It’s Raining Cats, Dogs. . . and Bunnies?

If you’ve ever wanted a pet – no matter what kind – check out your local humane society first! Many shelters have bunnies, hamsters, guinea pigs, ferrets, small farm animals(!), and reptiles available for adoption, to name a few. Small animals are given up and lost just as much as cats and dogs, and you can save a life by choosing to adopt these little guys.

I had bunnies for many years when I was growing up. I didn’t rescue them, I got them from a neighbor – but now that I know how many shelters are full of them, I’ll adopt if I decide to get one in the future (duh).  Just like myself, many people don’t even know that small animals are available at shelters. Bunnies and other little critters can make great pets if you’re ready for the responsibility. They’re not the easy household accessory that many parents think, but if you’re willing to put in the effort they can be great companions.

After photographing these little creatures today, I have fallen back in love! I always forget these kinds of animals have the personalities that they do. Every time I walked away from the guinea pig he would start squealing at me. Then there was the bunny who totally posed for the camera. And the ferret who flirted from inside the cage. These furry cuties deserve a chance just like the homeless dogs and cats.

Maybe next time I pick up a foster dog I’ll pick up a bunny as well. . . :-)

Giving Thanks.

This is super cliché, but I’m going to take advantage of the holidays and spend a moment giving some thanks. I think it is always important to sit back and appreciate what you have, and who makes it possible.

Being a foster is not something you can do by yourself (and if you do pull that off, I give you infinite props). I’ve generally found that the more hands on deck, the easier it is. Between exercising and feeding and supervising and tucking into bed and training and loving… fostering is a lot of work. I would not be able to help any dog without a few people who make it possible. I want to thank those in my life who have helped me along the way and who still help me day in and day out with the pups who need us.

My parents.

My parents got us a dog as a kid so that we could have a dog to grow up with. Of course, as it has probably happened with many of you, Barley ended up being taken care of almost entirely by my mom. By the time his soft little heart stopped beating, Mom was ready to take a break from the dog world for a while. Little did she know three days later I was going to walk a wobbly little blue pit bull into our house.

My parents are extremely supportive of me, especially for things that make me so happy. Since my first foster Otis, they have diligently helped care for each dog I bring home, no questions asked. They alleviate the burden on me any time they can by letting the dog out while I’m at work or tucking it in at night when I stay out late or feeding it if I’m at work longer than usual or buying it extra supplies to make it comfortable. My parents go above and beyond when it comes to helping me with my fosters, and I absolutely could not help as many dogs as I do/will in the future without their help.

Daddy and his "bora bora"

Love and a Six-foot Leash.

Aleksandra from L&ASFL taught me close to everything I know about fostering so far. I could not have asked for a better person to cross paths with at MCHS. Co-fostering Zabora with Aleks taught me worlds on how to navigate through the waters of fostering, applications, and adoptions. She is always, and I mean literally at any time, willing to pick up the phone or type out an email to help me with anything I ask regarding fostering, pitties, or life. Her work is beyond inspiring, and her reach and impact on the community is something I aspire for someday.  I can 100% blame her blog for getting me interested in fostering, and her advice & words of encouragement for keeping me going.

Photo cred to Love & a Six-foot Leash. Love you guys!

My boyfriend, Mark.

I doubt Mark knew at all what he was getting into when we started dating a year and a half ago. He quickly learned about my love for animals, and watched as my entire world turned into rescue tunnel vision when I started my job in June. While he was skeptical about me fostering at first, Mark loves and has loved every dog I introduced him to. Not only is he supportive, but he has also made an effort to listen to and learn the things I come home blabbering about. He is now keen on dog behavior, is a pit bull convert, and is a rescue/adoption advocate. I adore him for how much he helps me out with my dogs, especially since so much of this was new for him.

The Montgomery County Humane Society.

Working on the inside of MCHS has opened my eyes to the incredible things this shelter does.  We are county contracted, meaning a few things: we are required by law to take in any animal that comes through our doors, the county has complete control over our building (meaning changes, repairs, etc.), and only half of our budget is provided by the county – the rest comes from private donations and special events (my job!). With all this, we (not really me, mostly “they”) do a great job at keeping our animals happy, healthy, and adoptable.

Our adoption rates are extremely high, and our team is dedicated to the well being of every single animal. We just got a little kitten surgery for a malformed sternum, we recently saved an extremely emaciated dog and he is now recovering in foster care, and we do routine grooming and hygiene maintenance for all of our animals to keep them comfy (by we I mean our great kennel staff).  The people who work there are truly amazing, something I have discovered through working there and getting to know everyone. Every single one of my coworkers inspires me to do my best every day to help the animals.

