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

adopters, fostering, litters, puppies

Foster Puppies: Quick Before They Escape!

The puppies are thriving and noisy and ever since getting their first taste of freedom in the puppy yard, all they want is “OUT!”

Or at least, that’s what I imagine they are saying as they yip-yip-yap all the live-long day whenever they are left in the puppy room. Thankfully, the weather has been nice and they’ve had plenty of time in the puppy yard. If only I could install my desk out there, we would be all set. As it is, I can’t leave them out there unsupervised.

Continue reading “Foster Puppies: Quick Before They Escape!”
Diary, dog rescue, fosterdogs, fostering, litters, puppies

Diary of a Rescue: Week Six

In less than a week these puppies will head to their forever homes! I surely won’t forget this crew—it has been an equally heartbreaking and heartfilling experience being their foster mom. By this time with every litter I am ready for them to go – they have outgrown our little puppy room and the work of caring for them is enormous. Still, I am trying to treasure it and working hard to give them the very best start to the very best lives.

Here are this week’s entries in their entirety. Continue reading “Diary of a Rescue: Week Six”

Dixieland, dog rescue, foster dogs, fosterdogs, fostering, Hula Hoop, John Coffey, oph, Oreo

What’s Better than a Houseful of Dogs for the Holidays?

For two days there were no dogs.

At least no foster dogs.

It was weird. Frankie was so bored he managed to get Gracie to (sort of) play with him and he even went on a short run with me.


Reports are that both Oreo and Dixie are being loved and spoiled in their new homes.  AND each of them has their own little boy. Pretty cool. This makes me beyond happy. It’s what this whole gig is all about.

Friday evening we picked up Continue reading “What’s Better than a Houseful of Dogs for the Holidays?”

dog rescue, foster dogs, fosterdogs, fostering, Gomer Pyle, oph, puppies, training

Progress Can Be Noisy

Our house is noisy.

Well, our house is normally noisy, but this past weekend, especially so.

Gomer has much to say, particularly about anyone playing without him.

Plus, two lovely ladies moved into the puppy room on Saturday. They are surprisingly quiet, but their movements are monitored by the other three canines in the house, and their fondness for squeaky toys pushes several of those canines over the edge.

The dawn chorus is really something. Yesterday Brady remarked that Gracie has a very nice quiet bark. That’s the point we’ve been driven to—we qualify all of the barking.

Frankie is LOUD. For such a gentle guy, he sounds ferocious.

Gomer is shrill. His barks are laced with excitement, he just cannot miss out on any party.

Which leaves Gracie (who initiates almost every choir rehearsal). Her bark is low and steady and I’ve begun to wonder if she doesn’t just start barking to get the other dogs in trouble.


DSC_1883Okay, okay, I’ll tell you about the new puppies! (it’s always about the puppies with you people!) Continue reading “Progress Can Be Noisy”

dog rescue, fosterdogs, fostering, poop, puppies

Cuteness/Poop Overload

If you’re in the Another Good Dog facebook group, you know that these current puppies are unreasonably adorable. I can’t stop posting pictures, particularly of Augustus Gloop, whose wrinkles are beyond amazing.

Continue reading “Cuteness/Poop Overload”

dog rescue, foster dogs, fostering, Gala, oph, returned dogs, Schuyler puppies


This is the longest we’ve gone without a foster dog since we started fostering with OPH just over three years ago.

It’s weird.

It’s made me aware of two things – 1) I spend a lot of time fostering and 2) I don’t like being without a foster dog.

I’m amazed at how much time this has freed up. I’ve had time to work with Frankie (and even a little with Gracie) on his homework for doggie school two or three times a day. We also take a two-mile walk each morning and sometimes again in the afternoon. I’ve stayed on track with my latest manuscript and even had time to cook dinner nearly every night. I even had lunch with a friend and on one balmy day recently, I took my convertible out for a drive with no destination in mind.

Of course, just because I don’t have a foster dog in residence, doesn’t mean Continue reading “Fosterless”

Bronson/Buford, foster dogs, fostering, Gala, heartworms, oph, puppies, Updates

Travel Adventures

Traveling with two puppies took me back to the days of traveling with my toddlers. We had to pack their beds, playpen, toys, food, snacks, extra jackets (it was gonna be cold), stuff to entertain them in the car, and plenty of supplies for cleaning up after them. Once the car was loaded, we buckled Buford and Frankie into the backseat and set off for Virginia to celebrate our anniversary hiking, wine-tasting, and relaxing.

The boys traveled well for the two-hour trip, cuddled together and mostly sleeping. Every time I turned around to check on them, they’d morphed into a new formation. Continue reading “Travel Adventures”

adopters, dog rescue, euthanasia, foster dogs, fosterdogs, fostering, Gala, oph

Dog-hearted People

It feels weird not to have a foster dog. That’s what this has come down to—my normal is extra temporary dogs running underfoot. Yes, Gala is still here, but as of today, she’s officially been here six months, so she’s less of a foster dog and more of a long-term boarder.

I’m torn about asking for a new foster dog. The only dogs I can take with Gala around are puppies, but I’m traveling a fair amount this month and asking my family to take care of Gracie, Gala, Frankie, and a few random puppies who poop, might be pushing it.

And yet….I really want to be doing something. Continue reading “Dog-hearted People”

dog rescue, foster dogs, fostering, Gala, oph, running with dogs, training

This is a Special Dog

In less than a week, it will be six months since Gala arrived at our house. At this point, she believes she is our dog.

She is not.

I don’t know why she hasn’t found her family. I keep telling people who ask, that her family must be pretty special people if she has to wait this long. But then again, she is a special dog.

Part of me questions whether I am helping or hindering her adoption effort by writing about her, but it would seem insincere not to share her stories. And there are many. Because this is a special dog.

“Latest circus trick,” I say to Nick as we watch Gala Continue reading “This is a Special Dog”