Where Has PLF Been!?

Honestly, that’s a really great question. We barely even know! Judging by how many of you nice people liked our Facebook status announcing this post, it seems like you’ve missed us? Have you noticed we’ve been gone?

I guess I sort of felt like I didn’t have enough topics of substance to write about that weren’t just me spewing my opinion at you. And for the instances I did decide I wanted to share my opinion, I wasn’t giving myself enough time to come up with a well constructed post.  My efforts felt incomplete, which I hate! I decided I’d rather give you guys well thought out, interesting posts instead of ones thrown together at the last minute (this is where I don’t tell you that it’s 10:13 pm on Tuesday night so clearly I still haven’t addressed that last point).

In addition to feeling torn about post topics, I have been extra busy – in the best kind of way! I’m falling so in love with life every day here in the city. I’m soaking up the sunshine and warm temps. I’m spending extra time with friends. I’m working late nights at the shelter. I’m filling my weekends up to the brim with new, fun activities. I’m bonding with shelter dogs. I traveled to Mexico for a girl’s weekend. I’m spending afternoons with Paco just because. I’m constantly looking around this beautiful city with stars in my eyes. I’m gaining hours and hours of training experience working with clients, celebrating behavior-related victories every time. I’m taking weekend trips to Deep Creek Lake with my best friends. I’m dogsitting Lady Bug (adopt her!) and enjoying tons of snuggles.  I’m journeying out to the barn to spend time in wide open spaces. I’m finding corners of crowded DC bars to watch the World Cup games in with fellow Americans. I’m stealing gorgeous neighborhood husky puppies and helping their owners get through terrible puppyhood.  I’m learning more about dog behavior every single day. I’m embracing chaotic, fulfilling happiness every single day.

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So, I apologize about being absent from this space. I think about PLF often, and it’s not something I’m ready to move away from yet. I’ll be here for years to come, it just might not be every single Wednesday forever and ever because I want to give you posts worth reading. I am still as thankful as ever to have this blog and to have your attention, especially as I commit my career to helping dogs more and more every day.  Thanks for being the best, ever. See you back here soon? :-)

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What If?

Yesterday I had the opportunity to attend a very fun ASPCA event on Capitol Hill to raise awareness about adopting and animal rescue. The event, Paws for Celebration, brought together shelters and rescue groups from around the DC area to gather in the House of Representatives’ Canon House Office Building and meet with lawmakers during the lunch hour. It was fun, it was festive and it was a feel-good event for a good cause.

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I’ve done my fair share of tabling and adoption events, but this one was a bit different. As the event got started, the room was suddenly full of hundreds of good looking, well dressed and nicely groomed (no pun intended) men and women. Most of them were in business suits or nice dresses and high heels. Then there were the shelters and rescue groups, most of us in polos or t-shirts. The difference between the two groups on a superficial level was stark – it was very interesting to be blending worlds.

I briefly envied the girls who got to wear fancy clothes and nice jewelry to their jobs. I wondered what it was like to have a job like that; a government job, where you worked in the city with important people and did important things. I thought about what their salaries might be, not working for a non-profit, and how, even at our age, they can probably afford things like going to happy hour after work or taking spontaneous trips and not having to freak out about expenses. My mind started to wander to “what if I’d picked a different major in college, and worked as hard as I did in my Animal Science degree in another field, like business… then I could wear all the high heels I want and afford the fancy clothes and nice dinners and I could do animal welfare stuff as a hobby and not a full time, emotionally taxing career.”

But then I looked at the two little adoptable cuties we had brought with us, and without thinking I rewarded them both for bringing their attention to me because I knew that would help them continue their calm behavior – and that was the moment I remembered how easy this comes to me and how blessed I am to be working and getting paid doing something I absolutely love. Sure, my work outfit usually consists of flats and I have to skip the social dinner outings most of the time – but I have been given more opportunities to pursue what I love in the short two years I’ve been working than most people get in their lifetime. I am lucky beyond words – and I am happy to lead a career where I am the one wearing the polo shirt, not the business suits.

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Happy Independence Day!

. . . from some adorable adoptables at the Animal Welfare League of Arlington! All of these cuties are looking for forever homes!

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Hope you all have fun today! But remember – this is a really scary holiday for a lot of pets. July 5th is a crazy busy day for animal shelters because of all the animals who get freaked by the fireworks and run away from home. Keep your pets inside!