Jasmine’s House.

This appreciation is especially relevant right now; as Jasmine’s House Rescue (JHR) just lost a puppy they put many many hours, dollars, and love into helping. RIP little Mickey. The first part of this situation is standard for JHR – the love, the compassion, and the care they put into their dogs. Aleksandra said it best to me once when she said, “Catalina would do anything to help a dog.” Both Catalina and Kate, the co-founders of JHR, would do absolutely anything necessary to help a dog in need. They pulled both Zabora and Georgia from MCHS when we asked, with no question – and they do that for so many other dogs from MCHS and shelters around the area. They saved sweet Baxter from his life of fear and neglect, giving him the TLC he needed to learn how to feel comfortable in his own skin. These women, and all those who work for their rescue, are incredible in what they do.

They are also a wonderful rescue to work with, making their foster homes feel welcomed, appreciated, and supported. Without them I would not have Baxter in my life (in fact, who knows where he would be right now) and I would not have been introduced to a whole new circle of compassionate, intelligent advocates.  I am constantly moved by what they do, and look forward to working with such an extraordinary group for many years to come.

Cataline (left) and Kate (right). Photo cred

My Fellow Bloggers.

Your comments, your posts, your advice…. what a huge help! Having so many other foster parents and rescue advocate peers right at my fingertips is one of the best results of social media these days. I can’t even begin to count the things I have learned by browsing your facebook pages, your blogs, and your comments – not to mention the laughs, the bonds, and the relief of knowing there is someone out there dealing with the same issues. And it’s all real experiences and real outlooks! You all are invaluable when it comes to learning about this world – thank you!

Baxter says "thanks!" from the bottom of his little heart.

So of course that isn’t everyone, because the world of fostering is impacted by so many. I am so grateful for who I am surrounded by – I wish I could send everyone “Thank You” carrier pigeons or something.  Gratitude is one of the things I hold closest to my heart, I wish everyone knew how much I appreciate them.

I hope everyone has a great holiday and enjoys it with family, friends, and animals.

Baxter is excited that Thanksgiving means we get to start preparing for Christmas!

And again…. THANK YOU : -)

For more information on adopting Comeback Kid Baxter, click here or email

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

It just keeps getting better.

Zabora first came to my attention when one of our incredible volunteers at the shelter took a liking to her and asked me to help find out more about her.  Of course I agreed, happy to help if it made finding her a home any easier. I decided to go meet her for myself. The first time I walked to her cage she gave me one of those calm but enthusiastic tail wags and licked my fingers through the bars. I made a mental note of how nice she was, and went to look up her paperwork. Her evaluation only confirmed what I thought: gentle, calm, people oriented, eager to please were all words used to describe her. The only problem is that time is not on her side.  Miss Zabora is eight years old. Old enough to have wrinkled skin and creaky bones, old enough to get passed by the people looking for “a younger dog”, old enough to not be given the chance that she deserves.

A few days went by and that same incredible volunteer started spreading the word of a wonderful little Elderbull at the county shelter in need of a home. While working and volunteering at the shelter you learn a lot of things, one of them being that an older dog who is also a pit bull who also has health problems does not have the best chances in a shelter overflowing dogs. This volunteer knew that in Zabora’s case action needed to happen sooner rather than later. The rescue group Jasmine’s House stepped forward to take her on one condition: there was a temporary foster home to care for her while she recovered from spay surgery. That special volunteer scrambled to find her a temp. home, to no avail. Emailing back and forth with her about the situation, I knew Zabora needed a home, and I knew I wanted to help. I just wasn’t sure I could commit to what she needed or put my parents through a new dog merely days after putting my childhood pup to sleep.

It turned out, though, that the best cure for heartache is to put another wiggling bundle of joy in your life. It’s like picking up where you left off. The day I brought Zabora home she walked right in to the living room and sat down at my dad’s feet where he was reading a book. I had no idea what to expect from her, but it sure seemed to start off right.

It felt like almost instantaneously that she won my family over. Watching her get comfortable with us has been a joy. It’s been a learning experience and we’re finding out more about her every day, which brings new hurdles and speed bumps. It also brings us giggles, smiles, and a brightened day.  So we’re stuck on her now, and we’ll see this girl through to the new loving home she deserves.

More about this pretty girl later.