Today’s Guest Blogger is my friend, Lily, who works part time as a staff member at Companion Animal Alliance while attending college full time at Louisiana State University. She also has a huge heart and fosters dogs and cats for the shelter, including “bottle baby” puppies and kittens.

Here’s Lily’s story about her bottle baby puppies as well as her current foster, Bubbie (a big lug of an American Bulldog/Boxer mix who is the sweetest, goofiest thing around and also recovering from Demodex. See story on Halle Bear for more on Demodex):

Bubbie and Toshie

Bubbie and Toshie

A week ago today, four bottle baby puppies were brought in to the shelter. They were found on the side of the street by a kind soul that picked them up and called animal control. The officer that picked them up had taken them home for the night because it was so late and no one was at the shelter to care for them. He bottle fed them, dubbing one black and tan one “Hoover” due to his vacuum-like fervor for eating. Another close second in feistiness, a little black and white one, he named “Kirby.”

Working at the shelter, I have always had people ask me how I could possibly work there without taking them all home. I give them a one-word answer: foster. It is the closest thing you can do to taking them all. But I have always followed a very strict regime simply because I do not know how I could ever choose. I take the dogs that have been at the shelter the absolute longest. They are the ones that have been passed over again and again, the plain ones that typically have the best personalities. But my weakness, my only exception, is bottle babies.

When bottle babies come into the shelter, they need a foster immediately. Typically they cannot even survive the night without someone there to care for them. I usually take them for a couple of nights before we send out a desperate plea on facebook and they find their permanent fosters. This set of babies was supposed to be like any other. But each day, another puppy was lost. It was after the second puppy died that I knew I wasn’t going to let the babies go to anyone else. On Sunday I was down to my last two, formerly Hoover and Kirby. Hoover faded suddenly and quickly. My dreams of the pair growing up and getting adopted together were painfully dashed, but I know that all my puppies are in a better place now. There was no reason for their pain to last any longer than it did and their ashes are spread under a big tree at the house I recently moved into. So here is to new beginnings.

Kirby, now named Toshie, is doing wonderfully well. She sucks down her meals like a champion and is not afraid to let me know when she is hungry. Her brother, David, a 10 pound tom cat is perplexed by her presence, but will be ready to rule the house with a firm paw once she is of the age to be truly annoying. Bubbie, her foster brother, loves to watch me feed her when he is not busy playing with the other baby animals of the household. Their sibling rivalry will grow as they race to see who will get adopted first. I always knew my little Toshie was a fighter, so it made me smile to see, when googling the name, that Toshie Uematsu happens to be a famous female Japanese wrestler J.

Toshie and David

Toshie and David

Please follow her story and send those positive thoughts. I am looking forward to her growing into a real, hyperactive, destructive puppy that I will regret ever having taken home in the first place. Even though I know I will never really regret it. It is always worth it.

If you are interested in adopting Toshie or Bubbie or you would like to foster bottle babies or any dog or cat at the shelter at all, please email me at

Thank you!

Halle Bear

I remember learning from my dad as a child that mange was a contagious and painful skin affliction in dogs that usually required they be put down.

So when I heard people at the shelter talking about dogs that had come in with Demodex, and then learned that Demodex was also called “red mange,” I was  surprised these dogs weren’t automatically euthanized. It turns out that Demodex, a skin condition that occurs from an overgrowth of microscopic mites that are present on most of our healthy dogs’ skin, is quite treatable. It’s also rarely contagious to healthy dogs, as it occurs due to a compromised immune system from poor nutrition and perhaps a life on the streets. Nonetheless, Demodex is painful and ugly. We get many, many Demodex dogs at the shelter. I have noticed many of them are Boxers or Boxer mixes, though one of my vet friends says there is no correlation. And many of them have been brindle, like my dog, Crespo.

This is Halle Bear, who came into the shelter a few months ago with a bad case. Please don’t stop reading when you see this picture because there are beautiful “after” pictures of her and her story has a very happy ending.

HalleBefore1 Hallebefore2

Awful, right?

My friend, Mindy, took Halle in and fostered her and after a few months of daily oral ivermectin drops (the active ingredient in Heartguard heart worm treatment), this is what she looked like last weekend.

HalleAfter3 HalleAfter1 HalleAfter2

You can read more about Demodex here.

As Halle had a little too much playful energy for Mindy’s ancient Dachshund, I asked my friend, Tania if she could foster Halle and Tania said yes. (You know that saying, “Don’t ask, don’t get”? I live by it lately. I hear plenty of “No, sorry’s” but I am always so delightfully shocked by the “yes’s” that I just can’t stop. And the “no’s” don’t bother me, so please don’t run when you see me coming. Everyone helps in their own way. I just offer matchmaking opportunities for finding the way in which you might help).

Anyway, I told Tania I  thought Halley would find a home quickly as she is so beautiful and really affectionate — the kind of dog who always has to have some part of her body touching some part of whoever is in charge of her. I guesstimated it would take less than a month.

One day short of three weeks was the magic number though.

