adopters, foster dogs, fostering

Happy Endings Never Get Old

I’ve put off this post, not because I didn’t think it was going to work, but because I didn’t want to put undue pressure on anyone. This one really felt meant to be, but until I got first reports, I thought it best to stay mum.

Moose was adopted! I’m super excited that this special boy is going to get the life he deserves.

The match really felt meant to be, at least to me. When I took Moose to their house to meet his potential adopters, Moose seemed to know he was home. Up until that point, he’d been a bit wild each time he met people – charging (as he was trained to do by his previous owner’s ex-husband), jumping, barking, basically scaring the bejezzus out of people upon introduction. He’d been getting better, but was a work in progress.

Thankfully, he was all bluster and bark and no bite.

However, when I pulled into their drive, Moose sat up tall and looked out the window expectantly, but didn’t lose his cool. When I pulled him out of the car, he didn’t bark or growl or do any of his nonsense. I had asked the adopters to basically ignore him at first while we talked a distance apart. I expected Moose would need some calming and redirecting. Instead, he whined happily, eyeing the adopters and their yard. Moments later, he met them calmly without barking or jumping or bluster.

We chatted and took Moose inside. He snooped around calmly going from room to room. And then he rejoined us and sat down with his new dad for some pets, as if to say, “I’m good. This is just what I wanted.”

I didn’t leave Moose that day because there were still details to work out – application, adoption fees, and a vet appointment for a microchipping and work on his overly long toenails. Once everything was in place, though, I drove Moose over to his new home and he trotted right inside, only glancing back briefly to see if I was following.

It’s a good match and a happy ending, but…it could have turned out much differently.

Having just returned from another shelter tour with Who Will Let the Dogs Out, which included my 100th shelter visit, I am here to tell you that there is a crisis in our southern states. Every shelter and rescue we encounter is overwhelmed. The kennels are full and the waiting lists are long. One dog goes out and three come in.

Shelters that haven’t had to euthanize for space in a decade are facing the very real possibility and the places whose save rate numbers had been improving are stagnating or going down. Rescues are overwhelmed.

The solutions are not easy and while I still believe they are doable, I know that at this moment in history, everyone is struggling. The perfect storm caused by the pandemic, veterinary shortage, housing crisis, and economy is like the bulge in the snake. It will take some time to get past this and back to where we were before it began.

And meanwhile, too many lives hang in the balance.

One thing that can make a difference is fostering.

Getting dogs out of shelters (or keeping them out), gives shelters time/space/resources to help the dogs they have. It keeps everyone, dogs especially, from feeling the overwhelm.

So, if you have ever had a little niggling thought, “maybe I could foster…”, now is the time to act on it.

It’s too easy to say, I’ll foster after the kids move out/I retire/my job settles down/we have more space. There will always be an excuse and if you wait until it is easy, you may never do it. There just is no Easy button in life.

Reach out to your local shelter or rescue and find out how you can get involved. Fostering saves lives. You can be a lifesaver.

Look at this happy boy (and happy adopters). The shelter had said they would euthanize him, instead fostering saved his life.

Update from adopters: “Things are great. He has settled in and he and Wade are best friends. Knock on wood, he hasn’t torn anything up or had any accidents. Lol. He sleeps with us and he’s not a bed hog, just wants to be near us. He is such a blessing and I can’t imagine him not being a part of our family.”

We’ve fostered over 200 animals now, and this kind of happy ending never gets old. If you need help finding an organization to foster for, reach out – I’m happy to help.

And if you have questions or need advice or a little arm-twisting, let me know.


Until Each One Has a Home,


For information on me, my writing, and books, visit

If you’d like regular updates of all our foster dogs past and present, plus occasional dog care/training tips, and occasional foster cat updates (!) 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 and subscribe to our blog where we share stories of our travels to shelters, rescues, and dog pounds.

If you can’t get enough foster dog stories, check out my book: Another Good Dog: One Family and Fifty Foster Dogs. Or its follow up that takes you to the shelters in the south One Hundred Dogs & Counting: One Woman, Ten Thousand Miles, and a Journey Into the Heart of Shelters and Rescues.

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

14 thoughts on “Happy Endings Never Get Old”

  1. So happy for Moose! I wish rescues/shelters would get together with local newspapers to print stories and possibly round up some help. You rarely see shelter stories only on the Dodo. Maybe it would help having routine once a month stories from a variety of rescues/shelters. Our local news channel use to bring on a couple dogs once a month but I haven’t seen this in years. For most “out of sight is out of mind”.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m glad. I needed to it too. It’s been so hard to be out of the fostering game more or less, this last year and a half. I can’t wait to get back to fostering all the time. It feeds my heart and makes the hard stories bearable.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Thank you, Cara! I so appreciate the amazing work you are doing. I started fostering after reading Another Good Dog (45 kittens and 1 puppy so far with my first adult dog coming next week) and now I’m halfway through One Hundred Dogs & Counting. I’m so inspired by you!

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I’m now in that phase (which you will recognize) of trying to figure out what more I can do. Yesterday I had the fun of shopping for Amber’s Halfway Home on their Amazon Wish List. Next I’d like to promote one of the South Carolina groups to my FB friends. Even though I’m in California, I have a ton of friends who either live or vacation in SC. Could you recommend a rescue or shelter there with an Amazon Wish List that could really use a boost right now? Feel free to email me at if that’s more appropriate for this conversation. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  3. The shelter where I volunteer is overwhelmed too….turning away people who want to turn their dog in and just putting them on the waiting list. I never thought I’d see that, as we’re supposed to be open admission. It’s horrible for all the reasons you mentioned, plus the staffing shortages we’re facing nation-wide. (I hope we never shut the whole economy down again, we’ll be paying for that for many, many more years.) Thanks for all you do to help dogs like Moose, and for sharing his happy ending. I needed to hear that.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Things are tough at every shelter I know – and not just in the south. It’s going to take more people like you and me stepping in to help. Everyone can do something to help us through the current crisis, but beyond that we’ve got to put solutions in place. As my friend Aubrie (author of a book by the same name about no-kill) – It’s not rocket science. We should have fixed this problem long before now. Thanks for all you do to save lives.

      Liked by 1 person

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