dog rescue, foster dogs, fostering, Humane Society of Shenandoah County, oph, owner surrender, puppies, shelters, Who Will Let the Dogs Out

I Remember Puppies Now…


Ah, now I remember.

And I’m really glad I only have three as I get my puppy-raising legs back underneath me.

After several different set ups, I’ve settled on having a big area (3/4 of the room) for their awake time and a small area (1/4) for bed time, nap time, and get-them-out-of-the-way-so-I-can-clean-without-helpers time.

Continue reading “I Remember Puppies Now…”
adopters, dog rescue, foster dogs, fostering, puppies

A Good Picture Can Be the Key

A picture is worth a thousand words. Or a picture can launch a love affair. Either way, a good picture can be the key to a dog finding a family.

Often people tell me that when they saw a picture of their current dog, it was love at first sight. Capturing a dog’s personality as well as its physical features in a picture can work magic. It’s why shelters and rescues love when photographers volunteer their time (and why it would be great if more did!). For dogs coming out of shelters in the south, that initial picture is often all a rescue has to go on when deciding which lives to save. Suffice it to say, pictures matter.

Both of my current foster dogs, Argus and Marley, are adorable, but you might not know that from my pictures.

My snaps didn’t do them justice, so I asked my friend Caitlin, who is an incredibly talented photographer, to do a photo shoot.

Caitlin confessed right up front that beyond one lost dog and her own animals, she’s never spent a lot of time photographing dogs. If only we all could do this well out of the gate…

It’s been tricky to get good pictures of Argus, partly because he’s a puppy so he’s always in motion and partly because he’s a little on the insecure side. Just like that friend who always cringes or blinks when you pull out a camera, he often looked awkward in my pictures. Honestly, though, he is awkward. He’s like that gangly teen who is easily embarrassed and always apologizing for bumping into things as he learns to navigate the world with a growing body and mind.

He also sticks out his tongue when anxious, and even the tip of it appears when he’s distracted or thinking hard. He’s also a little shy around new people. So, not an easy dog to photograph.

Luckily, he warmed up quickly to Caitlin because she’s such a gentle, encouraging soul.

Marley, on the other hand, is friendly as an experienced salesman, ready to be your best friend upon introduction. The challenge with her was to make her look not so frantic – it’s mostly the blue eye that makes her pictures look a little manic. She is so much cuter in person than in pictures.

Her gray muzzle and those mismatched eyes do not come across well on camera, but I promise you, she is adorable. She’s also devoted, often she was too close to photograph well. And she has very light brindle stripes in her coat that look like wrinkles or dirt, also limiting her photogenicness. If you’re looking to adopt an Instagram star she’s probably not your dog, on the other hand, maybe her odd look on camera might work for you. She’s definitely got the personality for it.

Thanks so much to Caitlin Garvey (you can find her on Instagram at caitlingarvey_photography – look her up, you’ll be glad you did) for lending your time and your talent (and your patience) to help us find families for these two special dogs.

If you’re interested in adopting Marley, contact the Humane Society of Shenandoah County, and if you’re interested in Argus, contact Operation Paws for Homes. For more information about either of them, feel free to reach out to me.

And while you’re here, please wish a happy birthday to Argus who turned one this month!

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

foster dogs, Humane Society of Shenandoah County, oph, owner surrender

Highly Adoptable Dogs

I have to say that if Marley and Argus were my foster dogs five years ago, they’d be adopted in a snap.

Adoptions, all over not just with OPH or HSSC, have slowed. And while it’s a little frustrating, it’s expected and might just be a good thing.

People are being a bit more careful before jumping into a new dog. As they should be. Having watched Marley mourn the people who surrendered her for her first few days, lying in her crate with a worried look, hesitant to come out, I don’t wish her situation on any dog. So, yes, you should be absolutely sure you are ready to adopt a new pet before committing to one.

Marley has bounced back, as dogs are so good at doing. She is looking much healthier now that we’ve treated her for parasites, gotten her on a healthy diet, given her probiotics, vitamins, and a fancy oil someone donated to help her skin/coat. She’s getting regular exercise, plays with Argus, and has quite definitely turned the corner to reveal her sunny personality.

Argus is still a little suspicious of doors and noises and sudden movements. His first instinct is to cower and worry, but when he feels safe and happy he’s got a serious full-body waggle that always makes me smile. He is one happy boy, slamming the sides of his crate ferociously with his tail the moment I come in the room. His big grin and lolling tongue make him look as goofy as he is happy.

Both these dogs are apartment sized. Sweet, gentle, housebroken, crate-trained, relatively quiet, easily amused with bones or toys, and play well together. All of those factors would have meant they’d get adopted quickly back before the pandemic, before everyone who’d ever considered acquiring a pet got one (and more than a few shouldn’t have).

They are both highly adoptable, easy, cute, fun dogs who will make some family very happy.

So now the trick is to be patient. As I said, they are easy fosters, so lucky me, I don’t mind them hanging around. But I’d still like to get them out my door to their real family before they become too attached. Before they decide that I am their family. Because these sweet pups should not have their hearts broken again.

