Only Connect

“Only connect the prose and the passion, and both will be exalted, and human love will be seen at its highest. Live in fragments no longer.”

E.M. Forester


If you were my student when I was teaching Freshman Comp many years ago, I might have asked you to journal on this. Now I’ll just hurl my interpretation of it at you and then get to a great little rescue story that just happened.

Why are we here? Human love. (And dog love. Cat love. Love, love, love!)

What should we connect? The prose and the passion. (Work and passion! Living and passion! Whatever: Just live in your freaking passion.)

Why shouldn’t we live in fragments? Because our work, our passion and our love may miss the opportunity to be exalted.

So how should we work? Together.

Thanks for indulging me.

Very often, people who work in animal rescue do so because they love animals, but they’re really not crazy about people and sometimes they’re bad at working together. Having good people skills, however, means you will inevitably be able to place more animals in loving homes. First, the public doesn’t want to  deal with cranky animal rescuers who make them feel bad about themselves. Second, when people who work with shelter animals get along well with each other, they are able to network animals into many more wonderful, loving homes than they might otherwise.

Meet my friend, Jodi (she’s the one on the right, I’m on the left):


Jodi and I are both Crazy Dog Ladies, Yankees in Louisiana and moms with three kids. We do not share hair type. We do not share politics. We have sparred on Facebook in the past about Big Issues. But we also crack each other up and we have a deep appreciation for each other’s good heart.  Jodi and I have each other’s backs —  not  including the time she almost cut off my finger at the shelter while showing me how to groom a matted Shih Tzu while we sparred about the upcoming Presidential election. We both actually think this is really funny, so we share a twisted sense of humor too.

So when Teddy arrived in Boston a couple of weeks ago and his adopter’s sister fell in love with him and said, “I want a dog like Teddy too!” All I had to do was look at Jodi’s Facebook page to see that she was fostering this guy, Rasta, who  had come into the shelter a dreadlocky mess with a terrible cold. The shelter vets fixed him up with meds, the assistant shelter director, Paula Shaw, did a beautiful job on him with the clippers, and he came out like this:



I asked Jodi what his temperament was like and she said calm, sweet and snuggly.

Sounded like Teddy.

Looked enough like Teddy too. Am I right?


I messaged Teddy’s mom, Claire, and shared his info with her. She shared it with her sister. We were honest that Rasta is not yet house trained, but that being recently neutered would help. As would a magical contraption called a “belly band.” Like Claire, her sister is amazing and this was a non-issue for her.

She adopted Rasta by phone. She booked him a trip on the Rescue Road Trips bus. Jodi is going out of town this week and needed  help, so Rasta is here at my house for the next 48 hours, and then he’s on his way to New England to be a Yankee who loves Louisiana. Like me. Like Jodi. Screw the fragments. Only connect.


If you would like to donate to help dogs at Companion Animal Alliance, the open-intake municipal shelter in Baton Rouge where Teddy and Rasta once lived, please click here:!donate/ctzx 

And thank you! 

Teddy: Home at Last

This is the story of a sad little five-year-old Cockapoo named Teddy.  Last October, Teddy found himself at an open-intake Baton Rouge shelter called Companion Animal Alliance and yesterday, he got the happy ending he so richly deserved.



These are the things that happened to Teddy:






Yes, this is a lot of reading, but seriously, it’s a good story, so don’t ruin it by reading the ending before you have all the juicy details.

Go get a cup of coffee and we’ll wait for you to get caught up.






(Don’t cheat!)

Also, if you read these other entries about Teddy already, you might want to refresh your memory. Just a (pushy) suggestion.

Okay, so from where I left off, at “Teddy V,” I was very sad that the lovely older couple didn’t adopt Teddy after his hip surgery, though I did understand. And we were committed to finding him a home and not foster failing.

In the weeks that followed, a slew of people with children wanted to adopt Teddy and that was frustrating. Teddy loves kids, but he wasn’t going off to a home with them. (You read the other blogs, right?).

I took him to adoption event after adoption event, including this one at the Mystic Krewe of Mutts Mardi Gras parade where he had a great time, got a lot of attention and I gave my contact information to more than one interested prospective adopter. But none ever called.



