Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Foster Dog Family: We Get More Than We Give

(C) Cara Sue Achterberg, Used by Permission
Sitting on my blanket in the grass on the sidelines of a little league game last night, one of the other mom’s glanced at my newest foster dog and said, “I could never foster dogs. I don’t know how you do it.”

“I get much more than I give,” I told her with a shrug, patting the little hound dog snuggled against my side gnawing on her leash. She was probably one of the nicest foster dogs we’ve had. She’s number 44, so that’s a pretty impressive stat.

Fostering dogs for the rescue organization, Operation Paws for Homes has certainly changed our lives, not to mention the 43 dogs and puppies we’ve help rescue and the 43 families who welcomed them into their homes.

Saying good-bye is sometimes tough, and it doesn’t hurt less with time, it just gets easier. I told the other mom what I tell everyone, including my kids when they occasionally protest – if we don’t let this one go, we can’t save another one.

We enjoy the time we have we these dogs and consider it a privilege to help them on their journey which begins when they land at a high-kill shelter in the rural south generally through no fault of their own. They are strays, unwanted dogs, or animals surrendered by owners who are unable or unwilling to care for them.

The vast number of them sit on cement floors behind chainlink barriers because of ignorance and indifference – people who fail to spay or neuter their dogs, underestimate the cost of caring for a pet, or lose interest once the cute puppy becomes a dog that pees on their carpet.

Operation Paws for Homes transports dogs, who would otherwise be euthanized, north to foster homes in Virginia, Maryland, and southern Pennsylvania, where we are.

They arrive frightened and unsure after a long van ride. Most are not housebroken, some have never been on a leash, and many have rarely felt a gentle hand or gotten regular meals. The dog we bring home from transport will be a much different dog after a week or two in our home. It never ceases to amaze me what a little love, exercise, and good food can do to transform a terrified, suspicious soul into an exuberant, happy friend.
(C) Cara Sue Achterberg

There was Hadley who was so terrified when she arrived that she wouldn’t leave the back corner of her crate for days. We had to hand feed her and move slowly. I’d never seen a dog so shut-down in my life. Hadley warmed up slowly and eventually landed in a perfect forever home where she is now safe and adored.

And Carla, the 75-pound coonhound who was returned by her owners because she barked too loudly and took up too much space in a home crowded with children. She was so depressed, she lay about like the hound dogs you see in the movies for three weeks, before suddenly shaking off her sadness and becoming one of my best running buddies. We gave her space to mourn and when she began to mend, she offered her unflagging affection.

Texas and Tennessee were two border collies turned in to a shelter by their owner because they were ‘untrainable.’ Whenever anyone raised a hand above waist level the two dogs would hit the ground like they were under fire. After only a week, they were accompanying me in the garden and on runs, happily herding the cats and children, and offering their utmost devotion. I’ve never met such obedient animals.
"Texas and Tennessee"
(C) Cara Sue Achterberg

I have about 44 stories I could tell you of the dogs who have shared our lives in the past 15 months, but the one story that is consistent no matter whether they stayed with us for a few days or four months, is that each of these dogs has enriched our lives.

They’ve given me a sense of daily purpose. I’m a mom and a writer. Too many days, I fall into bed exhausted; having worked from the moment I opened my eyes, but hard-pressed to list anything I’ve actually accomplished, and wondering if anyone has noticed a thing I’ve done today.

Not so since we invited foster dogs into our home. These dogs offer me unconditional, many times unrestrained, love and affection. Their devotion is heart-breaking – the gratitude for the temporary care we offer them is obvious.
I could list the other ways these dogs have enriched our lives – motivating me to exercise every day, entertaining us with their antics and personalities, and introducing me to a new community of people with huge hearts who work tirelessly to rescue dogs.

But I think I’ll leave it at what I said from the start – I get so much more than I ever give.

If you’ve ever considered fostering dogs for a rescue organization, you can learn more at Operation Paws for Homes - Foster FAQ's, and if you’d like to read more stories of fostering dogs, check out my blog at Another Good Dog.

