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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Operation: Adopt Nala

“Saving one dog will not change the world, but surely for that one dog, the world will change forever.”

In the world of rescue, there are certain dogs who touch your heart in such a way that your heart just wants so badly to find that forever home they deserve. One such dog who has been touching hearts for some time is Nala.

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Nala was rescued from a rural shelter in 2013 and has been living in foster care with my good friend Cathy for one year as of today. When Nala first arrived she was incredibly fearful of the world around her, but the safe haven of a loving foster home has been a wonderful gift for this beautiful young lady, who has begun to learn the world is full of good and has really blossomed in Cathy’s care. I’ve had the joy of spending some time with Nala and helping her practice getting comfortable around strangers in the home, and also have gotten to see her work at doggy school when I would take Ollie in for classes.

Much of the last year has been spent getting Nala really and truly ready to go to her forever home, and her foster mom knows the time has now come to find happy ever after. Although Cathy loves Nala to pieces, she knows that hers is not the right fit forever home. Having put so much time into Nala’s training and confidence building, Cathy feels confident that Nala is now ready to transition into her life with her new adoptive family. I couldn’t agree more, and hope you will help us in spreading the word about this truly special soul so she can find them.

Nala has been attending adoption events through her sponsoring rescue, Rural Dog Rescue in Washington, DC, but as you might guess, adoption events are kind of hard for shy dogs like Nala to put their best paw forward. So a few weeks ago,  I had the pleasure of practicing my amateur photography skills as part of an adoption video Cathy made for Nala.  This video allows would-be adopters to see the Nala they don’t get to see at events, and Cathy did a beautiful job highlighting Nala’s skills, playful nature, and sweet disposition. And if you watch closely, you’ll notice a certain semi-celebridog who came along for play date fun during filming to make a cameo and credit appearance.

Please share Nala’s video far and wide, and help Cathy in her mission to get Nala adopted – she’s waited oh so patiently for forever and deserves it more than any dog I know!

To learn more on how to adopt Nala, check out her adoption bio or email her foster mom at cathyruraldog@gmail.com.  All of us on Team Nala thank you for your support and for reporting for duty on this very important operation!

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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 7: Heart and Soul

This morning as I was checking my Facebook news feed, a post came through from Monique Anstee of The Naughty Dogge, a training center based up in Victoria, British Columbia. I often find useful and insightful thoughts through following the page on Facebook. Today, she writes about “soul dogs”…or as I think they’re more commonly identified state side, “heart dogs.”

But then as I thought about my two boys, I got to thinking, maybe there are heart dogs, and maybe there are soul dogs. One of the definitions for heart if you do a quick Google search says “regarded as the center of a person’s thoughts and emotions, esp. love or compassion.” Do the same search for soul, and it comes back “the spiritual or immaterial part of a human being or animal…a person’s moral or emotional nature or sense of identity.”

In so many ways, Ollie holds my heart and is the key to so many other dogs we have supported. While he’s almost-but-not-entirely perfect (don’t tell him or my husband that), he’s been able to roll with and support every single foster dog we’ve brought home, and also taught them how to be a dog and accept human love with the same wide eyed and trusting affection he seemed to have from day one he came to us almost 3 years ago. Also, it never escaped us that on his left side, he’s got a spot that looks like a heart.

ImageI adore him, and have loved and felt compassion to bounds I didn’t think possible through adopting Ollie.

But if what is written below is true about soul dogs, then Balton most certainly is mine. Somehow, every new day with Balton allows me to find some part of myself that had been hidden or overlooked. It’s hard to really describe completely, and the intangibility of that somehow can only be reflected in our immaterial souls.

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I cried a little bit when I read this, because it hit me so hard, and if ever there was something written by someone else that sums up our relationship, it would be written below.

“To really understand some words, we must know their opposites; for example, you cannot understand ‘fast’ without knowing ‘slow’. The same goes of appreciating beauty, if you have never seen ugly. And likewise, you cannot understand good, without knowing bad. That is where our dogs come in….

We as dog-owners will experience different levels of bonding with our dogs. We have dogs that we love, then we have dogs that connect to us on a whole different level; they read our minds, they know our actions before we have even had more than a flicker of a thought of the action – they become a part of us. I define these as soul-dogs. 

