Dixieland, Dogs with Issues, foster dogs, fostering, Pigweed, puppies

No Such Thing as a Perfect Puppy

Just about the time I get tired of so much poop so many kisses, the puppies take off for their forever homes. All eight have forever families waiting to adopt them this weekend. If all goes as planned, I’ll be scrubbing out an empty puppy pen by Sunday afternoon.

The puppies had quite a few final adventures this week. They were visited and loved upon by a group of girl scouts on Sunday afternoon. It was a win-win. The pups were helping the girls fulfill some badge requirements, and the girls were helping to wear out the pups in preparation for their microchipping.

The microchip needle is VERY big and puppies are small, add a bit of squirmy to that equation and Continue reading “No Such Thing as a Perfect Puppy”

Barkalona, Billie Jean, booktour, Breakfast Pups, Fannie, foster dogs, fostering, Frankie, Hamilton puppies, Okeriete, puppies, Snapdragon

Being (kind of) Famous

I’m still figuring out this being famous gig.

Not that I’m famous in the everyone-knows-my-name way, but famous enough to have my bad-hair picture splashed across the centerfold of the New York Post, my book mentioned in People Magazine, a live interview with the “most listened to pet talk radio show in the country” and lots of dear family and friends turning out for my book launch.

It’s exciting and overwhelming and humbling.

I don’t know how to say thank you enough, and truth be told, I feel a bit guilty. I know of SO MANY amazing people at OPH and its partner shelters who are doing so much more than me and my little foster home. But I’m grateful that I can do what I do, knowing that it’s only because of so many other people, not the least of which is my husband Nick and my three kids who have suffered through the poop and the plunder. Just this morning Grits destroyed one of Brady’s socks and Billie Jean got the other.


Before I give you the reality of my past week, I have to say one thing – I AM NOT COMPLAINING.

I’m not.

Seriously, I’m beyond thrilled.

But while it might have looked great online, there were plenty of moments when I was well aware that I’m really not that important! The dogs helped out a bit in hammering home that point. Continue reading “Being (kind of) Famous”

Chuggy Alabaster, fosterdogs, oph, Pigweed

Meet the Real Chuggy Alabaster

DSC_2160Fiona, the puppy formerly known as Pigweed, took off for her forever home. Chuggy (and the rest of us) are missing her. Minutes before her adopters arrived, she and Chuggy had one last King/Queen of the Frank Bed battle and I captured it for posterity. My phone is clogged with these videos because every time I witnessed them I wanted to share them with the world, but despite my best intentions and most likely, because of my limited technical abilities, they remain trapped on my phone. You’ll have to stop by if you want to watch any others.

Life got much easier this morning. As cute as they are, Pigweed and the rest of the puppies were a LOT of work. Chuggy is not. He is a delightful and gracious house guest. I’m afraid the puppies have been upstaging him during his time here, so let me properly introduce him.

First off, Chuggy Alabaster has more expressions than your average dog. Sometimes he can look at you like he knows exactly what you’re thinking, and once more, he agrees with you. Continue reading “Meet the Real Chuggy Alabaster”

Chuggy Alabaster, fosterdogs, oph, Pigweed, puppies, Uncategorized

A Puppy and a Puppy-sized Dog

Big weekend here. Four out of five puppies took off for their forever homes.

It was fun to see the happy faces – especially the kids. Puppy adopters are my favorite people because they are always bubbling over with excitement. I mean, who isn’t over-the-moon happy to be taking home an adorable puppy? I’m sure some of that happy might wear off after a few days of cleaning up poo on the carpet, but for that 30 minutes or so when they are here meeting their puppy and signing the papers and taking pictures, they are THE happiest. And that’s fun to see.

Makes me smile now just thinking about it. I loved watching Sneezewort (now Cooper) jumping all over his new boys and Snap Dragon (now Rocky) giving his new mom a face bath. The grins on the faces of Foxglove’s (now Teddy) new mommy and daddy practically split their faces and seeing the dreams come true for one teenager when she snuggled Begonia (now Calypso) simply made my day.



(I picked a really sad face pic for this just so you’d say, “awe…..”)

And that leaves Pigweed alone. It was a long, tough night for that little girl. We’ve learned she can bay like a hound when she is VERY sad. She goes home to her VERY excited forever family on Friday. This morning Ian said, “Next time we do puppies, can you make sure they ALL go home on the same day.”

Yuppers. That would be ideal.


I had tried to head off this predicament by claiming a very small foster dog. Chuggy Alabaster (and who can resist a name like that?) arrived on Saturday afternoon. He’s a pug/Chihuahua cross and weighs a little less than Pigweed, my smallest puppy.  He’s got a smashed in, turn up nose which is a perfect combo of the two breeds, plus a mini-Superman build – svelte waist and broad chest. He’s about a year old and has lots of small dog energy. The perfect playmate, right? Continue reading “A Puppy and a Puppy-sized Dog”

Begonia, fosterdogs, Foxglove, Lilliana's puppies, oph, Pigweed, puppies, Snapdragon, Sneezewort

Carpe Diem Because There’s No Such Thing as a Perfect Puppy

DSC_1959Never a dull moment. That’s what I can say about fostering. Especially puppies.

