Love Thy Neighbor

The tragic events that played out at Navy Yard yesterday are, thankfully, few and far between.  But when they happen, they come out of nowhere. They rock the world. They make time stop moving, for hours at a time. They change people’s lives forever.  And they sure do make you think.

These events bring out compassion in all of us. Suddenly, even though the majority of us don’t have relatives or loved ones at the scene, we’re all panicked and heartbroken and distraught with the rest of the country. We pray for the families of those who are affected.  We worry about the human lives that will never be the same.  It’s what brings us all together in a time of fear, horror and tragedy. It’s what brings change so that these awful events don’t happen twice.

The animal welfare community can sometimes lack compassion. Not for the animals, no way – but towards our fellow humans.  We judge and we make assumptions and we don’t wait to hear explanations. I see it the worst when owners have to re-home pets. I’m guilty of it, I know we all are. We become hurt and jaded and we experience compassion fatigue because we work in a world where the number of lives that need saving is never ending.

But after days like yesterday, the last thing I want to do is fight with my neighbor.  The last thing I want to do is spit hate towards someone whose story I am deciding for myself, instead of hearing it from them. I don’t even want to go close to Facebook, where trolling and bullying others is rampant. I want to wake up tomorrow and face my job in animal welfare with a “how can I help you help your pet” attitude and nothing less. I want to take a minute to stop and listen to people and to actually believe them, instead of always assuming the worst. I want to be more compassionate.

I know it’s hard to stay open minded. Like I’ve already said: it’s easy to become hardened and jaded in animal rescue, and even in this everyday, often violent world we live in. But the second we stop loving our neighbors, wanting to help them and being open to lending a hand when they need it is when the animals begin to suffer. Sure, there are some nasty humans out there – but just like the animals we help, people are individuals. They all come with their own background and their own stories. No two people are alike; no two situations are the exact same. When we move past our own judgements, we open up a world of solutions.

I don’t know about you, but facing the world with love instead of hate seems like a much better idea when there is already so much hate out there. Yes it can be hard, but you just never know where that positive attitude will make a difference.


Will U Be Mine? – The Johnnie Edition

Johnnie Cash is borrowing almost this exact same post from Baxter’s search for a Valentine last year because it is just so perfect. Bax wrote this poem, and now Johnnie wants to know the same. . . will you be hers? See for yourself:


violetsareblue ifyouadoptme foreverloveyou

Couldn’t have said it better myself, J girl!  Happy Valentine’s Day, everyone. Take this day as an excuse to tell EVERYONE you love in your life – parents, friends, significant others, pets – how much you appreciate them. I sure do love y’all!

Nothing Says It’s Almost Valentine’s Day Like. . .

. . . a fabulous love-tastic photo shoot of adoptable animals!

I had the pleasure of working with the extremely talented photographer Virgil Ocampo again last night (the same volunteer that took these amazing shots of adoptables a few weeks ago). We were taking pictures for an exciting upcoming Valentine’s Day event at the shelter, and we took the opportunity to go all out with cute pink and red props.

I absolutely love Valentine’s Day. I love the chance to celebrate love and to show the people I love in my life a little bit of extra appreciation for a day.  That meant that I had a total blast with this shoot. I can’t wait to show you all the photos! Here’s a little behind the scenes action. . . stay tuned!

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Week With Joanie in Review

Joanie has settled a LOT in the short week we’ve had her, and now it’s like she fits right in. It didn’t start off so easy – in fact it was kind of rocky, but we’ve both adjusted accordingly and have found a really great place. Joanie now just hangs out at home with my Dad all day while he works and she sleeps. When I get home from work we play and go for a nice long walk, then have a relaxing evening on the couch.  She’s showing her true self: the perfect house dog!

We’ve crammed a lot of fun into this week. After learning that exercise was the key to success, Joanie and I enjoyed many long walks together – both in the early mornings and in the evenings.  Yesterday morning we ventured out into the woods for the first time. Joanie, as you can imagine, loved all the sniffs – although she wasn’t too pleased about the extra obstacles.

When we go out at night I am always sure to deck her out in her safety vest, especially since she is a dark colored dog. Night time walks are always our most relaxing and enjoyable because there is no pressure to get home in time for work. . . again, lots of opportunities for sniff breaks!

Joanie totally won over my parents who are thrilled to have such a sweet dog in the house again. Bax and Otis were cordial and friendly, but it hasn’t really been since Zabora that we had a dog who ran to greet them at the door with an overly-wiggly butt. Joanie’s got an awesome tail wag, which she promptly turns around and sticks in your face for a good scratch. Looks pretty much like this:

Joanie never ceases to stop making us smile. Especially when she gets her bursts of energy and wants to play. She will barge into our liriope bushes and pounce around like she is deathing a bunch of jumping beans. Cutest. Thing. Ever.  She also enjoys bouncing around the living room while playing with her favorite monkey toy.  Today, the monkey finally met his demise. . .

Last but not least, Joanie continually surprises us with her uncanny ability to resemble a pig. Not only does she look like one, she sounds almost identical to one.  Here is a video of some serious piggy snorting. Listen closely: pig or Joanie?

I know I keep gushing about this dog, but I just can’t help it. She’s so happy-go-lucky and up for anything. We get to enjoy the weekend together, then she is back to her long term foster.  I don’t want to think about her leaving just yet, so you better believe we’ll find some serious trouble fun to get into this weekend!

If you’re interested in learning more about adopting Joanie, email me at

Happy Birthday, FosterDad!

Today is FosterDad’s birthday! Unfortunately we can’t spend it together because I am here at AFF and he is out of the country for work, so I wanted to do a little celebration on the blog. Happy Birthday to the man who is supportive of my fostering endeavors, often stuck behind the camera, usually picking up after me and my dog, understanding of (and joins me on) my crazy dog schedule, and happy to help me in whatever way he can. I couldn’t do this without you – so happy to be on this journey with my best friend!

One Year in Photos

To continue the celebration of our One Year Blog-a-versary, here are lots (and I mean lots) of photos that I feel portray some of our most outstanding moments (or that I think are just really cute). They have all been featured on this blog, and, to the best of my ability, they tell the story of the last twelve months. Enjoy :)

August 2011

September 2011

October 2011

November 2011

December 2011

January 2012

February 2012

March 2012

April 2012

May 2012

June 2011

July 2012

August 2012

It sure makes ya miss the little stinkers, doesn’t it!? I love going back and remembering all the silly things about each dog – the things that get lost as time goes on and as new ones come into your life. I still can’t express in words what this blog means to me and what I’ve gotten out of the last year, which is why I am so grateful to have the journey documented in photos.  I hope you enjoyed that recap as much as I did. Thank you all so much for your congratulations at this milestone – it means the world to me!