Helping Kobe Cope

Yesterday we celebrated two lucky dogs who were pulled by Bully Paws and are excelling outside of the shelter. I now want to share with you how Kobe’s story is progressing! Remember Kobe? He was the lucky brown “pit bull” dog who made it out of the shelter with Jasmine’s House after four months of waiting:


Kobe was luckier than we realized when he left with Jasmine’s House that day.  The shelter took quite a toll on Kobe, and he developed severe anxiety by the time he got out. At his foster home he made it clear how much he hated being alone by doing some pretty serious damage the first day his foster parents left for work (anyone with dogs that have separation anxiety can relate to this, I’m sure).

Jasmine’s House and Kobe’s fosters immediately put a plan into action to combat his separation anxiety. It quickly became evident that Kobe didn’t need just the usual tricks to help his anxiety, he needed rehabilitation.  This would require lots of time, patience and dedication – which is exactly what his fosters & Jasmine’s House gave him.

Every day Kobe’s foster drops him off at Heather’s house (the foster coordinator for Jasmine’s House) before they go to work at 6:30 am. Kobe spends the day with Heather, and then gets picked up on his foster dad’s way home. Heather also happens to be Joanie’s foster! It turns out that those two are perfect for each other, and after spending a few days across baby gates and on parallel walks, they are now almost inseparable.



Another doggy friend can really help dogs with separation anxiety – though it often doesn’t completely cure it. The regimen for Kobe is an intensive one, starting out with trips into the crate for only one minute or less. The point is to slowly build him up to where he can tolerate being alone for five minutes, and then thirty minutes, and then hours. This process can be very slow going, but it is essential for a dog who needs to learn that being alone is not the end of the world. For a more detailed description of crate training/combatting separation anxiety, I recommend reading Patricia McConnell’s book I’ll Be Home Soon.

Heather emailed me with a milestone just the other week: she went to walk one of her dogs for 40 minutes and when she returned, Kobe was fast asleep on his bed (next to Joanie in her crate). Then, I received another update that Kobe had been left alone for four hours and again, he was totally fine.  These are huge, huge victories for dogs like Kobe with such severe anxiety, and they were accomplished with consistency, patience and lots of hard work.

Kobe is no where close to anxiety-free yet, but he has come leaps and bounds in just a few short weeks.  He still does not like to be crated when left alone, and doesn’t appreciate tie-downs either – so he might be a dog who just won’t be able to stay in a crate. There are plenty of non-crate trained dogs out there; that’s not super important. But what is important is that Kobe doesn’t feel like he needs to totally lose his marbles when his humans leave – which it seems like he is learning.


When he is not practicing being anxiety-free, Kobe is working towards his CGC!  Kobe participates in CGC class at Canine Lifestyle Academy, and he is quickly excelling with the help of his loving and dedicated foster parents.



He lives with another female dog and six cats, who I hear he is getting along well with! So even as Kobe works on getting his ducks in a row in terms of anxiety, he continues to be the darling dog we know and love.  He is lucky to have so many dedicated people in his life willing to work with him instead of just throwing in the towel and saying he is too difficult. He is going to make a family very happy one day!


Joanie, the little black pup, is available for adoption through Jasmine’s House rescue! Kobe is not available just yet, but he will be one day. If you’re interested in either, head to the Jasmine’s House website and fill out an application.

Pink Piggy: Just Dog Gone Cute

Joanie might be gone (stay updated on her new blog!), but you better believe I’m not done writing about her just yet. I’ve still got some stuff to share, starting with this beautiful pink collar she rocked all week:

You might have noticed it in our photo from visiting Chocko from Pittieful Love. I tried to put it on her any time we went out in public because, unfortunately, she’s um. . . not exactly the most inviting looking to someone who may be afraid of dogs. Yes, I know I know – how dare anyone be afraid of adorable miss Joanie – but let’s get real, she’s a black dog and she’s got cropped ears and big scars and some people might think that looks scary. So instead of saying *how dare they* and huffing at their preferences, I throw this on her and instantly make her silly to encourage interactions.