They are ready. Are you out there? Come and get your pups!

Marley is a six-year-old, 40-pound darling with one blue eye belying some Husky heritage (although her size would tell you otherwise). She’s gentle and sweet and loves to go for walks and adventures. She does best on a front-leading harness. Marley loves to cuddle, take long naps, and chew on hooves/bones. She is spayed and up to date on shots. If you’re interested in Marley, contact the Humane Society of Shenandoah County.

Argus is a one-year-old lab mix (aren’t they all) who weighs close to 50 pounds (but looks much smaller). His breeding is anyone’s guess, but he’s beginning to develop spots, so hound? Dalmation? Some kind of fox terrier? Who knows. He’s a little shy at the offset, but warms up super fast and is a joyful, goofy, boy who still has a lot of puppy in him. He’s excellent at catching treats in his mouth, curious about anything that involves food, and walks really well on a leash. He’s neutered, up to date on shots, and microchipped. If you’re interested in Argus, contact Operation Paws for Homes.

If you’d like to meet either of these darling dogs, or know more about them, feel free to reach out to me directly:

And if you’ve ever considered fostering, now would be a great time to try it out. Shelters and rescues all over the country are overwhelmed with large numbers of intakes and the same slow adoption rate I’m experiencing. Fostering can truly save lives. By taking a dog (or cat) into your home to foster, you open up a space at a shelter or rescue for another. Reach out to me if you have questions or need convincing!

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

dog rescue, fosterdogs, fostering, litters, oph, parvo, parvovirus, puppies, Updates

Movie Mutts and Parvo Puppies

This weekend we bleached the puppy fences, the crate, and the baby gate that we used with our ‘parvo pups’ last fall one last time and finally stowed them in the attic of the garage. They’d been wiped down with bleach last fall and then left stacked in the corner of our stone porch all winter. Even though they’d been bleached once, I was still wary of them. So afraid that in a crevice or a hinge, parvo virus still lingered.

Continue reading “Movie Mutts and Parvo Puppies”
dog rescue, foster dogs, fostering, returned dogs, training, Uncategorized

Four-legged Happy

Do you want to know what happy looks like in a 45 pound package with four legs?

That would be Mia. This dog simply never has a bad day, or a dull moment, or an off-switch. Well, that’s not entirely true. She does sleep—in fact, when she does it is much like she lives—loud. The girl can snore.

Mama Mia is back with us and she is an entirely different dog than the dog who arrived here last April with ten puppies still nursing.

Continue reading “Four-legged Happy”
dog rescue, Dogs with Issues, foster dogs, fosterdogs, Lucy, oph, puppies, Uncategorized

Second Chances

Now that I’m back to walking (YES! MRI revealed lots of damage, but nothing to stop me from moving forward and continuing to heal on my own!) I’ve had a chance to catch up on my thinking. So much was backlogged in my brain – ideas, worries, dreams, questions, stories. Lucy and I have increased our walk time each day this week and this morning we wandered the back roads for nearly an hour.

I’m still mulling over the book Rescue Road and pondering the enormous challenges to dog rescue in the US (and in the world). I had begun to feel the same way I did when my elementary school science teacher explained how far away Pluto was – it seemed like an insurmountable distance.

My teeny, tiny part in rescuing dogs couldn’t possibly put even the idea of a dent in the problem. Probably my thoughts were colored by my inability to move without pain. But now, the world looks different. I’m ready to get back in the game. I’m ready to save some more dogs.

I’ve had my moments of frustration with Lucy these past few weeks. She has come so far – she’s no longer scratching and her beautiful tri-colored coat is coming back in, her energy levels are rising (and rising!), and her happiness quotient somehow went even higher.

Here she is playing with the filling for the Frank bed.

My frustration springs from the fact that she is not accustomed to living indoors. It hasn’t been an easy transition. Part of me wants to put her on a line outside. She’d probably be more comfortable. That’s what she’s known. Instead, we keep her in the kitchen and walk her frequently. We reward her when she pees outside and admonish her when she pees inside.

I think she finally understands she shouldn’t pee on our floor, but this morning when she evidently couldn’t hold it a moment longer, she peed on the Frank bed. I was so angry! Why would she do this? Why? Why? Why? I took her outside and then I closed her in her crate. Continue reading “Second Chances”

dog rescue, fosterdogs, Gingersnap, oph, shelters

A Fixable Problem

WARNING: This is not a happy or funny post. It might bum you out, or maybe it will inspire you. I’m taking my chances sharing my grief and frustration.

IMG_3629Today is the day Ginger will leave. I feel unprepared. Every other time, when a dog was leaving that I knew would break my heart, I had a plan in place. A new foster on its way or already in our house, or I had somewhere to go or be that would distract me. Not today.

Because I’m still waiting to see a doctor who will have the answers, I can’t commit to a new dog/puppy. I’m not a good patient or a patient person, so my hurting knee is dragging me down. Lucy is still here, but we’re finding our routine and she’s ready to go to a forever home as soon as her people find her.