Teddy also spent several days a week at the Friends of the Animals Dog Adoption House, an amazing place open to the public in Baton Rouge, where foster dogs can go for “Doggy Day Care” while they are available for adoption. The Dog Adoption House not only looks like a decorator showroom, dogs there get excellent glamour shots taken by generous volunteer photographers like Holly “Bird” Harris and Cheryl Smith Dispenza, who runs a program called Positive Alternatives to Shelter Surrender (PASS) that helps keep dogs out of the shelter in the first place. Cheryl took these of Teddy in November:

Teddy4 Teddy3

Teddy loved it at the Dog Adoption House. It’s cozy, immaculately clean, and the dogs there are given a lot of love from staff and volunteers who let into play yards hourly and give them treats like Kong toys stuffed with frozen peanut butter in their kennels. The Dog Adoption House adopts out dogs at a rate of 1-2 per day, seven days a week. Several of our fosters have been adopted there, but Teddy was passed up again and again. I just didn’t understand it. Maybe it was my sign on his kennel saying he was sensitive and delicate after hip surgery and he needed to be in a home without kids. Who knows.

And then at the end of January, a month after Teddy’s surgery, I got an adoption application from a woman named Claire who lives in Boston.

I have sent fosters to New York, Maine and  Chicago, so I have nothing against shipping dogs thousands of miles away for a great home. But a month out from  surgery, Teddy was still occasionally limping around. On very cold nights, he seemed really uncomfortable and would sometimes cry out while getting in and out of his dog bed. And he was taking arthritis medicine that he might possibly need to take for the rest of his life.




On paper, however, this Claire person looked pretty wonderful. And she didn’t have kids. Also, she had gone to college at Tulane and was extra excited when she saw that Teddy was a Louisiana dog. Claire loved Louisiana.

I sent her an email expressing my concern for Teddy’s health in a cold climate, because Boston has been slammed with freezing temps and blizzards all winter. I told her about the arthritis meds and about my concern that if she adopted Teddy and wasn’t happy with him, I couldn’t easily get him back, like I could if he were adopted locally. My biggest fear for Teddy was that he might end up at another shelter.

Claire wrote back, saying the arthritis meds weren’t a problem and assuring me that if she adopted Teddy he would never end up in a shelter. Worst case scenario, she said, she would make sure to get him back to me. We agreed I would ask Dr. Salmon what kind of impact the cold might have on Teddy’s pain, and I said I would call Claire the next day to speak with her further.

I never did.

And I didn’t call her the next day either. Very unlike me, but at that time, I just could not envision it. Plus, a really lovely friend and neighbor was letting me rehab Teddy’s hip in her indoor pool and hot tub and he needed more of that. Doing this at a dog rehab facility would be very expensive. Here is the pool where Teddy and I worked out together:


Can you even believe our luck that this was blocks from our home and my friend had no objection to letting a DOG swim in it? Let me add that she fostered a pregnant terrier for Companion Animal Alliance. The dog had more than seven puppies in her bathroom, all of whom found homes. And my friend adopted the Mama.

Can you even believe our luck that this was blocks from our home and my friend had no objection to letting a DOG swim in it? Let me add that she fostered a pregnant terrier for Companion Animal Alliance a couple of years ago. The dog had more than seven puppies in her bathroom, all of whom found homes. And my friend adopted the Mama. You really do meet the best people doing stuff like this…


I apologized and emailed Claire again, saying Teddy needed  more free pool rehab time. I also told her about the snapping. He hadn’t done it in a month, but I was concerned if he did it to Claire, she might freak out. I signed off saying if she were still interested, I would touch base with her in a month if he hadn’t been adopted locally. I never expected to hear from her again.

But she was still interested. Oh, did I mention Claire works with children who have special needs? Did I mention when I told her about the snapping-but-not-biting, she said, she worked with kids all day who lashed out at times and she felt confident she could handle it?

Thirty days ticked by and the kind of home I wanted for Teddy still wasn’t coming along in Baton Rouge. In that month, he grew stronger, healthier and happier.