About the Author: 
(C) Cara Sue
Cara Sue Achterberg is a writer and blogger who lives in New Freedom, PA with her family and an embarrassing number of animals. Her first novel, I’m Not Her, was a national bestseller. Her second novel, Girls’ Weekend, was published May 3, 2016. Cara’s nonfiction book, Live Intentionally, is a guide to the organic life filled with ideas, recipes, and inspiration for living a more intentional life. Cara is a prolific blogger, occasional cowgirl, and busy mom whose essays and articles have been published in numerous anthologies, magazines, and websites. Links to her blogs, news about upcoming publications, and pictures of her foster dogs can be found at

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Pets for Vets

(C) Pets for Vets, Used by Permission
Dogs and cats support humans, are companions to humans, are incredible help to humans in many ways.  I'd like to paw about this organization I found!  WOOF!!!

Pets for Vets is pawleased to announce the formation of a new chapter in the Washington DC Metro area.  Pets for Vets is a 501 (c) (3) non profit organization operating in 22 states bringing together man’s best friend and our returning soldiers.

The mission is; “To help heal the emotional wounds of military veterans by using the power of the human-animal bond to provide a second chance for shelter animals by rescuing, training and pairing them with America’s servicemen and women who could benefit from having a companion animal.”

Our professional trainers will select a shelter pet based upon interviews with each veteran to determine their individual needs and personal lifestyle.   All animals are examined by a veterinarian, vaccinated, neutered and micro-chipped.  The animal is adopted from the shelter and placed with a Pets for Vets foster for weeks of rehabilitation and training.  We provide a welcome package with all the necessary supplies and equipment to start their new life together at no cost to the veteran.  Pets for Vets provides on-going support while the veteran adapts to the new life with their animal.

For more information or to donate or volunteer please go to Pets for Vets.

Used by Permission, Pets for Vets

Monday, June 27, 2016

Off The Leash - July 4th and Fireworks

(C) Ruppert Fawcett, Off The Leash Used by Permission

A dog's real feelings toward fireworks!  Keep your dog safe during the days before and after the Fourth of July.

Saturday, June 25, 2016

How to Use Cat's Natural Habits to Help in Teaching Tricks

Cats, just like humans, have their habits and their routine. Half of those is based on characteristics given them by nature, the other half is based on the owner routine. The time, of course, can never be split half-in-half simply because cats can sleep up to 20 hours a day, like like Mother Nature tells them to. So, “their human” has just a few hours a day to get the cat involved into his/her own routine. Those hours are precious, and if you do it right – this will be enough to teach your cat some tricks and have fun at the same time.

It's really important to figure out how to use cat's natural habits in the training process. There is no way you can teach your cat anything when he is in a sleepy mode. However, when it's time to play or eat your chances really grow. It's always better to fit training time in between eating and playing, or do it all together. Food and games are positive things for your cat. And eventually, training will become too if it doesn't call for any negative emotions.

Training tips provided by

About the Author:
Justin is a freelance designer, a guest author, and a cat lover. When he is not busy online he enjoys spending time with his nephew and his new fluffy friend, named Puff.

Friday, June 24, 2016

Friday's Friend! Dog Adoption, Lab Rescue of L.R.C.P., Inc.

Pawsingly, if you know me very well, you know I like to have fun.  I like to pick on my human as much as possible and I like to do the same to furry friends.  I love enjoying life as it may be-  WOOFS!!!

Barkingly pawsome is this young lady that "Lab Lady" brought by for you to meet- her name is "Toffee!"

(C) Lab Rescue of L.R.C.P., Inc.
 This photo of Toffee reminds me of when I was young.  When I first found my human and we played with toys for seemed like forever!  I was, and still am, glad we found each other-  his life has improved considerably with me in his life! WOOF!!

