostering, foster dogs, dog books, or anything dog related, please lay them on me. As I cast about for topics, I welcome your input.

I do have a couple big dog-projects in the works, and plan to share at least one of them soon.

A few vignettes of Mia’s week:

On Saturday, Mia met a three-year-old. While OPH recommends she not go to a home with small children, that is only a recommendation based on her excitability, not a real danger. Still, I was curious to see her reaction to a tiny person.

When we got out of the car, she spotted the family that included a 12-year-old and the 3-year-old. She barrelled towards them and I braced myself for impact.

Instead, she pulled up at the last minute and stood calmly before them, accepted their pets. She twirled a bit, giving them access to all her sides. I looked back at Nick, who was waiting in the car with Fanny and said, “I’ve never seen this dog before!”

Because I hadn’t. Mia LOVES meeting new people. We have been working hard on the don’t-tackle-our-new-friends ability, but progress has been sporadic at best and it’s not a skill I would say she has mastered to any serious degree.

Somehow, maybe because she’s been a mama multiple times, she sensed that this was a child, not a short adult, and she dialed it back.

I was reminded once again that she is a remarkable dog.

Compare that greeting with her reunion with Brady, our oldest who came for dinner on Monday. She hadn’t seen Brady in several weeks. I think the affection is more than mutual.

Knowing she would demand his full attention, and because as his mother-who-missed-him, I wanted his attention; I put Mia in her crate before he arrived. After he’d given and received the appropriate hugs, began perusing his stack of New Yorkers that had accumulated since he hasn’t changed his official address, and Mia’s whining had died down to a steady quiet moan, I released her.

She was on him in two leaps and he joyfully fell to the ground to allow her to snuffle him all over, her tail going a mile a minute banging into the chair legs painfully. She licked his hair, his head, his neck, his sides, while he lay on the ground shielding his face and waiting for the onslaught to lessen. Otis couldn’t resist the party and commenced jumping on him also, adding his own affections to this person he didn’t know but whom clearly was worth celebrating. (The video begins when Otis piled on.)

Mia has the strongest, fastest, most constant wiggle-wag imaginable, but what always impresses me is the nonstop joy even in the face of admonishments (“Stop licking me!” “OFF!!” “Calm down so I can get this leash on you!”). She simply won’t let you rain on her happy. Her joy is relentless.

photo by Nancy Slattery

Thanks for reading!


For information on me, my writing, and books, visit where you can also find more information on my new book, One Hundred Dogs and Counting: One  Woman, Ten Thousand Miles, and a Journey into the Heart of Shelters and Rescues, (Pegasus Books, July 2020).

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.

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 where you can follow the blog that shares stories or find the link to our brand new podcast!

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.

If 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:

15 thoughts on “Now What? You Tell Me”

  1. I would suggest that you keep blogging on here about Otis and Mia’s antics and progress towards better behavior, keep sharing stories about how they do when meeting people of various ages and how you tried to control the interaction as best you could, perhaps update us on past foster dogs, do some reflecting on your years of fostering in PA, and as you said, keep us posted on future dog-related projects you’re working on. In the past you’d sometimes blog more than once a week or once a day, so I’d encourage you not to feel that you have to keep the entries on here to just once a week. We like reading your posts, so keep them coming when you can. Keep doing your part for man’s best friend.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Sounds good. And perhaps you could also write posts, from your years of experience with foster dogs, on how to deal with certain problematic behaviors commonly found in dogs with limited training or from abusive backgrounds. Things like helping a hand-shy dog come to accept your gentle touches and necessary control on the other end of a leash (a past dog of yours, Hitch, was one that came to my mind here as he initially pulled away when you’d affectionately reach for him, but soon grew to trust you, and of course Daisy and her issues with men), or things you did to show the more high-strung and bolder foster dogs that you were always top dog and not them. A dog who quickly submits to their owner’s loving but firm authority is a lot easier to keep forever than one who doesn’t, as the dominant ones can always up the ante and become dangerous to have in the home. A problem like that needs to be seen to quickly. I know you’ve learned a lot about dog behavior and ownership during your years of fostering. Looking forward to reading what you have to say.


  2. Hi Cara,
    I’ve been following along for a while and am thinking about starting to foster myself now that I’m finally living in a pet-friendly place (but still in no place to commit to owning a dog as a gal in my early 20s). I’d love a post about starting to foster, especially for those of us who are renters, don’t have a fenced yard, etc.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I thank it’s wonderful that Mia has so much love to give and share it just made me smile inside and out. I think you should just keep doing all that you mentioned, review pet products , talk about your dogs the ones you own and the ones you foster. Just your every day dog life is interesting.


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