Happy Monday: Shelter Dog Updates

I feel like we all need some good news after the tragic events of last Friday. I’m a firm believer that when things get tough, you have to focus on the positive.  It just so happens that recently the “Happy Tail” (har har) updates have been rolling in from rescue groups who have pulled our shelter dogs, and I thought this would be the perfect time to share them with you.

I’m so lucky to have relationships with some of the rescues who pull dogs from us so that I get the occasional update. There is nothing that compares to seeing your favorite shelter dogs in a home with a family, no matter if it’s a foster family or forever family. The dogs are out of the shelter and finally getting the chance to be a loved family dog. Here are some no-longer-a-shelter-dog updates!


Patrice was at the shelter for about four months. She had so, so much energy and her obsession with tennis balls made it hard for her to make an impression on potential adopters. She literally wanted nothing more than to chase a tennis ball all day, ever day.

Patrice finally made it out through the rescue group Bully Paws. One of their foster homes came forward to pull a dog from us (we LOVE those), and they chose Patrice. They have other dogs and a massive fenced in yard where she will be able to run as much as her little heart desires. I took this photo the day Patrice left. This is her with one of our volunteers, Les, who, along with many others, has worked with her every day for the last four months. The smiles on both of their faces say it all – it was a huge victory for everyone the day she got out of the shelter for good.


Bully Paws recently sent me this update from Patrice’s foster family. It’s always so hard to predict how dogs will act once they leave the shelter, and hearing that they’re settling right in makes us do all sorts of happy dances.

“Hello, the last couple of days have been a thrill to both Pablo and myself. Patrice is a REALLY sweet little girl. She is still a bit frightened esp of loud noises and her little tail goes between her legs when she hears a dog barking while on our walks. In the yard she will run and play but the moment she sees me walk away or turn to do something else, she will drop her ball and come follow to ensure she is not left behind. She seems to be MOST interested and really enjoys walking along with one of my others (her tail goes up and wags and she holds her head up high while she tries to stay right by their side). She definitely wants to be a part of the pack and seems eager to please each one of mine and their particular personalities (she was part of a particular play group at montgomery and sure she must be missing them a bit).  We are introducing really slowly using baby gates. Patrice has her own room where we set up her crate. The crate door is left open and she goes in herself and curls up to sleep. We did have two accidents the first day she was here (right in front of the door as if she knew where she was supposed to be going). I soon realized that when we take her out into the yard she is so excited to be outside and to run and play that she doesn’t stop to pee (I have another that does the same and who is also ball crazy).  So now we walk her into the yard on a leash before she plays and then before we go in, and she gets lots of praise for going pee outside. Patrice is a very finicky eater and eats just a teeny bit at a time (its shocking to me bc of the amount my other three eat). Tonight is probably the first good amount of food she’s had since being here. But she also got lots of exercise today so she had a good appetite. Most of all, she LOVES to run of her leash and play ball!”

This is a photo of Patrice, the dog who couldn’t settle down in the shelter, in her foster home. Doesn’t she look content? Hooray Patrice!


Peanut (now Wilbur):

Peanut was at the shelter this summer. I fell in love with him because he was this adorable little compact pittie with a crooked tail and the cutest little face.


Bully Paws pulled Peanut from us as well. He is actually now in his FOREVER family, and that is the amazing email update we got:

“Wilbur (formerly Peanut) is awesome. Our obedience instructor loves him. He is so smart that it is hard not to teach him more than what is scheduled for the class each day. We have decided to keep Wilbur in school until he can earn his good citizens certification. The wife and I truly feel lucky to have him. Wilbur gets along great with our elderly basenji (15 years old) and sleeps at night on the foot of the bed with his feline friend (who thinks he is a dog as well). In the morning, when its time to give Tybalt the basenji his daily medicine, all three line up, sitting in a row next to each other. All get something. Wilbur sleeps whenever he is in the car and typically doesn’t get up until the car has stopped. He will jump in the tub for a bath even when it’s not his turn. He loves him some soccer ball. People who know this breed readily come up to us to meet him and talk about their pits. Always a funny story to share. Wilbur has been great to say the least.”