Yours will be better when you add a dog to the family too- especially one like Toffee who is looking for a human or a family of humans to share life and have plain fun!  BARKS!!  She is looking for a home with a fenced backyard, not a home with an invisible fence.
(C) Lab Rescue of L.R.C.P., Inc.

Toffee is a 2 year old female Chocolate Labrador Retreiver who just gave birth to 10 puppies and found them "Forever Homes." Now, she's getting used to being a lady by herself and enjoying some fun. Now that the kids are gone, she is showing her unique puppy personality wanting to play all the time.

Among her foster siblings, Toffee has figured out the play dynamics with her youngest foster sibling and appropriately shares times of tackler vs being tackled, instead of always taking on the role of letting herself be tackled!  WOOF!!  The foster humans have had a pawsome blast watching her play! She loves pulling all the toys out of the toy box one at a time and playing with each one. She fetches tennis balls, toys, chases frisbees, though not always returning them to the human- yet, anyway, she tells me!  Barks!

(C) Lab Rescue of L.R.C.P., Inc.
Toffee is house and crate trained- though she really doesn't need one as she didn't get into stuff at her foster's house.  She does great on leash with an Easy Walk.  And, rides pawfectly in the car!

Toffee will do best with a family who has a young and playful dog as she may be too much for an older and more mellow one.

Toffee is good with other dogs, has no known experience with cats and is recommended for children 10 years and older!

Interested in meeting Toffee and learning more about dog adoption?  Please visit Lab Rescue of L.R.C.P., Inc..

Friday's Friend! Dog Adoption, Mid-Atlantic Great Dane Rescue League

WOOF! WOOF!!  Oh WOW! What a pawsomely beautiful brindle Dane/Mastiff mix.  She is as sweet as she is beautiful- my friends from the Mid-Atlantic Great Dane Rescue League brought her by for you to meet!  WOOF!!

Meet Nila!

(C) Mid-Atlantic Great Dane Rescue League

Nila is one easy-going girl!  She's happiest when she's taken to the dog park and gets to run around or is chased by her new little friends!  It's pawsomely hilarious to see her being changed by a Pug.  WOOFS!   Nila wonders what it'd be like to be chased by a big dog but she will never know the answer to that!  BARKS!

Nila enjoys playing "freeze tag" with her foster humans!  She loves the thrill of a good chase- which is probably why I saw her chasing her tail!!

Most of the time, this sweetie just loves to be a snuggle bug and nearly smother you with lovin's!

(C) Mid-Atlantic
Great Dane Rescue League

Nila is a bit reserved about making new friends especially when they come into a room.  Nila used to like to have conversations with them, sometimes would be mistaken for growling, but now she will come to humans for a good pet!  Now, she's great at meeting new friends!

Interested in meeting Nila?  Please contact the Mid-Atlantic Great Dane Rescue League to learn more about dog adoption!

(C) Mid-Atlantic Great Dane Rescue League

Friday's Friend! Cat Adoption, PetConnect Rescue

I am pawsitively delightfully surrounded by pawsome kitties this week!  WOOF!  I love catching up with my friend, "Cat Lady" from PetConnect Rescue.  She and her volunteers do pawesome work with kitties and cats!  Meows!

"Cat Lady" brought two cats by for you to meet, Fudge and Caramel.  Those names make me hungry and drool!  WOOF!!!, er, purr, meows!

Meet Fudge!

(C) PetConnect Rescue
Fudge is all dressed up in his tuxedo finest to find himself a most pawsome "Forever Home!"

Fudge was rescued with his brother Caramel from a North Carolina shelter. PetConnect Rescue believes the boys to have been born around November 2015! BARKS! er, MEOWS!
(C) PetConnect Rescue

Fudge and Caramel are full of purrs but can be shy when they initially meet new humans in their life!

Fudge and Caramel do everything together and are bestest buddies!  WOOF! A quiet home would be best for these two guys! Purrss, please don't tell the guys! Meow.

Fudge and Caramel are healthy, neutered and current on their vaccinations!  These guys have excellent litter box manners.