Crespo, Luna and Teddy

He didn’t cry getting in and out of his bed on cold nights. He no longer needed arthritis meds. He let me massage his hips and gently tug his tail in a game that I instituted which at first he found puzzling and later found hilarious. And after three months of watching my dogs play with each other and never joining in, Teddy started awkwardly trying to roughhouse with our 85 pound Mastiff mix, Crespo. This was previously unimaginable in his formerly delicate state. Crespo obliged, allowing Teddy to pummel him, like he does with our 30 pound Beagle mix, Luna.

By the end of February, Teddy was feeling like a million bucks, and although I was sure Claire probably had adopted another dog, I gave her a call.

She had not adopted another dog. She was waiting for good news about Teddy.


Seriously, one of the best things about fostering dogs for me is getting to meet amazing people like Claire. You think they don’t exist, and yet they keep showing up, again and again, making fostering dogs so addictive.

I asked Claire for two references and called them — they were Perfect and More Perfect.

I made a Skype date with Claire and met her via video-conference — she was lovelier than I had even imagined.

My friend Deborah, who lives in Boston and had adopted my friend, Laurie Lynn Drummond’s CAA foster Sally the previous month, did a home visit at Claire’s house for me.

Deborah’s verdict: Claire is as great in person as she was on the phone, by email and Skype. Claire clearly understood what she was getting herself into. She was planning to take Teddy to obedience school, not for him, she said, but for her. What Deborah liked best about Claire was how she “lit up” when she spoke about Teddy. If a person could fall in love with a dog over the internet, Deborah said, Claire had done that with Teddy.

It was a done deal. I approved Claire for adoption, she booked Teddy a ride north on the Rescue Road Trips truck and paid for it.

Teddy was Beantown Bound.

My husband, Ed, is from Massachusetts and we met at UMass, Amherst. Ed couldn't wait for Teddy to learn how to root for the Sox and the Pats.

My husband, Ed, is from Massachusetts and we met at UMass. Ed couldn’t wait for Teddy to learn how to root for the Sox and the Pats.


For moral support, my friend Laurie Lynn drove me to the Love’s truck stop in Port Allen, Louisiana, where Teddy was being picked up at 9 am on a Thursday. I kissed him goodbye in the backseat of her car.



Was I a little nervous that Teddy would be scared or naughty and snappy with his handlers on the bus? A little. Was I worried he wouldn’t want to leave me and get into a tractor-trailer lined with 60 cages of dogs and think he was in a strange moving animal shelter? A little.

But it seems Teddy’s experiences at the Friends of the Animals Dog Adoption House made him see kennels filled with other dogs as happy places. Teddy also loves riding in the car, so when he saw the truck, he started wagging his tail like he was about to go on the best ride of his life. He hopped on board in two elegant leaps and let the driver/owner, Greg, lift him without objection, for a picture.


This is Greg Mahle, who owns and operates Rescue Road Trips. He’s an gentle, kindred spirit who loves dogs as much as we do. Every two weeks Greg drives from his home in Ohio down through the deep south to pick up and deliver homeless dogs  to New England.


Over the next 48 hours, Teddy let perfect strangers in Alabama and Pennsylvania walk him. And he got to see his first snow. (Unimpressed with that white stuff…Lemme back into the truck!)


Forty-eight hours later, Claire and her sister drove to get him in Putnam, Connecticut.


I’d be lying if I told you I don’t miss Teddy this morning as I sit on the sofa typing this. He would be pressing his feathery little body into my side trying to get closer than close and encroaching on my keyboard. And if Crespo got too close, he would be turning around and giving him the stink-eye.

Anyone see a photo- bomber trying to disguise himself using the wrong camouflage against my pajama bottoms?

Anyone see a photo- bomber trying to disguise himself using the wrong camouflage against my pajama bottoms?

But the fact is, although Teddy liked Crespo and Luna well enough, he is more of a People Dog than a Dog Dog. And in all the time he was here, he never gave up his hope that he could one day have me, or any woman, all to himself. I am a foster dog mom though, and no dog is ever going to have me all to himself. After everything Teddy had been through, he deserved a woman all his own.

It took a few months to find her and more than a thousand miles of traveling, but Claire, it turns out, was Teddy’s woman all along.

Happily. Ever. After.

Happily. Ever. After.

