Faith, Trust, & Foster Pups

Helping dogs on the road to forever, forever finding ourselves as we walk that road with them.


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Thirty Days of Thanks: Snow Soccer

Happy Thanksgiving Everybody!

This year I got to start off celebrating the holiday of delicious table scraps doing two of my favorite activities: playing in the snow and playing with my most favorite ball!

Gram and Grandpappy don’t have a fenced in yard, but they do have a big field with soccer goals and a baseball fence across the street from their house, so mama and I brought our long line over and had some cold wet fun before all the Thanksgiving guests started arriving.

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So I’m good and exercised now, and happily updating my blog before I settle in for some nappings in my crate while all the goings on are going on.

More to come on how I handled the holiday hustle and bustle, but so far so good!

Turkey Day Tail Wags,
Balton


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Thirty Days of Thanks: A Full Car and Full Hearts

On the road again…with coordinating hoodies.

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We’re on our way west for this year’s Thanksgiving adventure. Last year was a wee bit tough on Balton, but this year we go into Thanksgiving with better foundations of knowledge, skills, trust and confidence, so I’m feeling cautiously optimistic that Thanksgiving year 2 will be handled better by all of us.

Keep your fingers, toes, and paws crossed for a successful family road trip. For now, I’m thankful both dogs are resting quietly in the back of the car instead of panting/whining/barking, and taking it as a positive indicator of a good holiday weekend to come.

Happy Thanksgiving to you and all your loved ones!


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Thirty Days of Thanks: The Lucky Ones

This Thirty Days of Thanks Series seemed like a really good idea at the beginning of the month. Signing up to complete my one or my BSN program pre-reqs in an 8 week Oct-Dec class also seemed like a really good idea when I registered for the class. Unfortunately, both were pretty ill-timed with an event at my day job I’d been tied up with and losing sleep over for awhile. So between that and then trying to get caught up on Stat studying and homework upon its completion, the typical snowball effect of losing some momentum, plus a couple sprinklings of petsitting and keeping up with my own family’s needs, I got a little bit behind on my notes of thanks. I promise I’ve been counting my blessings though and just keeping my thanks up in my head and down in my heart. Sometimes something’s gotta give, and in this case the blog had to take a backseat to life and other grown-up activities.

I guess I could even argue that it’s something to be thankful to have a life so full that you can afford the luxury of having to prioritize and take a break from writing. Nevertheless, I have a bit of ground to make up, and so over the next few days I’m going to try and offer up some multiple thanks on things while I celebrate this Thanksgiving weekend with my family.

Today, I am going to share some of the work of others to give thanks to the rescue world I hold close to my heart, and to promote something that will do the same.

So, it may already be abundantly clear that I’m a big fan of Jessica Dolce’s Notes From a Dog Walker blog. Her clever, witty posts are always enjoyable reads, and so very often are helpful to caregivers for DINOS, which I sort of signed on to become some time ago without entirely realizing what I was signing on for. It’s worth mentioning that I am SUPER thankful for all the resources I have found incredibly helpful and inspiring through her writings.

Anyway, this time of year, as many people are working to help give gifts of forever homes for the holidays, there are a special crop of people that  I want to acknowledge and say thank you to, who don’t often get the thanks they deserve every moment of every day. And because Jessica honors them so well, I want to credit her tributes and thank her for writing them. I have provided excerpts below from each entry, but I encourage you to click through to the original post to truly have your heart touched.

Each dog takes a journey on their way to forever, and has many touch points along the way. Their first touch point is usually at the hardworking and ever gentle hand of the shelter worker.

“They stand at the doorway each morning and take a deep breath. The dogs, recognizing that they’re no longer alone, have erupted in a cacophony of demands for food, bathroom breaks, attention. Overwhelmed by the noise, hearts pounding, trying to pick a direction to go in first, they say, “I’m coming just as fast as I can everybody. I love you all this morning.” And then they start running…

…They are a vital part of our community. The safety net for our pets. The beating heart deep in our collective hope for a better world for our animals.