A note from PetConnect Rescue: The adoption fee for kittens $135, which helps cover costs of routine vet care.

Barkingly, cats adopted through PetConnect Rescue must be indoor only, and may not be declawed (unless already declawed at the time of rescue).

Interested in meeting these two characters? Please complete the PetConnect Rescue Adoption Application. Once submitted, an Adoption Coordinator will contact you.

Interested in learning more about cat adoption?  Please visit the PetConnect Rescue Adoption Guide.

Friday's Friend! Cat Adoption, PetConnect Rescue

arf? uh. hmmmm. meows? grrrrrr. er, purr... I thought I was seeing double ... wasn't pawsitive what to make of it!   ARF!!!

My friend "Miss Catherine" from PetConnect Rescue snuck to cool kitties in to meet me - they look alike, purr alike, and well, see for yourself-

"Liz and Leah"
(C) PetConnect Rescue
Are these two cool kitties or what?  I thought they were twins but after looking closely, I can tell them apart!

After being dropped off at a shelter at a very young age, these two were taken to foster care with PetConnect Rescue!  WOOF!! er, uh, barks!  At 11 weeks old, they are affectionately called "the twins."

Liz and Leah are two friendly gals who alternate between playing and cuddling- both have these pawsome purr motors.

The "twins" are having a blast with the other kittens in their foster home and consider everyone a friend.

PetConnect Rescue prefers to place these girls in a home where someone is home a good part of the day!  Paws, or they could be adopted together or with a similar age kitten.

Liz and Leah prefer to live with respectful children, age 8 and above.​

A note from PetConnect Rescue: The adoption fee for kittens $135, which helps cover costs of routine vet care. The fee DOES NOT INCLUDE spay/neuter if the kitten isn't already spayed/neutered. If the animal you are adopting is not already spayed/neutered, you will be required to sign a contract legally obligating you to have the animal altered. A $100 spay/neuter deposit is collected to help ensure that the procedure gets done in a timely manner.

Barkingly, cats adopted through PetConnect Rescue must be indoor only, and may not be declawed (unless already declawed at the time of rescue).

Interested in meeting these two pawesome twins?  Please complete the PetConnect Rescue Adoption Application. Once submitted, an Adoption Coordinator will contact you.

Interested in learning more about cat adoption?  Please visit the PetConnect Rescue Adoption Guide.

Friday's Friend! Dog Adoption, Operation Paws for Homes

The week has been awesome, I got a visit from my friend "Miss Ashley" from Operation Paws for Homes.   She a kind young lady who brings by a character for you to meet!

Meet Sullivan!

(C) Operation Paws for Homes
(C) Operation Paws for Homes

Sullivan is a 10 month old, 60 lbs., Strafford Bull Terrier who is looking for his "Forever Home!"

Sullivan is housebroken and crate trained.  He knows his basic commands.

Sullivan's pawsome favorite activities are going for rides in the car,  going to the dog park, chewing on toys, bully sticks and milk bones!  Barks!

He is good with cats, and you could paw that he's good with cats as he just ignores them!  WOOF!!

"Miss Ashley" recommends, due to his age and size, Sullivan needs a "Forever Home" with older children.

Interested in meeting Sullivan?  Please complete the Operation Paws for Homes Adoption Application.

If you would like to learn more about dog adoption, please visit Operation Paws for Homes Adoption Guide.

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Saluting a Hero! The Last Known Canine Survivor of 9/11 Dies

Used by Permission, GraphicStock

Bretagne, May She Bark in Peace!

A loving tribute to pawnderful leader and example of the best of Canines everywhere!  WOOF!! WOOF!!!!  I paws to salute, 16-year-old Bretagne, a beautiful Golden Retriever.  She was the last known FEMA Search and Rescue Canine who served at Ground Zero died peacefully in Cypress, Texas.

An absolutely pawsome remarkable girl, Bretagne served with members of Texas Task Force 1 (TX-TF1) at the site of the World Trade Center for 10 days in 2001. She was 2 years old and newly certified as a FEMA Search and Rescue canine when she served to help humans at the terrorism incident in U.S. history.