We actually never encountered anyone who was visibly afraid of Joanie’s appearance without the collar, most people didn’t take a second look, but when she had her collar on people would drive past us slowly, grinning from ear to ear at this dog who looked like a clown. I put it on her when we would walk by the playground at the elementary school, and the kids would squeal and say, “Look at that cute doggy!” Now if they would have said that without the collar, who knows – but as with all things having to do with my foster dogs. . . I like to set them up for success :-).

I bought this collar and three others like it in different colors from this great site called Just Dog Gone Cute. I’ve been wanting to get something like this – something easy, colorful, and bright to put on both my fosters and the shelter dogs I was photographing – for a long time, but my lack of artistic and creative skills were holding me back. When I finally stumbled across Just Dog Gone Cute, I immediately ordered a bunch! At a reasonable $12 a pop, these collars were a no brainer – and a portion of each sale even goes to rescue! Win-win. Can you tell I went a little online shopping happy for dog stuff?

I can’t wait to parade whatever dog I get next around in any/all of these collars. I would definitely recommend them or something similar to anyone who fosters or volunteers at a shelter and wants to add a little something extra to their adoptable dogs. A little color can go a long way in an adoption photo thumbnail!

For more information about adopting Joanie, email me at or fill out an application on the Jasmine’s House website.

Bye Bye Joanie!

Yesterday we said goodbye to Joanie as she returned back to her other foster home. What a week it’s been! It was such a roller coaster of emotions: the first two days were crazy as everyone adjusted to a new situation, then we spent time coexisting, then I fell trulymadlydeeply in love, then I experienced feelings of both relief and “Wait! Don’t go!” as we prepared to send her back home.

The good news for you all is that Joanie’s foster mom also has a blog! You can keep up with Joanie’s journey at Waiting Between Trains. Thank goodness for that, right!? Heather’s got big plans for Joanie – including trips into town, CGC class, and an awesome Halloween costume – and I’m sure we’ll get to hear all about it.

Thanks for an awesome week, J!  We’ll miss ya like crazy!

Now someone please scoop up this amazing dog!

For more information about adopting Joanie, email me at or fill out an application on the Jasmine’s House website.

Spoiled Rotten

For those of you who don’t know, Joanie’s full name is Joanie Rotten. In the words of Jasmine’s House, this is how her name came to be:

“Johnny Rotten was the lead singer of The Sex Pistols, a 70’s UK punk rock band responsible for initiating the punk movement in the United Kingdom and inspiring many later punk and alternative rock musicians. They are regarded as one of the most influential acts in the history of popular music. Joanie Rotten got her name because she reminded us of the kind of perseverance, leadership and influence this band had on music history. She’s a tough, beautiful lady. She’s got swagger, she’s cool under pressure, and she’s wagging her tail in the face of all the opposition she’s faced. She’s gonna make a difference, be an inspiration and change perceptions, just like Johnny Rotten and the Sex Pistols did.”

She fits the name pretty well, wouldn’t you say? While I LOVE this description, I’d venture to say she ended up with “Rotten” in her name for another reason too: because she’s got a way of making her humans SPOIL her rotten!

We have a pretty strict ‘no animals on the furniture’ rule. We bend the rule for some dogs – like Zabora and Otis – but only on one specific couch and only if that couch has protective covering. Well, as you can imagine, Joanie made her way on to the couch the first night. No surprise there. What I didn’t expect to happen is that she’d win both me and my Mom over to make it up on our beds too! I came home from work the other day to this sight:

Yes, that is Joanie taking a nap with my Mama, ON the bed. Naturally I couldn’t be the mean one and not let her on mine, so later that night, this is where Joanie ended up. . .

For the sake of not having her foster parents hate me for spoiling all the manners out of her, Joanie still spends the nights in her crate. During the day, though, you can probably find her on either a bed or the couch, snoozing away (or just looking really cute).

Can’t say I mind having this snuggle bug accessible for nap time cuddles!

If you’re interested in learning more about adopting Joanie, email me at or fill out an application on the Jasmine’s House website.

