17 Hours With The One That Got Away

On Friday night I had the privilege of watching Johnnie Cash while her parents were out of town (I know, right!). I picked her up after a long work day and dropped her off early the next morning, so I literally had her in my care for about seventeen hours. But it was sixteen and a half more hours than I’d spent with her since she got adopted almost exactly one year ago.

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After work I drove to Johnnie’s house and opened up her front door to find a groggy, sleepy-faced pup awakening in her crate. At first she was wary of this person entering her home that wasn’t her mom or dad, but then when I exclaimed, “Johnnie girl!” she immediately perked up and seemed to be excited to see me. I have no idea if she remembered me or not, but we spent a good five minutes rolling around on the ground giving and receiving kisses with exuberant tail/body wags from Johnnie. I forgot how wiggly she gets when she is excited!

Everything about her and our time together came immediately flooding back. Her happy greetings. Her amazing manners (she sat for me right away). Her gentle but excited face licks. Her general enthusiasm for just about everything. When she calmed down I petted that soft spot on the top of her head that I feel like I’ve petted a million times. It’s crazy how even though she hasn’t been with us for over a year it still feels like I know her so well.

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I harnessed her up and took her outside to go to the bathroom, and she immediately sat at the door and then checked in with me while we were walking. I was floored by her perfect manners. A year later and she has improved so much; it is quite evident how much work her family has done with her. With every learned appropriate behavior she demonstrated – checking in, sitting politely for her next cue, controlling her enthusiasm – my heart swelled. Wow, I thought, this dog is so special… how did we let her get away?

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A few months ago Mark moved to New York City for an amazing job opportunity, so unfortunately he wasn’t able to be with Johnnie Cash for our brief reunion. But I know that Johnnie means as much to him as she does to me, so I sent him pictures starting from when I first picked her up. With every photo we reminisced a little more about the ten weeks we spent with her. It seems that with Johnnie Cash the more that changes, the more that stays the same. She still sits like a goof ball, she still loves to sleep in the car, she still bounds around the house like a happy-go-lucky pup and she still trots along like her knees don’t bend. So much about her is still exactly what it was when we said goodbye twelve months ago.

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After just watching Paco for ten days, I am reminded again of why I don’t want to have a dog of my own at this time in my life. But being with Johnnie also reminded me of the bond I can have with a dog, and how special that can feel. It was nice to get that feeling again. I could not be happier about Johnnie’s family and all they do for her, and I don’t think I could have written a better outcome for her. At this point I am appreciative that she has continued to show me what it can feel like to make what seems to be a life-long connection with a dog. I know I have that with all my fosters, but Miss Cash is so much like what I envision in my “forever dog” that it’s nice to get that I can have this bond with my own dog one day feeling.

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I sure do love you, Johnnie Cash! Thanks for everything you’ve done for me, including turning me into the trainer I am today. I owe ya one, pretty girl.

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Johnnie Cash UPDATE!

I know you all are anxious to hear about how Johnnie is doing in her now home. To put it simply, she’s doing absolutely fabulous! Here are bits and pieces from email updates I’ve been getting from her adopters (yes, they are awesome at keeping me updated!).

Day 1 – 3

“You were not kidding, she is a sleepy dog!  We bought her a dog bed and as soon as we brought it home she knew it was for her.  When we put it on the ground she grabbed it and started “nesting” almost immediately!

If anything she is an angel in the house.  Not too crazy at all, actually very calm.  Whenever she wants to play she grabs a toy out of the toy bin and starts playing with it.  Sometimes she’ll follow us around the condo and is always very interested about what we are doing in the kitchen!  We bought hotdogs, string cheese, plain yogurt and pumpkin to use.  We haven’t used the pumpkin yet.   Today I’m going to make pumpkin and yogurt ice treats to put in her Kong for later.”

Day 7

“We had a very good experience taking her over to the family house yesterday.  We walked her around the block, and then Stella and Max met us around the corner for a group walk.  It went very well and we ended up staying until 10:30!  There were a few moments were she got too excited, but we were able to correct it.  At the end of the night she was sleeping in my lap.  I love her cuddles.

Thank you so much for your continued help and advice.  Yes, it feels like the week has gone so well considering it’s been such a big transition for JC!!!  She is the most loving girl, and we are so ecstatic about her and her wagging butt.”

