Johnnie is… ADOPTED!!!

If you asked me three weeks ago what it would be like to write a post about Johnnie getting adopted, I’d tell you it would be impossible. I thought letting Johnnie go would be the hardest thing I’d ever have to do. It was difficult, yes – but after meeting this family and watching them interact with Johnnie, I don’t think I could be happier about her going to a forever home.


I got a lot of interest in Johnnie while she was with me, but it was never the right fit. Yes it probably had to do with the fact that I was not going to let my little princess go to just anyone, but mostly it was because Johnnie can sometimes be a challenging dog (though always the sweetest, of course) and would need an adopter really willing to work with her.


When J (the human not the dog!) first emailed me, she told me about all the great adventures she and T would take Johnnie on. It sounded great, but I figured she wouldn’t be interested in a work-in-progress like Johnnie (not actually because of any vibes she gave me, that was just sort of the way things had been going with potential adopters). I fired back an email about why Johnnie was awesome but also how she’s working on her skills with other dogs and she’ll need a lot of training and she probably won’t ever love every single other dog she meets and how she’s not going to be easy blah blah blah. I figured I wouldn’t hear back, which was fine with me. A few days later I got the response: “Sorry about the late response, I wanted to make sure T and I talked it over before I got back to you. We both agree… we’re ready for it. What’s next?”

Hold the phone – you just read my straight forward “this is actually why you don’t want Johnnie” email and you came back for more? I didn’t get my hopes up because there were still some things standing in the way: the initial meeting, which Johnnie always bombs because she gets so excited and acts like a total lunatic, and a meet and greet with T’s parents dogs. When J and T met her for the first time she acted like her normal over-stimulated self, being extra bouncy. I thought for sure after they left that Johnnie had scared them off, but again I got a super positive email from them the next morning about her and how they still wanted to move forward.

A lot of you are probably thinking, “Why would you ever think they wouldn’t want her!?” Well I have this thing where I’m paranoid that no one else will understand the way she is and how her bounciness is often a product of stress and how she’s a great learner and how the crazy, often annoying behaviors can be changed and how she can be a really fabulous dog. I always just think that they’ll see a dog who is too much work and say “no thanks.” That’s why I kept thinking Johnnie’s adopters wouldn’t come back.

But they did come back. They came back every time I sent them long emails with endless ramblings about training and how to communicate with Johnnie and where to go for the best resources to help with the transition. They came back even when I told them all about how much work I’ve done with her and how much they’ll have to continue doing. They came back even after I brought her over to their place and she barked and wanted to play and was just generally her energetic self. They kept coming back for her.

The final hurdle that I figured would be decided by Johnnie Cash herself was the dog meet and greet.  One big black retriever mix and one little black fluffy dog stood in the way of Johnnie potentially heading to her forever home. To my surprise, it went better than I ever could have imagined. All three dogs were playing off-leash by the end of the meeting. Johnnie is definitely more puppy than I think either of the other dogs prefer, but no one got into arguments. It was amazing.

After that meeting, the adoption process seemed to happen at lightning speed and all of a sudden Johnnie was going to her new home in 36 hours. Of course I immediately began to panic – what if they take her home, realize how nuts she can be, and they want to bring her back? What if she has a melt down around other dogs and freaks them out? What if what if what if? Ask Mark and he will tell you how annoying of a worry wart I can be.  I don’t know what it is about Johnnie, versus my other fosters, but I just feel so responsible for her behavior.

Well, not surprisingly, I had nothing to worry about. My mind was immediately put at ease when we did the swap and I saw how excited they were to bring her into their lives. They showed us all the awesome new dog supplies she’d be spoiled with, and they even gave me the most amazing photo book as a gift. I know, right – isn’t it me who should be thanking them for agreeing to take such great care of my dog? Johnnie really hit the jackpot with this family.


We’ve been in touch since she went home, and they are still love with her (yay!). Some of the hiccups I thought would arise have indeed come up, and they seem more than willing to do what’s needed to make sure everyone stays happy and comfortable.


So there it is. Johnnie Cash, the dog who spent five months in the shelter, has found her forever family. The best forever family. Good luck Johnnie – you will have an amazing life with people who love you, and you deserve every minute of it!