YOUR weekend with Joanie

If there is anyone out there contemplating adding a beautiful Elderbull to your family, this post is for you. This is a glimpse of what it would be like to live with Joanie. I’ll recount our weekend adventures, and show you just how much fun this sweet girl is!

We started Friday out in Baltimore with our good friends over at Pittieful Love – Jess & Chocko!  Since Joanie’s been at my house, I’ve been avoiding pretty much any interaction with other dogs because I’m not sure what she’ll be like and I’d much rather do it in a controlled environment, not just with a random dog we find on a walk. So Jess & I set up a socialization walk down at Baltimore’s Inner Harbor. We agreed upon no meet and greets, just a laid back parallel walk because Chock is working on his social skills too and we wanted to set everyone up for success. The dogs did great! For the most part they totally ignored each other while Jess and I chatted and walked them side by side in a quieter part of the harbor. I was glad to have a controlled, positive experience in close proximity to another dog. Plus catching up with Jess was awesome!

Saturday was a very busy day for me, so Joanie stayed home with my parents while I ran around all day. She is great for them – she just wanders around the house and says hi to them every once in a while, or she is dead asleep on the couch. Saturday night was her first sleepover without me, as I had an overnight event with the boyfriend. She was, again, great for them while I was away, but only after helping me get ready for the night!

Today I was finally free to give my attention back to her again. I gave her a much needed bath, which she behaved beautifully for. She wasn’t a huge fan until the toweling off part – but then she melted into a bunch of wiggles because she looooves to get petted, scratched, and massaged. She also was thrilled to show off her sparkly furs.

After the bath we celebrated her new shiney look by parading around the neighborhood. Joanie loves walks almost as much as human interaction.  Joanie is – as a good friend of mine calls it – a nose with a dog attached. That is why nose work is so beneficial for her, and that is why walks in the crisp fall air are so enjoyable for the both of us. Her perfect leash skills make it that much more pleasant. Yesterday we visited a playground, and Joanie wanted to know where all the kids were to play with her?

We spent the rest of Sunday doing normal Sunday things – catching up on laundry and watching football! Joanie, of course, helped with both. She is such a good little helper (okay, maybe a better helper with the football cheering than the laundry – can’t blame her!).

See? Look how well she fits into someone’s life. She seems to be able to adapt to so much, especially when she receives just as much affection as she gives out.  Joanie is an extremely special dog, and whoever ends up with her will be very lucky!

For more information on adopting Joanie, email me at or head over to the Jasmine’s House website and fill out an application.

Find it!

After many months of medical procedures and recovery, Joanie is getting her spunk back as she continues to feel better every day.  While walks are great to tire her out, she can only handle so much physical activity – so she needs another outlet for her energy.  From the three days I’ve had her, I’ve found that Joanie really benefits from using her nose to exercise her brain and wear her out (like all dogs!).

The easiest and most fun way for us to do some informal nose work is playing “Find it!” in the backyard. Using string cheese, I throw little pieces all over the yard and send her sniffing after them. I try to put them in a pattern so that she can find her way to the next one (she’s got a good sniffer, but it’s not that good if the treat is too far away). Because she has to root through the grass a bit, it’s not a super easy find and usually takes some effort – which is great since I want her to work those brain muscles!

We even tried a few times where I was up on the deck and she was down in the yard. The string cheese is bright white so she can see sort of where I throw it, and the rest is up to her nose.  This also helps to get her down the stairs to the yard without me taking her down there. She’s not really needy, but she doesn’t particularly care to venture down on her own – which is sort of inconvenient when you’re a lazy FosterMom!

“Find it!” is a great game. Ten or fifteen minutes of this is equally as tiring as probably a thirty minute walk. The thing about physical exercise versus mental is that when we’re done with a walk, Joanie’s brain is still ready to go. She still wants to sniff and investigate everything. But after a walk and some nose work, she’s out for the count.

It’s been fun learning what helps Joanie relax around us and what she needs to keep her happy. Watching a dog settle down right before your eyes is really rewarding, especially when you’re not sure they’re going to get there initially (more about that later).  Joanie is just another perfect example of how enrichment can be helpful for any dog!