Happy 4th of July!


Slumber Party With Frankie

First and foremost, thank you all so much for the overwhelming response to yesterday’s post about Frankie’s situation.  I know many of you are involved in animal rescue and get bombarded with requests to help pets in need every single day, so the fact that you took the time and energy to share Frankie’s story truly means the world to me.

I also want to make something else clear: I am not asking you to put your efforts into a dog with “issues.” Frankie is not the problem child of the shelter that we’ve all fallen in love with because he’s been here the longest and we can’t help but hope he has a happy ending – this isn’t that at all. Frankie is truly one of the best and easiest dogs I have ever met, he just continues to get dealt the worst hand. His odds are changing now though, thanks to you! So, back to our weekend together. . .

As you could gather from yesterday’s post, Mr. Frankie’s brain is in need of a break from the shelter. While I can’t give him this permanently, I am able to give him short vacations here and there. I retrieved him from the shelter Saturday afternoon and brought him home to spend the night with me and then head to a group training walk on Sunday morning. We spend a pretty decent amount of time together in the office, but I was really excited to get him out into the world and learn more about him and his charming personality.

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Normally when I bring a new foster home from the shelter I give them a couple days to chill out and adjust. Such a big change can be a real shock to a shelter dog. I know Frankie’s history though and I know he is resilient to change and new environments – not to mention he does get a decent amount of fun, novel experiences at the shelter, so I know he handles them well. Frankie did not seem stressed in the slightest when we got to my house, so I felt comfortable setting off on some adventures with him.

First stop was the backyard. This was an enjoyable experience for the both of us. Frankie, of course, loved the extra space to run around. The nice thing, though, was that he did not display any of the over-excited behaviors that he sometimes does in the shelter. He reminds me a lot of Johnnie in that you can tell he thinks hard about his decisions when he is excited. Thanks to the hard work of the trainers at AWLA, it is clear he has learned impulse control, which leads him to be a pleasure to work with in both training and play.

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After bouncing around the yard together, Frankie was hot and tired. I knew just what he needed: a trip to the creek! I was unsure of whether or not he’d been in/near water before, but he actually walked right in! He didn’t swim and he chose not to stay in too long, but he seemed to enjoy cooling off and investigating the bank. I loved watching him soak up the new sites and sniffs. He seemed to love it, too.

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We returned home for dinner where I got the absolute performance of a lifetime with Frankie and his dinner in the Kong Wobbler. Oh my gosh, it was hilarious! He was trying so hard to get those kibbles out – he would alternate between smacking it around the room and staring at it intently like he was trying to wish the food out of the hole. Funny as it was, he sure was using up energy in the process – check out those concentration wrinkles!

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After an hour or so of adventuring at this point, it was time to settle in for the night, which happens to be Frankie’s favorite thing to do. I gave him an antler which he happily gnawed on for a bit until he curled up on his bed and went right to sleep. Getting a dog out of the shelter and letting them run and play is nice, but I almost find the peaceful moments more rewarding. Shelter dogs don’t get to know what it’s like to comfortably snooze at their best friend’s feet during a movie, or how nice it is to share space while the humans work. These are things all dogs deserve in life, including Frankie.

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The relaxation and just ‘being’ continued into the night when we turned in for bed. I don’t normally let my fosters sleep on the bed, but I absolutely could not resist letting Frankie up there for just one night. And I am so happy I did – he is an unbelievable cuddler! He snuggled right up next to me like it was his absolute favorite spot. He didn’t stir all night until we woke up early the next morning for the pit crew walk (which his snuggles almost made us late for!). I think sleeping together was my favorite part of the whole visit.

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phone02 phone05phone04I’ll leave the update and cute pictures from the pit crew walk for another post. For now, I just hope I was able to get across how truly awesome this pup is. It is not every day you find a dog that you can take out of a shelter and fit almost seamlessly into home life, but that is Frankie. Thanks for taking the time to hear his story and learn more about what’s behind those blue and brown eyes. He and I are both so grateful.

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If you’re in the DC area and are interested in fostering or adopting Frankie, please email me at peacelovefoster@gmail.com!