They are the magicians, the master jugglers, the contortionists, working endlessly to pull one more miracle out of their bag of tricks. One more life saved by their weary hands. They are the underpaid, overworked operators working the lines until there is a happy ending.”

Pictured here are just a few of the ladies who are the miracle workers of Lucky Dog Animal Rescue, and the heroes I hold responsible for both Ollie and Balton coming to my my life. Stephanie, Tiffany, and Pam are three of the most dedicated ladies who work with two of Lucky Dog’s shelter partners, and countless lives are owed to their dedication down in the trenches (photo credits to Lucky Dog Animal Rescue, Cris Ghillani, and Virgil Ocampo).

The next touch point a shelter pup finds holding its leash on the road to rescue is the volunteer.

“They are the worker bees, absolutely essential to the bustling hive that is the shelter. They work together towards a common goal: saving lives.

They discover that they themselves have found a home among the temporarily homeless.

The work is tough, but they feel uplifted, empowered and proud. They are contributing to a cause, making a difference in every single life they touch. A community is discovered, new friends are made, a purpose is revealed, a fire is lit!”

Volunteers make their impact down in the shelters where Lucky Pups come from, and once they arrive here to the DC area, Lucky Dog volunteers come in many forms: drivers, handlers, home visit volunteers, adoption coordinators, event team members, weekly volunteer email composers, community members like trainers, groomers, boarding facilities, veterinarians, dog boutiques, and photographers who donate their services in order to make a difference for one lucky, precious life at a time (and as I write this, Lucky Dog’s volunteers and the 6,000+ lives they’ve saved are thanked in this lovely guest blog post featured in NovaDog Magazine’s blog!). We’re not kidding when we say it really does take a village, and there can never be too many volunteers. Below is a sampling of LDAR volunteers from all walks of life at this year’s Strut Your Mutt walk with Best Friends Animal Society, who collectively raised over $18,000 to help more even more pups, and had fun doing it. Many hands working hard, making great things happen. That’s what volunteering is about.

symteamphotoAnd in the world of rescue, the final bridge on the road to forever tends to be the foster family.

“They do their best to balance holding tight and letting go. It is a tricky dance to care so deeply for a guest, since dogs stay forever in our hearts. But when people tell them, “I couldn’t foster because it would be too hard to give the dog up.” They say, “How can it be harder than knowing a dog died because no foster home stepped up?” And that is why they do it time and again.

And while they worry they might not be strong enough to let this one go, something special happens: The right adoption application arrives!

They lifted a single soul up, out of the crowd and floating on their hands, their foster dog arrived in the arms of the family that has been searching for him. It was all worthwhile.”

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Fosters Angel and Allison with their now-adopted-former-fosters, Randy and Wilson

In the new year, tribute will be paid to the touch points that act as stepping stones on the Lucky Dog journey, thanks to a documentary being created by Creative Liquid Productions called “The Lucky Ones.” The film will premiere in January 2014 here in the DC metro area, but the trailer can be viewed on “The Lucky Ones” landing page now. Check it out, and stay tuned for premiere details as they become available!

PS – In case anyone is counting, this brings today’s not-too-shabby thank you tally to 6:

  1. to full life
  2. to Jessica Dolce/Notes from a Dog Walker/Dogs In Need of Space
  3. to shelter workers
  4. to volunteers
  5. to fosters
  6. to Creative Liquid Productions

By my count I still owe at least 7 extra thank yous to get caught up, but I will get there!