There’s a New Pittie in the Neighborhood!

When my next door neighbors came to me saying they were looking into adopting a “pit bull” dog, I was elated.  They are the kind of laid back people who don’t care about stereotypes and just wanted a nice family dog for their kids to grow up with.  They headed to our local shelter and, after a slow moving search, finally found a pup that seemed to be the perfect match.

After meeting many dogs, they settled on handsome Rojo (pronounced Ro-ho). Rojo had been overlooked at the shelter for months because of his nondescript, brown-dog look. Even though he behaved like a gentleman during visits, he never caught anyone’s attention. Until this family stopped by and gave him a chance.

Rojo now lives with two kids and has a huge yard that backs up to woods.  He seriously hit the jackpot with this family. They’re so willing to accept him for who he is, and they’re ready to learn whatever they need to for him to be the best dog he can be.

They lost their last dog about a year and a half ago, so naturally they are experiencing some, “Oh yeah, he’s not Scooter” moments, but they’re working through those. We all know how hard it can be to not try and replace our last pet, but to realize that the new one is an entirely new experience to fall in love.  I have a feeling that Rojo will quickly turn into another beloved fur baby just like his predecessor.

I’d like to ask you all for some advice on their behalf: Rojo is a pretty consistent submissive/excitable wetter.  Do you have any ideas for curbing/curing that for me to pass on to them? Thanks!

Otis in His New Home!

Lucky for us, Otis’ new dad is a photographer! Double lucky for us, he doesn’t mind if I share these pictures with you all. All of the updates I’ve been getting from R have been positive, and it sounds like Otis is settling in just fine! The pictures sure make it seem that way (some are camera, some are phone – all are from his new dad!):

Have a great weekend!

Dear Otis

Hey Stinker.

So, you’ve gone and found yourself yet another home. Third time is a charm, right? I am crossing all of my fingers and toes that this one will stick and that your new dad will appreciate you like I do (which he seems to!).  After spending four wonderful months with you, I still cannot believe it took you so long to find your forever home. Luckily, though, it seems I am learning time and time again that good things come to those who wait. You’ve finally got yourself a really good thing, Oats.

Your story is different than the others I’ve helped because this time it was all up to me. While I have many online supporters, parents who love you just like I do, and friends who cheered for me and you the whole way – I started this journey to find you happiness in July 2011 and, a year later, it was my job to finish it.

You made it very clear you knew that fact from the beginning by attaching to me like you were some orphaned child who finally found their mother (oh wait, I guess you were…). Your hopeless devotion to me was a bit overwhelming at times but overall quite endearing, and it made you stand out to me from my other fosters. Sure, you were extra needy when we were together, but you made up for it ten times over by having zero separation anxiety and behaving beautifully whenever I was away.  You were, in my eyes, the perfect dog.

It quickly became clear to me that others would not be as fortunate to know your true self. You loved me so, so much that you barely had the time of day for anyone else. You warmed up to my mom and dad, but even FosterDad didn’t get much more than a quick acknowledgement when he came around. This made it hard to show everyone else just how perfect you were. But it was okay, because I knew that anyone who was good enough to have you would recognize your shyness around others as just fierce loyalty to your person – a characteristic to be envied.

I wrote a post a few days ago about my realization of just how different you are from the day I brought you home. It was bittersweet because when I was writing that post I already knew you had found a new family, and I knew you would temporarily be set back in your progress.  But you simply couldn’t stay with me forever, even though you (and maybe me, too) wanted it.  Your new owner is the best of the best for you, and I know he will help you through this transition with understanding and gentle guidance.  I wish I could be there with the two of you to help as well, but it’s time for you and your new dad to figure things out on your own because you’re his now, not mine.

When I started this note I really didn’t intend for it to be sad or emotional because you, Otis, are far from that. You are goofy, happy, silly, expressive, sweet, and cuddly – and this journey with you has been all of those positive emotions rolled into one. You were one misunderstood pooch, and I’m happy I got the chance to turn things around for you.

Good luck in your new life, Otie! May you finally find joy and happiness in all you do.