Two of my puppies have been playing musical chairs in terms of adopters the entire time I’ve had them. First they have an adopter, then they don’t. I’m always extra nice to the currently unadopted puppy- as if they know it – more snuggles, extra treats.

There’s been one puppy available for adoption pretty much the entire time I’ve had the bunch, but which puppy it is has changed too many times to count. First it was Begonia, then Snap Dragon, then Pigweed, then back to Snap Dragon, and now we’re back to Pigweed. But Pigweed may be available just a wee bit longer. She’s going to need a special adopter.

Let me back up. Continue reading “Carpe Diem Because There’s No Such Thing as a Perfect Puppy”

fosterdogs, Hadley, Lilliana's puppies, oph, puppies, Uncategorized

Hadley 2.0: the evolution of a frightened foster dog

DSC_1764So, everything I read said we should wait for Hadley to come out of her crate on her own. And I get that. She is insecure and needs to know she has a safe place to go to, but here’s the thing – some of us need to be pushed from the nest.

Personally, I’m not a huge fan of change. I like to have my little routine in my little world. Things like software updates, new technology, attending public events, even parties make me anxious. There’s no avoiding most of them, so I plunge ahead, stuffing my worries and nerves aside. And you know what? Almost always it goes well. And then I’m happily chatting with new people or marveling at how much easier my work is with this new whiz-bang system. I wasn’t going to venture out of my crate on my own, but once you force me – hey, this is pretty great!

I think Hadley and I are kindred spirits on this one.

Three days ago, I let her out of her crate in the morning and then I closed it behind her. At first, she seemed worried. She clamored up on her couch cushion cave and hunkered down. But now it’s been three days and she is boldly trotting through the kitchen, snagging a bag of cookies abandoned by some kid, and slinking back to the couch, hoping we don’t notice. Nick follows her out and retrieves the cookies and a moment later she is back, sniffing around the backpacks.

I had to shut Gracie’s crate also because Hadley would only take up residence there, so Gracie claimed the Frank bed. The first time Hadley attempted to join her there, Gracie snarled and Hadley scooted away, but an hour later, Hadley boldly claimed her portion of the bed and Gracie backed down.


Taking Hadley out this morning, she fearlessly approached one of the cats and was game to chase it if it weren’t for that silly leash. Next she grabbed a stick and carried it around with her as we toured the yard.

Who is this dog?

The puppies have also been key to Hadley’s recent blossoming. She LOVES the puppies. As Looney Tunes Abominable Snow Rabbit would say, she’d like to hug them and love them and name them George. To keep the puppies safe from Hadley’s overly enthusiastic affection, we take the same approach we did when an older sibling wanted to hold the newest baby we brought home. We get her comfortable on the couch and then we hand her the swaddled infant, or in this case the wiggling bundle of happy. Then we supervise the interaction.


For their part, the puppies LOVE Hadley, climbing over and under her, lounging on top of her, chewing her tail, and giving her all manner of kisses. We have to keep all the action up on the couch and supervised because Hadley can get overly excited and forget her size, plus Gracie is pretty much the neighborhood bully who trots by, snarling mean threats at them.

Sneezewort REALLY loves Hadley
Foxglove and Pigweed playing tag overtop Hadley
Snap Dragon and Foxglove doubleteaming Hadley


Pigweed gets a little too wild and is subjected to the big dog smack down

It’s so awesome to see Hadley’s fun side, it makes up for the walks where I have to carry her back because she is overcome with what can only be described as a panic attack and she flattens herself against the ground and refuses to move. Fear still rules her days, but hopefully when forced to face a few of her fears, she’s learning that her fear is pretty unfounded and once more, there’s treats out there in the big bad world, plus gentle touches, cats to chase, puppies to wrestle, and ear buds to munch.

The puppies have all now been claimed by adopters, so there’s no pressure to advertise their cuteness, still I can’t resist and regularly toss out the better pics on Facebook and twitter. They have a growing number of fans all over the world

Foxglove – big handsome boy
Pigweed – can’t take a bad picture of this gorgeous pup
Begonia and Sneezewort
Everybody’s sleeping but Snap Dragon – he’ll make the best watch dog.
My favorite sight of all!
Begonia, fosterdogs, Foxglove, Hadley, Lilliana's puppies, oph, Pigweed, puppies, Snapdragon, Sneezewort


The puppies have arrived! The cuteness is pretty much unbearable, so it’s good that they stink pretty bad.


At five weeks, they have no qualms about walking through, playing with, or even sleeping upon each other’s poops. I’m trying to stay on top of it (so to speak), but with the Christmas chaos, visitors, my own work, Hadley, GRACIE (no, we haven’t forgotten our own personal pup), and the fact that I have to bake six dozen cookies and package them beautifully for a cookie exchange tonight, it’s pretty much impossible to keep them poop-free.

My five little charms are half of the litter of pups that I witnessed Lily give birth to back in November. They are growing fast and resemble little bear cubs. While I’ve only had them 24 hours, here’s what I can tell you about them as individuals- Continue reading “Puppies!!”