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Thirty Days of Thanks Day 17: Sharing the Couch

I really was hoping that I would get through 30 days of thanks without skipping a beat. Unfortunately my real life job had me working some long days these past few days for a big event that just wrapped up today. So today, while I celebrate bringing that event to completion, and to have spent very little time in my home this past week, I was so thankful to come back from 3 days in DC to wagging tails and doggy kisses. And as I lay here in a few moments of nothing, having one on my lap and one at my feet, I am thankful to be home, I am thankful for their company, I am thankful for their comfort. ❤


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Thirty Days of Thanks Day 12: Grace

I admit I am not always the best version of me. Lord knows I try, but sometimes I fail. And sometimes maybe I don’t try hard enough. I can be angry, I can be envious, I can hold grudges, I can fail to see the forest through the trees.

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I do believe in grace. I also realize grace is granted, not earned. And when someone grants you grace, you need to be thankful for that, and find a way to grant it back to someone else.

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I try to be mindful of that, and seek opportunities to be graceful to others. And in my darker moments, I am thankful for the grace of God, and the grace granted to me by these three beautiful hearts who stand alongside me.

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Take a moment today to be graceful, to be gracious, to be grateful.


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Thirty Days of Thanks Day 11: Thankful for Your Stories

Okay, so this one is a bit more of a pre-emptive “thanks” to you dog loving blog loving people and pups out there! This week is expected to be a bit of a cluster thanks to my real person job that doesn’t revolve around talking about how awesome my dogs are. And given the fact I’m in the throes of planning a 3 day conference for many teenagers with many, many, many food allergies between them, I am begging for guest bloggers this week!

Please share your stories a la email by sending them to faithtrustnpups@gmail.com and help me keep up with 30 days of uninterrupted thanks while keeping my sanity. And tell all your friends, too!

If not for me, do it for Ollie. He will readily resort to begging if needed, and is incredibly persistent.

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Believe me when I tell you that you don’t want to see him get persistent. I promise it’s not cute, and resistance is pretty much futile.


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Thirty Days of Thanks Day 9-10: Sleeping In and Silence

I realize I failed to give thanks yesterday, and so today I attempt to make up for it with two thankful fors which are sort of related.

I love sleeping in whenever I get the opportunity. For 7 years I worked in jobs that had me working every Saturday and sometimes Sunday, so weekends didn’t typically provide me sleeping in opportunity.

I now work a job where I only work an occasional Saturday, but sleeping in practices were often rattled by a sound sensitive (and sensitive in general) Balton who would normally be content to sleep in, if not for some early rising humans out for a stroll or running happily down to the playground down the street.

Saturday slumber interrupted by frantic barking and whining, coupled by one of two barely woken humans yelling to quiet down or hiding under a pillow to muffle the noise.

Barking out windows has not been limited to early morning rituals, but often would continue through the day as Balton played the role of neighborhood watch, or “I think I heard something” turned into a dramatic tantrum to scare off the people who, really, would bypass our house anyway without the dog barking at them, but Balton was assured his scary self is what made them keep walking. And once one dog starts barking the other feels inclined to chime in, so, yeah, there’s that.

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A combination of training and management has since been implemented to help our house patrol feel less of a need to patrol the house since early days.  Window film from Home Depot has helped make a world of difference in curbing the downstairs window hysteria because even if he hears something and starts barking, he rushes to the window and sees a whole lot of nothing. When he takes a moment to ponder what he was so upset about, I call his name and he comes running to me, and he gets a treat. While the window film has helped quite a bit as far as managing the behavior, the calling and treating has helped to teach a better behavior. Snack and praise > barking at neighbor.

Previously, any rustling of noise would trigger a long-winded and intensely performed barking soliloquy, so I’ve started being more aware of those noises. Lately, on a Saturday or Sunday morning when I get the chance to sleep in, I hear a neighbor outside and brace myself for the barking to commence. History has taught me to expect it. But lately, the early morning barking has not been as regular an occurrence. In fact, it’s now more the exception than the norm.

I’m grateful that B has had the opportunity to learn that sleeping in and cozy blankets> early morning barking and rushing the window, and we’re all once again getting the opportunity to remember just how golden silence is.

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