If you would like to donate to help dogs at Companion Animal Alliance, the open-intake municipal shelter in Baton Rouge where Teddy was housed when I met him, please click here:!donate/ctzx

If you would like to help dogs at Friends of the Animals in Baton Rouge, a rescue organization that holds offsite adoption events and has the amazing Dog Adoption House where Teddy spent many happy day time hours over the course of many months, please click here:

Both of these organizations have my heart. Thank you!

Short term fostering

I promised my hubby, Ed, I’d take a little break from fostering because we had a pretty big parade of dogs through the house after Yogi was adopted for the second time last spring. (Yogi: Long story. An upcoming post. In short, he’s got it so good right now, and hopefully forevermore.) So we hosted Yaya then Jaci then Louie then Chip then Godiva, and I promised Ed we’d take a month off and let our own two dogs luxuriate in being the only dogs in the house.

About three weeks into that month though, our shelter put out a plea for short term fosters. They were doing a transport of 22 dogs to the Virginia Beach SPCA , a facility that is also open-intake like ours, but has a 90% save rate; the only dogs there that are euthanized are those that are too sick or behaviorally unstable to be adopted.

Short term fostering is a great option for people who want to provide a warm bed and lots of love to shelter dogs but can’t make the commitment to do it until the dogs are adopted. And in this case, it would only be three nights.

So I headed up to the shelter with the goal of walking 10 dogs and giving them some love, and then pulling a couple of small ones who were scheduled for the transport to take home for three days. What I saw first were these blue, blue eyes gazing up at me from her kennel:


She told me Jensi wasn’t her name. She told me her name was Noodle.

My friend Jacinta said she was very shy but absolutely precious once she warmed up. I figured I’d grab her and something else that was small. That turned out to be this one (who was in a kennel just across the corridor from her):


Yeah, my name is Mattie. It even says it on my tag right there. The tag I was wearing when my owners surrendered me :{

While I walked the other dogs, I put Noodle and Mattie together in a kennel and let them get to know each other for about an hour. Because the last thing you need is a Little-Doggy-Bloodbath in your house, especially if you wind up with a couple of alpha females.

But as you can see, these were no alpha-females when I got them home. And both “noodled” their way into my heart, and Ed’s too.


I’ll be honest, usually I am very happy to see my fosters go. I don’t want more than 2 dogs. And I just want to help homeless dogs; that’s why we do this. But on the day that Noodle and Mattie were scheduled for transport, I was very grateful my friend, Morgan, who works at the shelter and lives next door to me, took them to the departure point for me.

My friend, Jacinta, texted me this picture as they were loaded up on the van and ready for the 15 hour drive from Baton Rouge to Virginia Beach: : Noodle&Mattie

Broke. My. Heart.

In the morning, I woke up and I missed those little goons tremendously. Mattie would literally smile at me when I went to get them out of the bathroom (where we kept them all cozy with a dog bed and toys, which were safe there from our own dogs and their thieving ways).  Both Mattie and Noodle were perfectly behaved while they were with us and house trained too. Also, I never heard either of them bark. Not once. That is really unusual for little dogs.

All of which is to say, these perfect little angels are available for adoption at the Virginia Beach SPCA and you can see more pictures on their Facebook page. Please share and send the very best people you know to go and adopt them, either separately or together. If the adopters contact me through my blog, I’d love to do an updated entry on them. We do so love happy tails!

Here’s one more peek at these beautiful girls: Noodle1



I haven’t posted in a while, and apologize for that. I have two very happy stories to tell about my fosters Knightly (now Yogi) and Tiger (now Ty), who are living happily ever after in their forever homes. But before I tell you those stories (and I’ll have to do that another day), I have to tell you about Diego, my friend, John’s foster, and ask you to spread the word. John has a dog of his own, with whom Diego gets along very well, but John and his wife have their adult daughters coming to stay with them soon, each with a dog of her own (and one with a newborn human baby) and John cannot continue to foster Diego much longer. It will break his heart to have to bring Diego back to the shelter.

Here’s John, with Diego’s Story (please share this link on social media):

Diego was brought to our open-intake shelter in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, in June, last year. He was about 9 months old, dirty and kind of skinny. He had some scratches and we worried he might have been used as a “bait” dog. He had a great spirit, but he also was a big, mostly black dog that had the look of some pit bull. Things got even worse…he was put on the list to be euthanized.