Three is the New One: Meet Frankie

When I featured some adorable puppies on the blog this past Monday, many of you chimed in about how babies are cute but older dogs are usually much easier and often more rewarding to adopt or foster. Thanks to spending time with Jayla and now this guy Frankie who I am about to share with you, I can re-confirm that I whole-heartedly agree!

Frankie is a long time resident at the Animal Welfare League of Arlington (six-ish months). He was adopted out as a puppy and then returned, and he quickly found himself as a staff favorite. At about three years old, Ol’ Blue Eyes is the perfect mix of bouncy energy and total couch potato – in fact, he spends most of his time as the latter. I’ve gotten to know him in the couple of months I’ve been working here part time, and it’s easy to see why everyone loves him so much.

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First of all, he is absolutely stunning. He is a Catahoula mix, so his merle, leopard-looking coat is unique and eye catching. His eyes are each half blue and half brown, and his long, strong legs make him look particularly noble.

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“Look at my beautiful eyes and my pretty furs!”

My absolute favorite thing about Frankie is how well he settles, even in a new environment. Whether you’re visiting with him in his kennel or hanging out with him by your desk (which I do a lot, lucky me!), he is lying quietly on his bed in about three minutes. It gets better – he doesn’t care if you leave! I have had my fair share of “office dogs” and let me tell you – it’s usually all fine and dandy when you’re around, but the second you leave your desk all hell breaks loose. Barking and carrying on and telling the whole office, “SHE LEFT ME!” Not Frankie. You can leave for a meeting and come back 45 minutes later and there he is, snoozing away where you left him. This leads us to believe that he will be awesome in a home and can probably just be left on the couch when you go to work for the day.

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"I love to snuggle... even if it is just with myself."

“I love to snuggle… even if it is just with myself.”

photo 3While Frankie is super chill when around people, he’s a pretty big goofball around other dogs. He’s that kid on the playground who means well but just, er, can’t take a hint that the other kids don’t want him around, ya know? Poor Frankie, all he wants to do is wrestle. . . but other dogs just don’t seem to appreciate his lack of social skills. He enjoys playgroup at the shelter and going on group walks, but he’ll need a dog who’s willing to put up with his dopey play style.

Seeing how laid back Frankie is really makes me, yet again, appreciate dogs three years and older versus the puppies and adolescents. It’s like skipping the teenage years with your kids – which I’m sure my parents wish they could have done, ha!

By the way, Frankie thinks he is the perfect lap dog. . . and I have to agree.

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You’ll certainly see more of Frankie (and Jayla) on here in the coming weeks, including real photos finally, not just iPhone shots – hope you’re as excited as I am!

Interested in adding an awesome 75 lb lap dog to your family? Email peacelovefoster@gmail.com – you won’t regret it!


When the Stars Align for Another Chance

Gaston has hit the jackpot.

This handsome guy was my passenger on our road trip up to Animal Farm Foundation (AFF) last Monday. Gaston busted out of the shelter after thirteen long months and made his way into the AFF adoption program!

Gaston was a long time resident of the Animal Welfare League of Arlington.  As you can imagine, he became part of the family there. They outfitted him with special harnesses and collars that wouldn’t irritate his skin, they made sure he had plenty of great toys to chew on, and they gave him special food to help manage his allergies. He loved all the staff, and they loved him. Everyone wondered why he wasn’t getting scooped up. He’s a bit dog reactive, but they’d seen worse – so after over a year, where was his perfect family?

That is when things came together and Gaston found himself eligible to transfer into the AFF program. Even though the AWLA staff all loved him very much and were sad to see him go, they knew new things were awaiting him. At AFF he will get specialized attention to help with his reactivity and inevitably find him the perfect home. In the mean time, he will be able to enjoy the acres of open land AFF has to offer (more about that later).

Having a traveling buddy for the six hour journey was great. He was a very similar traveler to the way I act on long car rides: he cat napped, he gnawed on his antler, he snoozed hard, he looked out the window. We had a good time.

I was lucky to then be able to see him all week while I worked at AFF. He settled in pretty well, even though it was a very new environment for him. I’d bet money that he’s never smelled all those farm sniffs before, and check him out as we pulled up: “Cows!”

Hopefully now Gaston is quick on his way to meeting the perfect forever home. Any dog that finds themselves in the hands of the folks at AFF is a lucky dog. Check back tomorrow to learn more about my week there!