Here is Halle with the nice couple who adopted her a few hours ago. Their 16 year old Lab recently passed away and they couldn’t live without doggy love. How anyone can, I’ll never know. Halle’s new mom is a runner and Halle will get to go running with her to get her youthful ya ya’s out. HalleAdopted Have a great life, Halle! And take good care of that beautiful coat now :}

p.s. Sometimes foster moms and dads are able to pay for medication and treatment like Halle’s. A bottle of the ivermectin that returned Halle to good health costs about $40. However, most doggy foster parents aren’t wealthy and they help so many dogs and have so many animals of their own that they would always welcome help.

If you would like to make a donation to our shelter’s sick and injured animal fund, visit Companion Animal Alliance of Baton Rouge and click the appropriate link. Alternately, you can donate to Friends of the Animals in honor or in memory of your own dog, or to assist with treatment for one of the foster dogs they have pulled from Companion Animal Alliance. Thank you for reading, for caring and for all that you do.

Sweet Tippy Desperately Needs a Foster

This is Tippy.



This is Dog Trainer Joe Tullier and a feral pup we named Lil Yeller.

Joe & Lil' Yeller

Joe & Lil’ Yeller

Last Friday, Joe, formerly a Military Working Dog handler in the Marines and currently the owner of Acadiana Canine Training in Prairieville, LA, went up to Companion Animal Alliance to evaluate some dogs and I tagged along.

A couple of these dogs were having a hard time; one of whom was Tippy. Tippy had gotten into a couple of fights in the play yard with two different female dogs. A staff favorite, Tippy is sweet with people and fine with many dogs, but she has been at the shelter for several months and no one has shown any interest in adopting or fostering her. Maybe it’s because she’s a pit? Maybe it’s because she’s a plain, brown dog with plain brown eyes? Who knows.

At any rate, Tippy was on that day’s euthanasia list, but if Joe thought she was salvageable, she would get another chance. Unfortunately, an open-intake animal shelter — where no animal can be turned away — is a place where many dogs unravel after too much time without personal attention. Joe, who in 2007 was selected to be a part of Dog Training School at Lackland Air Force base where he spent 2 ½ years training dogs for the military, thought Tippy could do just fine if her circumstances changed a bit.

But back to that soon.

The other dog having a hard time that day was Lil Yeller, a feral yellow lab mix pup who wouldn’t let anyone near him. Kenneled with another puppy who is quite friendly, Lil’ Yeller was spending all of his time pressed up against a corner of the dog house inside the kennel. And if the vets tried to touch him, he screamed.

I think it’s fair to say Joe and I had a rather good time cornering that puppy and bringing on the love. Joe draped himself over the dog house so Lil Yeller could not get inside  or hide behind it. And when he flushed him out, I touched him with one finger. SHRIEK! Seriously, little puppy? Joe and I looked at each other and I almost laughed. This fella was a Drama Queen. Then we sweet talked him and touched him a little more and a little more until in literally about five minutes, as you can see above, he was quite happy and comfortable in Joe’s arms.

The problem, Joe said, was that his puppy companion was not providing Lil’ Yeller with the kind of security he needed. Lil’ Yeller needed the security of a strong adult role model.

Enter Tippy.


Tippy gave Lil Yeller the once over.


And over.


And over. In fact here she is looking at Joe and thinking, “What the heck are you doing to my puppy?”


Then she gave Joe her blessing.

Long story long, after moving on to several other cases, the decision was made to kennel Tippy with the two puppies. The good news is, with the security that Tippy has given this puppy, Lil’ Yeller has found the courage to approach the kennel gate with a wagging tail when people come to visit.

And while this has been a lovely short term fix, both dogs desperately need a home, and fast. Tippy even more so, because puppies are more adoptable than older dogs. Here is what the shelter staff says about her:

Tippy needs an adopter or foster!!! Right now she is living at the shelter with 2 feral puppies working to help socialize them, so you can see Tippy is generally great with other dogs. She dislikes certain personalities and this causes herto get into fights in the adoption dog yard at CAA. She is a wonderful dog that needs to be out of the shelter environment ASAP in order to help her be the best dog she can be. She is HW negative, 2-3 years old and spayed. Our friends at Acadiana Canine Training will give 3 free behavior sessions to anyone that fosters or adopts Tippy. Please contact Paula at if you can help.

Please head up to the shelter and  check these two out. Joe will also have Tippy and the puppies at a Friends of the Animals adoption event at Orvis in Perkins Rowe this Sunday from noon to 3 p.m.

Please keep in mind that while Companion Animal Alliance is working towards No-Kill status, currently, it is a Kill Shelter. Animals are euthanized simply for lack of space, which means Tippy and Lil’ Yeller really need your help.

Tippy’s free behavior sessions are valued at $240, so you know that she’s got the makings of a great dog, or Joe wouldn’t have given her his stamp of approval. Plus, even if you’re just fostering her, you’ll get quite an education in those three sessions.

Can you step up and help this sweet girl or Lil’ Yeller?

Hope to see you there.

UPDATE: Tippy found a wonderful forever home, and just in the nick of time! Here she is with her new family, and her great big backyard. “Adopt don’t shop” is literally a matter of life and death for great dogs like Tippy who face euthanasia at shelters across America every day. Please help spread the word and adopt your next dog. He or she is waiting for you.

TippyYard TippyAdopted1