Saying Goodbye to Profitta

I know I promised you guys I’d tell you all about the reunions with my foster pups, but unfortunately I have to interrupt those stories for one post. On Friday we found out that Mark’s family dog Profitta passed away.


You might remember her from the many posts she’s been featured in on this blog. Two of my favorite entries in particular were the guest posts from her family members: Mark (foster dad) and Mark’s mom, Mrs. B. It’s always been clear to me how much Mark’s family loves Profitta. When I met Mark, Profitta was about nine and he still talked about her like she was the puppy of the family. They got her when she was an adorable eight weeks old.

proMrs. B wrote in her guest post about how much work it was to raise a puppy, but how rewarding it was to bring this amazing dog in as a member of their family. The bond between those two was always special – as I’m sure any of you out there who have raised a puppy can imagine. In a house full of boys, Profitta and Mrs. B had to stick together!

Mark’s family paid the love forward by taking in another golden, Seamus, who needed a home. The two pups became fast friends, and the new “babies” of the family.

samprobedWe have so many fun memories with the two pups, Profitta always being the older, wiser and just-as-mischevious one.  One thing I remember most about her is how she would always come find your knee when you were sitting down to rest her head on it. She was such a sweet, gentle and loving dog.




Recently, Profitta’s older sister status became even more important when Mark’s brother welcomed the first baby of the next generation to the family. Profitta took her duties very seriously, as you can see.

Pro1She was such a special part of the family, it’s been tough to say goodbye.  We miss you so much, Profitta!


Dear Johnnie

After doing this fostering thing for about a year and a half now, I’ve become a firm believer in the idea that “everything happens for a reason.” Each of my foster dogs found their way into my life for what ended up seeming like a pretty obvious reason, and, after reflecting on it since you left, your situation is no different.

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The puzzle pieces for how you ended up with me can be put together pretty easily. After you arrived at the shelter in September, we continued to cross paths. I don’t often spend time one-on-one with a specific shelter dog as much as I did with you. Remember how I dressed you up and took your picture for our October e-newsletter? And then how I brought you on tv with me not once but twice? It seemed like we were always ending up with each other for one reason or another. So because I knew you so well, I paid attention to what the buzz was about you.

This leads me to the why you ended up with me. This was your doing. You had reached your limit. Not a limit set by any one person, but by your own little brain. The kennel was too much for you. For five months you teetered on the edge of rambunctious in a teenage puppy way and rambunctious in an unsafe, unhealthy way. By the end of January, it was clear you weren’t happy and that if it went on much longer like this, your own health and well-being would need to be seriously thought about. When I took you to that adoption event in late January and watched the calm sparkle return to your eye, I knew I had to give you the chance to get back to the dog you were without all the stress of a shelter.

This photo was taken at the adoption event where I decided you were mine.

This photo was taken at the adoption event where I decided you were coming home with me.

The why you ended up with me continued to make itself incredibly obvious as you settled in and became a part of our family. I say “our” family because you bonded in your own way with each and every one of us that you lived with. Having you around actually brought us all together. It was a team effort, helping you learn to be a family dog again. Sometimes it was difficult, but at the end of the day when you would bounce around the kitchen with your squeaky toy as we all made dinner, we couldn’t help but laugh at you and, more importantly, fall in love with you. In addition – like this blog made pretty clear – you, foster dad and I became quite the little family unit. That dynamic was actually a new one for us, but I soaked up every minute of it. We knew it wasn’t the right time for us to bring a dog into our lives, but pretending that you were ours for a little while was a nice privilege.



I think the final why that I will take away most from our time together is how much I learned from you about training. I can read books and articles and attend seminars as much as I want – but nothing compares to trying it and seeing it work in real life. I was your mentor, showing and teaching you how to make good decisions, and you were my partner, helping me learn how to improve my communication. You showed me what can be accomplished with force-free, reward based training and how much a dog can blossom when you bring trust and confidence into a relationship. An energetic, misunderstood shelter dog like you was exactly what I needed at this point in my life – you changed my opinions, my outlook and, honestly, probably my career path (!).

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So while because of all the whys it was hard to let you go, I know that everything happens for a reason and that you were 100% meant to move on to your new (amazing!) family. I’m selfishly jealous of them that they now get to be the ones who wake up to your adorable sleepy face, that they get to take you on hiking adventures, that they’ll perfect your skills at being an awesome family dog and that they’ll be the ones to watch you grow old. I would love to be the lucky one who shares those moments with you, but I was put here not to be your final stop, but to be a stepping stone for you to find the happiness of a forever family.