We thought we found his savior; someone adopted him and he went off to a new life. A couple of months later Animal Control brought him back. It seems his savior had Diego and 40 or so other dogs. They were confiscated and Diego found himself back in the shelter.

I recognized him. I had taken some of his original pictures and I knew how much he wanted a home. I had another foster, but I kept my eye on him. He had gotten huge since we last saw him, then about 70 pounds. He also had developed some fatty tumors and was placed in a kennel where he could not be easily noticed. I went home several nights telling my wife about this poor guy who couldn’t get a break. She saw it was upsetting to me and agreed that we could at least get his tumors removed.

We arranged to have his surgery scheduled. Then we worried about him being at the shelter while he healed and decided we would also foster him, just for a little while, just till his wounds healed. When he came home from a local vet, it didn’t take long before he melted into our lives. You see Diego doesn’t want much. He wants food (and plenty of it), something to chew on, and to be on the couch snuggled up against you. He likes to play in the yard with our other dogs, chasing lizards and birds. But he tires of that quickly and just wants to be inside with you.

Diego went to off-sites adoption events every weekend for the next few months. We despaired of finding him a home until some simple folk from across the river saw him and adopted him. I expected he would have a good life with them. It was not the best situation for which I could have asked, but I thought it was good enough.

A couple of months went by and we had moved through a couple other fosters. Then I was “friended” by his owner. I thought about Diego and was glad that I might get an update on him. Sadly, the update I got was not what I expected. They said they had become worried about him. He was acting aggressive towards some workmen in the yard and they were going to bring him to their kill-shelter if I didn’t come for him. I had a number of suggestions but they weren’t interested. So, I took a drive to their house and found out what the problem was. Diego was being kept on a chain in the yard. It was winter, cold, and wet. There had been a fence, but rather than repair it after some damage, it was removed. I’m sure that Diego was just protecting his family, but like a lot of dogs, he gets snarly when not properly introduced to newcomers.

The man of the house tried to caution me not to walk up to Diego, but he knew me and strained at his chain to jump up and lick my face. I put him on a leash, walked to my car, and we never looked back.

Diego got out of the car, went around to the dog door not waiting for me, and went looking for my wife. He found her in the kitchen and gave her a huge hug (“Mom, I’m home”). It was like he never left. He was still house-trained. With a few reminders, he remembered his basic commands to sit, get in his kennel, etc. We were so excited to have him back, we forgot a few things, such as that he still wasn’t much older than a puppy. We trusted him in the house when we went to work but we probably should have been more cautious since he had been gone a while. We paid for that when we came home from work to find he had eaten our sofa cushions. Live and learn, right?

Minor adjustments were in order. Number one was that he had to spend the day in his kennel when we went to work. Number two, we had to keep more appropriate chew-things around the house. That was an expensive lessen, but it did not diminish how we felt about him. He was a good boy, we loved him, and he still needed a forever home.

It was back to weekends at off-sites, posting pictures, and placing ads. We were still determined to find the right home for him. He did get a little interest, but I couldn’t see letting him go to live in an apartment or house without a yard after what he had been through before.

The Friends of the Animals Dog Adoption House opened and we were optimistic. My wife and I started bringing him every morning. It was a little out of the way, but we wanted him to find a good home and thought this new venue would be the ticket. Day in and day out, Diego went to the house. Other dogs came and went, but not Diego. One day I got a call that someone was coming back to look at Diego a second time. I left work early, got to the house with plenty of time, and perched Diego and myself on the couch and waited. But, she was already there. She was looking at another dog. She didn’t even say hi to Diego. Was he upset? Not Diego, he was lying with me on a couch. What could be wrong with that? I was the one who was devastated. My boy had been passed over…again.

The months have gone by and we’ve gotten used to the fact that Diego is not for everyone. He’s big and meaty. He’s black and white. He’s not pure bred. He’s got heart-worms. He’s protective. But he’ll climb into your lap when you both know there’s no room. Or he’ll sneak into bed and lay with his head on your shoulder while you listen to him breathing softly, in and out. He gets so very excited at mealtimes, like it’s his birthday again and again. And so very hot and tired when he’s been playing in the sun too long.