Today is different than other adoption days. Without my usual props in place, I already feel the tears gathering and I hate that. This is the hardest part of fostering. This heart-cratering pain that is so completely unavoidable- if I just didn’t foster dogs. It’s self-inflicted, preventable, and yet, I know it’s nothing compared to the pain of all the dogs that never make it out.

I’m currently reading Rescue Road, the story of a man named Greg Mahle, who drives a tractor-trailer full of rescue dogs from the deep south, to foster homes and adopters in the north twice a month. He’s helped rescue over 30,000 dogs and driven a million miles.

I’m trying to read it as fast as I possibly can because it is unbearable. Every time I have to close the book and move back into my world I feel sad, unmoored, frustrated. How can there be people in this world, in this time, who would dump a litter of newborn puppies in a trashcan or worse yet, set that trash can on fire?

How can there be state-run ‘shelters’ that are no more than concrete holding pens completely exposed to the elements where dogs are dumped all together (young, old, sick, neutered or not) to wait for no one (or maybe a rescue) to claim them before they die of preventable diseases or state mandated euthanasia? This book breaks my heart. Reading it this weekend, knowing it was our last with Ginger, made for a sad, sad few days.

Yes, I know, Ginger is going to a GREAT home. It’s the only happy thought available for me to hold on to. Only that great home isn’t mine. It can’t be. Technically, it could be, but reading Rescue Road this weekend underlined again for me exactly why it can’t be—there are too many dogs still down there. Too many dogs dying every day because of ignorance, cruelty, apathy, and lack of resources. This is a fixable problem. Maybe that’s what makes me most crazy. Parvo, mange, heartworms, overpopulation—these are ALL preventable or treatable.

All of my mixed feelings and sadness is complicated by the fact that my knee is not healing. It limits me. Just this morning, I fell, once again. Even though I had on my brace and my new super grippy shoes that my husband insisted I buy, my unstable let still slid out from under me on a stick that fell in last night’s storm as I made my way down the hill with Lucy. Ouch.

And then there’s Lucy.
Continue reading “A Fixable Problem”

fosterdogs, Gingersnap, oph, Pit bull, Whoopi

Whoopi Finds Her Family (and Ginger Claims Ours)

DSC_4109Whoop! Whoop! Whoopi found her forever family!

She left early Sunday morning for the 6 1/2 hour drive to her new home in Rhode Island!

We’re already hearing how well she is fitting in and how much she is loved! She has a big fenced yard near the seashore, two kids of her very own, and two fursiblings (weiner dogs! Can you imagine the trio they make?). It’s a great story that makes my heart very happy. Continue reading “Whoopi Finds Her Family (and Ginger Claims Ours)”


Pick a Puppy….but Know What You’re Getting Into!

There are monsters in my kitchen.

This is how close the monsters can's not easy getting a clean shot.
This is how close the monsters can get…’s not easy getting a clean shot.

Okay, they’re just puppies. But they have sharp fangs, make odd noises and have other worldly energy. In only one week, they’ve outgrown our mudroom which housed six puppies for three weeks this summer. These are BIG girls with BIG needs.

I’m super excited to say they are already mostly housebroken which speaks to their extreme smarts and not my superior training ability. That, and they’ll do ANYTHING for a treat.

DSC_0268I’m partial to Charm but that’s only because I have to rescue her so often from Chism’s extreme energy and lack of empathy. Chism doesn’t get that when she has a good hold on Charm’s ear and Charm is emitting a high pitched squeal for long periods of time that translates as “Excuse me, but you’re HURTING MY EAR!” Charm is the Laurel in this Laurel and Hardy act. She’s sweet and clumsy and so very forgiving.

DSC_0269Chism takes up all the air in the room. She is ON all the time and if you catch her taking a quick nap on the Frank bed, all you have to do is think, “Ah, there she is sleeping” and she will leap to correct your assumption. Whoever adopts this pup better know his/her way around a dog training manual.

Here’s the thing about Chism. She will either be the coolest dog you ever owned or the most difficult dog to ever rule your life. It will very much depend on the effort and time put in for the next two years. Consistent training and challenges are what she needs. That and plenty of exercise. Plenty. Continue reading “Pick a Puppy….but Know What You’re Getting Into!”


Dog-less (for now…)

We’re dogless. Well, that’s not exactly correct. We still have Gracie.

IMG_1982 (1)

But she doesn’t count.

Okay, that’s not fair. She counts, but she already has her forever home, for better or for worse, so no worries over her.

This week I said good bye to three dogs. I think I’m getting better at this, because instead of being a wiggly-hearted sap, I was excited for my dogs – proud of them and so very happy for the families that lucked into these good dogs.

Frank was the first to go. And the hardest. I still miss his wide soft head, always there, right next to me at the perfect height for petting. I worried and fretted and second-guessed myself, but in the end it was the right home for him. Continue reading “Dog-less (for now…)”