A confident girl whose drive, determination, skills and personality were pawsome to her career.  During her pawsomely barking career with TX-TF1, Bretagne responded to nearly a dozen other disasters, including Hurricanes Katrina, Rita and Ivan. 

After retiring from her formal search and rescue work, she continued to serve humans as a goodwill ambassador for her local fire department and as a reading assistance dog at an elementary school near her home.  The barkingly sweet girl was the star of a non-fiction book about senior dogs  She met Texas First Lady Cecilia Abbott, and late last year, former President George H.W. Bush at his Presidential Library in College Station, TX.

As a nominee for the 2014, American Humane Association “Hero Dog Award,” she received red carpet treatment during the Hollywood, CA, ceremony. Her 16th birthday was celebrated last year with a bash in New York City- it gained worldwide media attention.

She was loved by all her teammates even those who had just met her in training.  Asking team members about her, the common comment you'd get is,
‘Oh she just loves me!’.  Bretagne was fiercely devoted never taking her eyes off her handler always taking her job seriously.   At her first deployment at the World Trade Center, she took her job seriously in an unknown chaotic situation. Paws, somehow she always knew who needed her comfort who needed to hold her close and stroke her fur.

Bretagne had a long-term relationship with the Penn Vet Working Dog Center, where her namesake, Bretagne 2, was trained as a diabetic alert dog for an individual with severe Type 1 diabetes.

As a feature about her 16th birthday said: “To Bretagne and all of the working dogs who give so selflessly to help humans around the world, thank you.”

May she rest in peace!  arf.

Monday, June 20, 2016

Happy Summer!

(C) Noah! from The Dogs Paw, All Rights Reserved
Happy first day of Summer!  My human's favorite season as he loves the heat and all the things he can do outside.

Barkingly, this isn't the best season for me.  The heat can be too much for dogs and if you're not careful, it could even be dangerous for us.

When you are outside in the summer's heat, pay special attention to your dogs needs.  Be sure he's not getting too hot- if you think it's hot- your dog is REALLY hot!  Take him inside to an air conditioned area.

Walking in the summer can be particularly stressful.  My human takes me for our walks in the early morning or late evening to avoid the extreme heat of the day.

Be sure to keep plenty of water around.  When going on long walks or hikes carry bottles of water just for your dog!  Canteens for water which can be easily carried can be found at Pet Stores.

And, remember, never, ever leave your dog or cat in a closed car in the summer.  Even a car with windows open can heat up fast and become way too hot.  Leaving the car running with air conditioning on is a bad idea because the car could stall, the air conditioning could quit and newer cars don't always keep cool when the car isn't moving.

Dehydration and heat stroke can happen very quickly in the hot weather. Keep a close eye on your dog and cat.  Any concerns, contact your veterinarian immediately.

Friday, June 17, 2016

Dog Adoption for a Special Needs Dog! Looking for A Forever Home!

Last week, I received an email about a dog needing a "Forever Home." He is a very special character with special needs so he's going to need a special human.   Mine is taken because I have to keep him and he is one of those challenges, you know!  So, I wanted to share with you Joey- who I just met over the weekend.

Since he is so special I wanted to share him with you in my weekly "Friday's Friend" column!!

(C) Destiny for Dogs
I pawed by email with a human name JoAnn who works with Destiny for Dogs, Inc. about their special needs guy, Joey.

A special needs guy, Joey is a physically healthy and happy 3-year old Corgi mix.   He is good on leash, loves to go for a ride, is house broken and crate trained.   Joey loves to play with toys and will share this nicely, isn't food aggressive either.

This loving character will melt your heart when you see the sweet buddy smile on his face.  I have to paw that his story will break your heart and bring tears to your eyes. arf.

Ms. JoAnn tells me, got a hanky?, "Joey's young life has not been happy. From being "dumped" at a shelter by his humans even after they were told that there was a chance he could be euthanized. Their response was, 'We don't care!' Destiny for Dogs witnessed this conversation and immediately rescued Joey."