Diego has to find a forever home and we need everyone’s help. Please repost, copy, and share this as much as you can. If you want to adopt Diego, please email:


p.s. Diego is enrolled in a six week obedience class at “Fleur de Lead” dog training in Baton Rouge. He comes with a lifetime of free dog training in Fleur de Lead’s classes for whomever adopts this big, beautiful fella. Also, he is spectacular with little kids and small to medium sized dogs. He also gets along with large dogs, but needs a proper introduction, which John can tell anyone who is interested about.

Diego 01

Thanks, ASPCA!



Thanks to a generous $4,000 grant from the ASPCA, Friends of the Animals in Baton Rouge (FOTA) has been able to spay/neuter 50 dogs at the shelter. Thanks to FOTA volunteers, these dogs have been placed in loving foster homes where they are safe and secure until adopted.  FOTA has $643 left, but it must be spent by November 1 or we lose it. And we need more foster families to make that happen so we can help save another 6-12 dogs with the ASPCA grant. Won’t you please consider fostering a dog for FOTA? They make it so easy, especially with their beautiful, new dog adoption house on Highland Road near Staring Lane. Here, you can drop off your foster dog on your way to work in the morning and pick it up by six if it’s not adopted. And if it IS adopted, well isn’t that nice? What do you say? FOTA can find the perfect foster dog to fit in your home, whether it’s a chihuahua, a pit bull, a great dane, or maybe even a hilarious mixture of all of the above. Please email Paula Schoen at for more information. And thanks!

Oh, p.s. See that cutie on the bottom right? That’s right, it’s my foster boy, Knightly (now named Yogi) who was adopted last month and is living a wonderful life in a wonderful home with a mom and a dad and two little girls who adore him, as well as a lovely chocolate lab for an older dog brother. 





Toshie & Friends (part 2)


Another guest blog from my friend, Lily: 

I am very happy to report that Toshie is stronger than ever! Today she hits 3 weeks old and I have very high expectations for this little girl. I began syringe feeding her wet food mixed with formula. The first attempt was successful, but a lot messier than I imagined it would be. Even with a towel in my lap, this was the state of my clothes after feeding! At this point, she will even try and eat on her own, typically dunking her entire face into the bowl of gruel.Image

She has also graduated to her “big girl” crate, since she became so adept at climbing out of her nesting box. She has gained another possible breed distinguishing characteristic: little spots on her white socks! So Aussie? Border collie? Time to start playing guess Toshie’s breed!

Toshie has met a bunch of friends along the way at adoption events. They are a little easier to see now that her eyes have fully opened, but you don’t need good eye-site to chew on someone’s finger! And call me crazy (because I probably am!), but Toshie has two new siblings. Two baby kittens that didn’t quite know how to eat on their own came into the shelter at only 3-4 weeks old. I took them to the home of the founder of Project Purr, Peggy Polk, to try them on two momma cats. One was completely insulted by the assumption that she would take care of them while the other, while not as overtly nasty, showed complete indifference. And that’s how they came home with me. One is a Himalayan that was pre-adopted the very first night I took them home. I am not even quite sure what gender that one is because it is such a little fluffy thing! It is the sister I sympathize with. An adorable little thing with gigantic eyes that would typically get her noticed by just about anyone is immediately passed over next to her gorgeous sibling. I have named her Umeko (patience in Japanese) because she is patiently awaiting someone that will be able to withstand the allures of a fluffy kitten and love her! They are both surprisingly social for little babies and are also transitioning to wet food. Bubbie, my Boxer/Bulldog foster who is still looking for his forever home, loves to  assist me in gently “cleaning” the babies in between syringe-fulls.



I know it is blasphemy to advocate for the kitties on a blog titled “Dog by Dog,” but once again I send out a desperate plea for bottle babies fosters, especially for kittens. A lot that come in just need a little education on the marvels of wet food and are all set to eat on their own. It is the season and everyone can do something to help. Please email me if you would like to give it a try at:


Thanks again for following Toshie’s story. Along with all the wet food, milk, and fingers, she is eating up all those positive thoughts!

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.

Cody: Adopted!