These are two dogs you haven’t met (though hopefully you still loved their stories). Tomorrow I’m going to update you on the story of a dog I introduced a few weeks ago that Jasmine’s House pulled: Kobe. He has come a long way in the few short weeks he’s been out of the shelter, and it’s all thanks to his foster family and Jasmine’s House. Check back tomorrow for another happy tail!

Patrice and her tennis ball-loving smile are available through Bully Paws!

Puppy…. Love?

Do you all remember my best friend Sarah and her first foster dog, Jack Rabbit? Well he got adopted after only two short weeks! Sarah very quickly got to experience the joy and heartbreak of getting a foster pet adopted. She, like me, missed her furry friend when he went to his forever home, but was excited to have her care free life back.

I was really proud of her when she started talking about fostering again (specifically I was happy that the first experience didn’t scare her away for good!). We talked a little bit about the next dog she would take, but then all of a sudden she texted me a photo of a puppy. I knew there was no way that Sarah in her right mind would agree to foster a puppy, so I asked what dog that was. Sure enough, she had volunteered to foster a three month old beagle mix from a West Virginia shelter that lost power during the hurricane.

After I did a quick mental check over to see if she’d totally lost her sanity, Sarah explained to me how she planned to handle said puppy. She has a very flexible work schedule and can even bring little dogs into work, so that covered the supervision issue. She immediately went to PetSmart and bought a whole bunch of puppy supplies including food, puppy pads and lots of chew toys, followed by her “puppy proofing” the apartment. She armed herself with lots of treats and a crate and set out to teach the puppy boundaries and manners. This time around, the puppy is not allowed on the bed and must sleep in his crate – two things Jack got away with.

She admitted to me that the first couple hours were extremely stressful, and she wasn’t sure if she could keep it up. I told her she’d had it easy with Jack because, in general, the first day or so of having a new dog is very full of, “Oh shit, what was I thinking?” thoughts.  But Sarah had a talk with her roommate, Natalie, and Natalie convinced Sarah to stick it out for a few more days, offering to help care for him. Together they would make it work and get him adopted.  Besides, after only a few hours of being in their apartment he began to settle down (and then bounce around, and then settle, and then bounce. . .).

To me their harebrained scheme sounds totally crazy – but they seem to be doing just fine so far.  The puppy’s name went from Spencer to Lincoln to I think they’ve settled on Sinatra, and he is happily living it up puppy-style in their apartment. I can almost surely say that Sarah will not be fostering a puppy again for a very long time, but for now she is learning what it takes to care for, teach and love a little wiggling three month old bundle of energy and fuzz. In her own words, he is “the love of her life and the bane of her existence.” Ah, puppies.

If you’re interested in adopting this sweet guy, email me at peacelovefoster@gmail.com.

Conquering the Stairs.

** First, a fostermom moment: Baxter has officially learned sit! He didn’t know it when he first got here (or at least pretended not to) and now he does it perfectly! Every time he sits on command – especially for other people – my heart just bursts! I know it’s a really small thing but I am just so proud of my little bugger! Now on to our regularly scheduled programming…**

Like many other dogs who got the short end of the socialization stick in their early years, Comeback Kid Baxter can be understandably a little weary of new situations. One new situation that he didn’t exactly embrace with open paws? Stairs.

Now if you think about it from a dog’s point of view, stairs can certainly be quite scary. They are little zig zagging floors that lead to the depths of WHO KNOWS WHERE. Baxter will follow me all over the house, only to stop dead in his tracks when I head down the stairs. This has been a little inconvenient, as I live in the basement and any time I want to go to my room Bax won’t follow. I resorted to the solution for all things Baxter: food!

Baxter is extremely food motivated, which makes training him not only easy, but also really fun. Check out how this exercise went (and yes this was real first attempt!):

The bait: kibble. On every single step.

There ya go, Bax. Not too hard.

Half way there. Will he turn around!?

I'd bet money that he won't be able to resist that big victory pile at the bottom...

Success!!! Good boy Bax.

Then of course he turned right around and trotted back up the stairs. See ya! I figured I should be happy with that and was ready to call it a day. Until I heard…

The pitter patter of little paws slinking back down the stairs. Baxter’s good old love for food brought him back to investigate if there were any missing pieces. He walked up and down and up and down – so many times that he completely forgot why he was ever afraid!