Day 14

We had quite the busy weekend with my family and JC!  We went to Shenandoah Saturday and took JC to Hazeltop and Rapidan Loop for nice day hike.  She did really well on the hike and we brought extra food and drink for her, too.  It rained a little on us and Johnnie gave us a classic Eeyore face, but as soon as the rain stopped her smile came back!  I attached a picture of us at Rapidan with her (and her stylish backpack!).  T and I decided to buy a year pass to Shenandoah!

Day 20

“Everything with JC is going really well!  Everyone falls in love with her where ever we go, and we keep finding more toys to give her.  We bought an “invincible” squeaky toy and she pretty much destroyed it in 10 or so minutes…

Here are some more pics to brighten your day!  My dad told me she is the most photogenic dog he has ever met!”

And with that, I will share with everyone the photos that literally made my day week month:


I know you’re thinking what I’m thinking right now: couldn’t be more perfect, right? I love her. I love them. I love their little family. I love the happiness. I love the LOVE.

A perfect way to kick off a three-day weekend! Happy almost Memorial Day!

Why You Want Me Wednesday

I think it’s becoming pretty clear, no? I am a very want-able dog! I am a lap dog, I like to get into mischief adventure with you, I’ll make you laugh simply by sleeping and I look fabulous in a dress. How do you spell “no brainer?” Oh yeah, “A-D-O-P-T J-O-H-N-N-I-E C-A-S-H!”

This week, I am here to tell you that I, Johnnie Cash, will be awesome at the following:


Yep, that’s right. You take me for a nice hike in the morning and give me a few food puzzles to work on and I’m usually pretty good for the day.  In fact, as you are reading this, I am probably curled up asleep in a sun spot somewhere thanks to the fact that my Foster Mama already gave me a walk and my breakfast this morning. Anybody else up for a sunny afternoon snooze?


To adopt Johnnie Cash and have an afternoon nap buddy, email peacelovefoster@gmail.com!

Why You Want Me Wednesday

Foster mama says there are a gajillion reasons why someone should want to adopt me. She says there are so many reasons that they all deserve their own post. So from now on, every Wednesday I will tell you a reason why you want me in your family.

Today’s reason:


Yep, that’s right. My compact 40ish pound body loves to find its way on and around your lap. Sometimes it even happens without you noticing. . . one second you’re petting me and the next second – bam! I’m curled up in your lap. See for yourself!

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Am I not the cutest thing ever, or what?

If you want to adopt Johnnie Cash to be your lap dog, email peacelovefoster@gmail.com.

More About Johnnie Cash!

Enough about Johnnie’s past – from here on out we’re going to celebrate who she is now and how bright her future looks!


Johnnie Cash is a little bit over a year old. She’s smart as a whip from what I can tell, learning both “sit” and “down” in the shelter without much effort. She’s picking up quickly on some of the rules of the house, like sitting before she goes out the door and staying off the bed and couches (though she’s not happy about it).

There’s not a person we’ve met that she doesn’t like, and most people are absolutely thrilled with her overly exuberant greetings – though we are working hard to get her to stop jumping up on people! At only about 40 pounds, it’s tough to tell her no to jumping sometimes when she’s covering your face in slobbery kisses.

She absolutely lives for toys and sticks. While she’s pretty food motivated, she’ll do almost anything for a good rope toy. It makes play time fun because she’ll work to receive her toys. Right now we’re only practicing sit and down, but in the future I hope to add some tricks and sharper skills to her repertoire!


Johnnie Cash would be a fabulous dog for pretty much anyone looking to add an active, happy puppy to their life. She’ll excel with positive training so she can be learn desired behaviors. She can be sensitive, especially around big scary things like school buses and garbage trucks, so her adopter should be excited to do training classes with her and to help build her confidence.

Johnnie gets along well with most other dogs. I haven’t figured out what it is about the dogs she decides she doesn’t like, and I probably never will, but she loves I’d say about 90% of other dogs she meets.  Johnnie will probably LOVE to find consistent friends and have play dates. Here she is playing with shelter girlfriend Diamond.


Like I mentioned yesterday, there is no reason why this girl shouldn’t be scooped up! But as usual you can bet that we’ll share all our new adventures together until she’s gone. She’s a total goofball so I know she’ll keep us all laughing for the time being.


If you’re interested in adopting Johnnie Cash, email peacelovefoster@gmail.com.