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I haven’t yet learned how to make one of those adorable photo slideshows to music, so instead I will just include a song with lyrics that I think sum up perfectly how I feel about you leaving: “I’ll love you long after you’re gone.”

We’ll miss you, Johnnie Cash. Thanks for so much sunshine and laughter!


Celebrating Anna

While I was cheering for Otis as he went to his new home last week, dear friends of mine were saying a sad goodbye to their beautiful dog, Anna. Many of you met Anna on Friday when Chick so eloquently wrote about her, and now I’d like to write a bit. The nice thing about these blogs is that we can share wonderful dogs with hundreds of people who may never meet them in person, but now have the opportunity to get to know them through pictures and stories. Anna certainly deserves this little bit of spotlight I can give her.

I met Anna about a year ago. The first time I saw her I marveled at her spunk, shocked that she was 14 years old. Her fur was soft as silk, with a loving, gentle personality to match. At that time, we were in full swing prep mode for the shelter’s annual gala, and Anna’s mom is a big part of the committee – including letting us hold meetings at her house. There were many late nights setting up the auction with Anna right there with us. She probably knew more about those auction items than we did by the end of it.

It was so great having her and the rest of “The Pack” around during those long nights of preparation. Any time we needed a break, there they were for a snuggle and some kisses (though we let them keep the ear-licking to each other).

I had the privilege of photographing Anna and her mama a few weeks before she passed. That was the last time I ever saw this sweet girl, and even though she wasn’t feeling well she still greeted me with a happy wagging tail. She was a very special dog and will be missed dearly, though certainly not forgotten.  She lives on in the hearts of everyone who met her, especially her human parents and furry siblings.

We will really miss Anna, but angels need to go back to heaven eventually. Hope you’re enjoying running around with my Barley up there, Annabanana!

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.

Dear Baxter

Where do I even begin? I think I’ve deleted and rewritten these following sentences a hundred times, because I really have no idea how to say everything I want to. How do I possibly put into words the way you touched my life, and the lives of so many others?

I guess I should start at the beginning. I don’t want to dwell on it, because that’s not who you are anymore – but baby boy, you came from one of the deepest darkest places I can imagine. You were tired and hungry and sick – and I’m pretty sure you hadn’t known much love in your past life – but from the minute you were carried through the doors of the Montgomery County Humane Society that evening in June, love is all you gave.

That love is what got you noticed by the shelter staff and volunteers, despite how shy you were. It’s what helped you learn to trust the world, and also ultimately win over your many heroes, including Big Bruno and Catalina & Kate from Jasmine’s House. The love you gave out was returned to you tenfold, and with the help of these individuals and many more, you became a confident, outgoing, and happy dog.  In that short time you made so much progress – a feat that excited everyone, though nobody was surprised. We always knew what potential you had, Baxter. 

You continued to prove us right when you became a “house dog”. You walked into my home not knowing the rules, not understanding guidelines, and not being comfortable with a lot of “normalities” – but you left as a stellar example to house dogs everywhere. It was a pleasure to have you as you grew into an effortless part of our daily lives. You seemed to fit in just right – but the more you settled in with our family, the more we knew you’d make the perfect dog for someone else. That’s the way fostering goes.

Which brings me to my next thought… I miss you, Baxty. I miss you very, very much. I feel selfish talking about you and me, because there are so many others in the equation – but boy were we buddies. For four months, you were mine. We played together, we went to work together, we napped together, we adventured together, we spent lazy days together, and we grew together. You elicited a maternal part of me I never knew I had, bringing me pride & joy on countless occasions. I celebrated your milestones, worried at your weak spots, and tried to help you grow in any way I could.Then all of a sudden you left. I’ve imagined this day many times, but at the same time never understood how it would feel. And you know what? It really kind of hurts. But, I would take this heartache 100 more times if it meant the same outcome for you, Bax.

While I’m sad about saying goodbye, I am also absolutely overjoyed for you. You deserve perfect, and perfect is what you got. You hit the jackpot with your new home, your new humans, and your new furry sister. Foster parents want nothing more than to see their animals go to good hands, and these are the best I could have imagined for you. They’ll take you on long walks through the woods, they have a fireplace for you to sleep next to while soaking up the warmth, they understand what patience is and, more importantly, what unconditional love is. You, your humans, and your new sister Miss Piggy will live out a life full of happiness and joy – something that was once not such a sure thing for you, Baxter.

I love you so much, little monkey. I cannot express how proud I am of you for the dog you have become, despite so much. You showed the world what it looks like to overcome all odds. Thank you for the lessons you taught me, and of course for all the daily giggles and endless happy memories. I will never forget any of it.

Enjoy your new life, Baxty. You sure have earned it.