The Soul Dogs are almost always the ‘bad dogs’ or dogs that have been a struggle, or made us work way harder than we had intended. By pushing us and making us dig-deep to get them to become what we needed them to be, they truly teach us what ‘good’ means. And in the process of turning your monkey from a challenge to good, you will develop a bond that people with more normal dogs won’t comprehend. You must experience both opposites of a word to really appreciate what the power of that word means. Most Soul Dogs forced that upon us.

It is only through experiencing and understanding bad that we can begin to appreciate the good. If you’ve only ever had good, you don’t have a reference point to be able to fully appreciate exactly how great ‘good’ can be.

And when you do get to work through that with a dog, you will have a Soul-Dog that only those who have walked in your shoes will be able to comprehend.”

Monique Anstee
Victoria, BC
www.naughtydogge.com

So, yeah, I think I have in my life a heart dog and a soul dog, and I am so profoundly grateful for both, from the bottom of my heart and the depths of my soul.

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There’s Something About Mary…

Today’s edition of Faith, Trust, & Foster Pups interrupts its own regular programming to bring your attention to one of Lucky Dog’s other pups, who I had the extreme pleasure of spending some time with yesterday afternoon. Mary is a 2 year old American Bulldog/Boxer mix (or at least that’s what we think) who is pretty much the cutest little short n’ stocky sweetie pie ever to grace this earth. If it isn’t already blatantly obvious, I fell in love with her in just a few hours, and seriously contemplated stealing her and moving her in with me…even selfishly doing a secret foster swap and sending Balton to Wagtime Too, where Mary is staying, and hoping no one would really know the difference. But, since they look and act nothing like each other, I quickly determined this plan would fail, so decided instead to make the most of our Sunday afternoon together before bringing her back to boarding. And then decided to tell you all about our time together and how absolutely wonderful she is.

Mary and I went out to represent Lucky Dog Animal Rescue yesterday while talking to an incredible group of kids (and their parents!) at Kidserve in Gaithersburg, MD. We were invited to speak to Kidserve about what Animal Rescue does and how people can show their support by fostering or volunteering. Mary was a great little Lucky Dog ambassador for this activity because she loves children, and she was happy to accompany me because she got to leave yesterday’s adoption event an hour early. She was getting a little toasty on the sidewalk trying to compete with 60 other Lucky Dogs for attention, including our new arrivals from shelter partner the Florence Area Humane Society.

ImageStaying cool in 70 degree weather and this pretty dark chocolate coat is not easy!

So, off Mary and I went to the Kentlands Clubhouse, where she and I beat the heat and got to hang into the Air Conditioning for a little while and give our presentation. Image

Mary told the kids how she gave birth to her litter of 10 puppies in a South Carolina shelter, and all her puppies had since been adopted. We talked about how Lucky Dog has boarding partners like Wagtime, the doggy daycare place where she was staying. We also talked about how people can foster full time or overnight/short-term, so it’s a volunteer commitment that can work with just about any schedule (our friend, and fellow Lucky Dog Blogger, Katie, explains the difference quite nicely in her blog Of Barks and Bones). Finally, we talked about how Mary herself would love to move from her boarding situation to a foster home while she looks for her ultimate landing pad of a forever home.

Mary was a big hit among the kids, and dutifully met her all her speaking engagement obligations by giving each of them tail waggles when they came to say hi to her, soaking up rays on the terrace, and graciously allowing each of them the opportunity to give her belly rubs.

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On our way home, we stopped for a short walk so she could get some “me time” (and I could get some “Mary and me time”). While out, we stopped to take in the afternoon sunshine and cooling breeze, sniff some flowers, sit in some grass, and so Mary could go potty. Then, I taught her how to drive a car. Or, at least sit in the drivers seat and pose adorably.

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Mary is super low key and remarkably well behaved in busy settings, and on leash. While out on our walk, she came nose to nose with a giant Newfoundland and was exceptionally polite. And, after our short walk, she was definitely ready to curl up and snooze in the car for the rest of the ride back to DC. If you’re looking for a dog who doesn’t need tons and tons of exercise, she is your girl. Mary is, well, an absolutely delightful little lamb, if you will. I would love nothing more than to see this puppy crossed with potbelly pig (I mean that with all the love in my heart!) go to a home that will allow her to be the super snuggle buddy and happy love bug that she is. And so I can stop pining over her and wishing I could adopt her myself.

For more information on adopting or fostering Mare Bear, check out her bio at http://www.petfinder.com/petdetail/25238779 or email my friend (and Mary’s Adoption Coordinator) Holly at hollyc@luckydoganimalrescue.org