"Joey was sent to a foster home where he stayed for a month. He was adopted to what was thought to be an awesome home with outstanding references. Barks, the mini-humans were unkind to Joey and he was removed and sent to a different foster who was amazing."
(C) Destiny for Dogs

JoAnn continues, "Once again, another adopter was found. He seemed to be adjusting well. She loved Joey and took him everywhere with her. Paws, this was disastrous for Joey."

"After these two terrible experiences, it was determined Joey needed further help!  WOOF!!  He was taken to Dr. Lisa Radosta,  Florida Veterinary Behavior Service, one of 69 board certified veterinarian behaviorist in the United States."

Woofly, Joey has a condition which may be compared to a child or an adult with autism.  He has no "off" switch so he continually wants to play! Barkingly, he is on Paxel, and blood pressure medicine to assist with his condition and he receives behavioral modification which is different than the training provided by a dog trainer/behaviorist. He is taught skills on how to cope with his condition which has shown improvement in him.

The Destiny for Dog's team, have been touched by Joey and love him! However, none of their foster homes are suitable as they have multiple dogs.
(C) Destiny for Dogs
The pawfect home for Joey is quiet with no children or other pets. Paws, someone would need to commit to monitoring his medications to ensure he's chemically balanced and need to continue with his behavior modification training.

"A special dog and a special human would be a pawcellent combination!," says JoAnne. Destiny for Dogs has promised Joey he will not be harmed or neglected again. BARKS!!  Joey can never go into a boarding or a "No Kill Shelter" as both would be detrimental to his well being. He would be tormented and tortured being locked up day after day. Neither would be an option so the only other choice is to set Joey free and send him to "Rainbow Bridge" where he will be happy, healthy, whole and free of torment which is what he has experienced in his short life on earth.

Interested in meeting Joey and learning about dog adoption? Please contact JoAnn, at Destiny for Dogs or email or call (561) 313-2005

Friday's Friend! Dog Adoption, Lab Rescue of L.R.C.P., Inc.

Senior dogs! I learned recently that I am considered a senior dog.  Not sure why, I still run, I chase squirrels, I am cute, I am adorable, I am intelligent, I am faster than the average human, especially mine, I still play with toys and still love to play fetch!  While I might have a few gray hairs in my beard, those have been there for a while so they just add to my most handsome self!

While I contemplated why I am called a "senior dog" my human notices me in deep in thought and said "it's a numbers thing" and it means that at age 8, we start paying attention to certain physical and dietary needs I will need to continue my handsome pawsome life!  WOOF!  Much like humans when they age- except my human slows down- arf.

My friend "Lab Lady" from Lab Rescue of L.R.C.P., Inc. stopped by with her entire crew of senior dogs for you to meet!

While I can't paw all the details of these senior guys and gals who need homes, I'll share introduce you to them.  

Paws, a great about senior dogs is may not need as much exercise. they are already trained so you'll pawbably know what the dogs is already like.  Senior dogs often make pawsome pets for the elderly and disabled since they are already settled into their routines.

If you are interested in learning more about dog adoption, senior dogs, please visit Lab Rescue!

Meet my friends!

(C) Lab Rescue of L.R.C.P., Inc.

(C) Lab Rescue of L.R.C.P., Inc. 

(C) Lab Rescue of L.R.C.P., Inc. 

(C) Lab Rescue of L.R.C.P., Inc.

(C) Lab Rescue of L.R.C.P., Inc.

(C) Lab Rescue of L.R.C.P., Inc.

"Molly (2)"
(C) Lab Rescue of L.R.C.P., Inc.

"Molly (3)"
(C) Lab Rescue of L.R.C.P., Inc.

(C) Lab Rescue of L.R.C.P., Inc.

(C) Lab Rescue of L.R.C.P., Inc.

"Sophie (2)"
(C) Lab Rescue of L.R.C.P., Inc.