4 1/2 long months in the shelter, one week in a foster home and adopted :}

4 1/2 long months in the shelter, one week in a foster home and adopted :}

Guess who got adopted today? Cody Coyote! So happy for him! I did tell his adopter that if it didn’t work out, I’d have him back in a heartbeat, but let’s cross paws that this is forever for Cody. I’ll ask his new dad to send me a picture of them together and post it when I get word that he’d never give Cody back. Not ever. Until then, let’s hope our boy warms up quickly to his new life. Big thanks to all who helped and shared his info.

Sweetie: Everybody Needs One

Sweetie is available for adoption. And she's a little optimist; psyched about everything!

Sweetie is available for adoption. And she’s a little optimist; psyched about everything!

Today’s guest blog is written by my friend, Lannette, who has fostered many a puppy and kitty in her day. And even entire litters of them. Here, her latest find(s):

“Who does that? That’s so sad! Who could just dump puppies by the side of the road and leave them?” This is what I’ve been hearing almost every day for the past week and a half. But it happens all the time. This time it happened in my neighbor’s front yard. Two adorable pups, about four months old, appeared at some point Saturday night and were waiting, in the exact same spot, Sunday morning for their “family” to come back for them. Except their family never came back.  So, a quick call to my friend, Renee, and we were in touch with the PASS Program. (PASS is an acronym for Positive Alternatives to Shelter Surrender).

00270 FND Scar catahoula mix - Lannette Cohn - photo 1

This is Scar. He’s a little worried from having been dumped. But taking a break from that right here.

So to add to our pack of three cats and two dogs we now have the two pups; a Catahoula mix the size of a pony and an insanely cute and happy Black Mouth Cur mix. The Catahoula was so despondent about his situation that he had to be carried into the house where he simply lay on the floor with his head down for most of the day. The kids named him “Scar” because, they joked, he was emotionally scarred but it also sounded “tough.”

00271 FND Sweetie black mouth cur mix - Lannette Cohn - photo 2

Oh Sweeeet-aaaaaay!

The Cur, however, is happy to see ya, happy to be here, happy that the sky is blue and happy that it’s raining. She’s pretty dang happy. Her name is Sweetie. She is sweet — super sweet– but that’s not where she got her name. My daughter named her after the assistant of one of the Real Housewives of Atlanta so her name isn’t “Sweetie” it’s “SWEE-TAAAAYYY” as Kim regularly yowls when her wigs need arranging. Unlike her namesake however this Sweetie is happy to see you, will come when she’s called and is very likely to bury your wig in the yard.

And she needs a new family, because hers never came back.

00270 FND Scar catahoula mix - Lannette Cohn - photo 6

Scar is a standout, with beautiful Catahoula markings and the mellowest demeanor of any puppy ever he was sought after as soon as his photo hit Facebook. His adoption is pending and he’ll be going to his new home as soon as he’s fixed, which leaves us with this sweet little nut we call Sweetie. She’s happy and she loves you. She really, really loves you!!!! She’s about five months old, has had all the necessary vet work for her age and will be spayed soon. She wants to play, she wants to watch TV with you, whatever, Sweetie’s up for anything. She’s getting better with the leash and doesn’t “go” in the house. Cute, funny, goofy with a little bit of mischief but really nicely behaved. Sweetie does fine with other dogs, both low energy and high energy dogs, is fine with kids, and fine with cats. She’s a great puppy and will be an awesome companion.

00271 FND Sweetie black mouth cur mix - Lannette Cohn - photo 4

So put your wigs up where she can’t get to them and please contact PASS for an adoption application to make Sweetie part of your family.
Positive Alternatives to Shelter Surrender (PASS) works with owners or finders of pets to determine and implement the best solution for them to keep the pet from entering the shelter in the first place. PASS was created to fill in that gap by helping the public find resources to help them keep their pets or pets they have found out of the shelter. PASS offers resources such as pointing people to low cost medical options; help with behavioral resources; food; advocating on their behalf; lost and found resources or rehoming their pet with ad placement.  

PASS does not have a facility to house the pet during the rehoming process – we ask owners or finders to foster the pet.  All pets in the PASS Program are up to date with age appropriate vaccinations, spayed or neutered and microchipped before adoption.   PASS is an all-volunteer program.

p.s. Did we mention Sweetie ignores cats? She does:

Sweetie could not care less about cats.