Now Bax trots up and down the stairs fearlessly with ease, and he and I can hang out in my room worry free (which clearly CK Bax embraced quickly).

Introducing Comeback Kid Baxter.

Hi! My name is Baxter. My fostermama keeps adding “Comeback Kid” in front of it for some reason, saying how I’ve come such a long way from where I started. I’m not sure what she’s talking about, I just like the way it makes her smile.

I am two years old and I have been through a lot in my time. Doesn’t matter to me, though – I just want to have fun! Meeting new people is my favorite way to have fun. I used to get a little scared by humans I didn’t know, but then I realized you all are just a bunch of BFGs: Big Friendly Giants. Now I seek out every human in the room so I can say “Hi!” Yep, just like that: “HI!” (wag wag wag).

My other favorite thing to do is go on walks. Betcha don’t know how much stamina a studly pup like me has, do ya? When fostermom puts on my Maryland Terps jersey, her friends say I look like a football player. Little do they know I’m way too gentle to be a football player. But don’t tell them that! Fostermom says it’s really great how nicely I walk on a leash, even with all those big muscles.  Hey, I just like to enjoy the day. What’s the big hurry?

I only got here to this new place a few days ago. I kinda miss my old pals back on the farm, and my two favorite rescuemoms. They said this would be good for me though, so I could learn something called “manners”. What the heck are “manners” anyway? My new fostermom keeps telling me words like “sit” and “stay”. She gives me hotdogs when she says those words (I guess I’m doing something right?), so I’m thinking I kinda like this manners game! I also like how at this new place I can splay out on the floor while all the humans stare at this glowing screen that has other humans on it. The carpet is comfy, especially when it has a big squishy dog bed on it, and I really like being with my new pack.

Fostermom told me that I should be excited about all the big adventures we have planned. She keeps mentioning these things called “adoption shows” and “obedience classes” and “hiking trips”.  She also says that I’m looking for my forever home. Something about the word “forever” just makes me feel all fuzzy inside. I sure hope it means what I think it means!

So for all the things I’ve gone through in the past, it sure looks like I have an exciting future. Lucky me! Here are some images of me. I think this is why fostermom followed me around with a black block all weekend. Hmm, who knows!

She is getting out the leash…. wahoo, gotta go!

Great to meet ya!

~ Bax

Things to Come… :)

So remember when I wrote about the decision for my next foster move? Well I have a little confession to make. When I posted that, I actually did have an inkling of what was coming next. Mostly because I knew I couldn’t stay without a dog for too long, but also because it looked like a series of events was going to land another foster right on my doorstep. I can’t wait for you to meet the newest part of my life, and he sure is excited to meet you too!

Now What?

As soon as things slow down it’s like an instant, full-blown reminder of the dog that is missing in my life. This time the feeling first manifested itself as a serious longing to have Zabora back. I was missing her tail wags, cuddling, and genuine pitty smile. It seems I need to find another furry soul to take in, nurture and love, then pass off to a deserving family.

It’s tough though, after a long dog hiatus, to make the decision to jump back in. It’s not easy to re-adjust your life to accommodate another living creature again. No one can deny that a dog-less life means more freedom and less responsibility. You stop worrying about your pooch at home and you are free to do what you want when you want. When it comes time to change that again, it really is hard! I have friends that live in another city that I like to spend weekends with, I visit my boyfriend when I can, sometimes I have to work late… all of these things will need to be adjusted if I want to bring home another foster. I’m okay with it because it’s always worth it, it can just be a harsh realization – a realization that many people don’t understand when they get a pet, which is one reason for the abundance of homeless animals.

So now it’s time to make the decision: do I bring home another foster? Aleksandra is officially gone to the other side of the country (heartbreak of the century), so this one will be completely mine: no swapping when I need a free weekend, no constant marketing on a multi-thousand hit blog. It’s a huge responsibility to get a dog adopted, and that is a reality you have to face when you sign up to foster. Am I willing to make the commitment, especially with the holidays looming so close?

I started this blog so I could share my journey – both the positive, inspiring parts of fostering, as well as the difficult parts. So stay tuned as I decide where to go from here.

Happy Halloween!

Sorry for the horrific iPhone photo quality. Get excited for more pictures from Friday’s Howl-o-ween party.