Sweetie could not care less about cats.

Email:, Phone:  225-366-7277



Kaluah Ann Cream


Unfortunately, I have been unable to foster much lately because I’ve been more busy than usual with work. However, in the wonderful world of Shelter Dog (and Cat) Rescue, there are always little ways in which you can help. For me, that means helping friends fostering long term when they need to get away. While we can’t commit to foster a dog until it is adopted right now, or even for a one-week spay/neuter recovery, we can surely keep a dog overnight.

All of which is to say, meet our overnight guest, Kaluah Ann Cream! This petite husky/shepherd mix was a staff favorite at the shelter, and sadly, has been there since mid-October 2012, so she needed out before it was too late. In a kill shelter, even dogs who are adorable, healthy and sweet only get a limited amount of time for their perfect person to come along, so I’m so glad my friend, Amy, stepped up to foster Kaluah as the clock was starting to ticking loudly. I learned on Facebook though, the caveat was Amy could not take her last week if she didn’t have someone to take her tonight when Amy had to be away. That was my opportunity to help in the limited way that I can. If you want to foster, but can’t make the long term commitment, please leave a comment below and I’ll let you know of opportunities like the one I just got.


Pardon the garage/woodshop accommodations, dear Kaluah. And thanks for being gracious about it.

As for Kaluah, I’m shocked she has been stuck at the shelter for so long. She’s playful but submissive, sits on command, is crate trained, and hasn’t made a peep in my backyard kennel for the hour in which she has been there. And my friend, Sharon, who took Kaluah home last weekend for an overnight before Amy took her as a long term foster, says she is great with other dogs and even cats. And she didn’t have one accident in Sharon’s house all weekend. Here is Sharon’s take on Kaluah, in her own words: If Kahlua had a theme song, it would be “Don’t Worry, Be Happy”. Six months at the shelter have not dulled her enthusiasm for life or her love of people- especially children. Her shiny coat- the colors of kahlua and cream drizzled with caramel, does NOT SHED and is as soft as the petals of new spring flowers. Kahlua loves dog toys, but will improvise if none are available- a stick, blue jay feather or and old banana peel happened upon outside will launch her into laps around the yard, tossing her prize in the air with tongue lolloping and eyes aglitter. Full grown at approx 1.5 years old and 43 pounds, she is the perfect package for your lap, your bed. or your heart.

And here’s a link to Kaluah’s petfinder bio: You can arrange a private meeting or get more info about her from her foster mom by emailing:

In an hour, I’m dropping off Kaluah at an adoption event at Orvis (Perkins Row) in Baton Rouge, where another volunteer friend, Ann, will stay with her for three hours in the hopes of finding her an adopter. I will take my laptop to Barnes & Noble and work and if Kaluah does not get lucky today, I’ll bring her home with me. Tomorrow, I’ll bring her back to Orvis again for a repeat. If you have a friend looking to add a perfect pet to the family, you can do a small thing too: send them to Orvis today from noon to 3. Or tomorrow, same time. Or have them email Amy and her husband.


The best part about my experience volunteering at our shelter is the opportunity to work on an incredible team. I have never worked with so many big-hearted volunteers who are willing to put the pieces together in big and small ways. All of this helps highly adoptable animals like Kaluah to avoid lethal injection.

Never think for a moment that there’s nothing you can do to help. The smallest of gestures can add up to great stuff. Just think, if Kaluah is adopted today, my one little gesture in combination with the big and small gestures of others could mean a whole new life for a pup who really deserves it.

If you want to help too, but have some challenges, leave a comment below and we’ll figure out how. Even if you live in an apartment, are strapped for cash, have too many pets of your own or very young kids, I promise, we’ll find something for you that will make you feel as good as I do now, knowing Kaluah is safe and sound and on her way to a new life. Maybe it will even be today. Paws crossed…


UPDATE: ADOPTED! Hooray for Kaluah! 


Crates well with others-- Kaluah followed my dog Crespo into his kennel in the car after a nice romp at the dog park. He thought that was hot (see them panting?)

Crates well with others– Kaluah followed my dog Crespo into his kennel in the car after a nice romp at the dog park. He thought that was hot (see them panting?)