Dora does the laundry

Before her rescue, Dora lived outside in a yard with several other dogs. She wasn’t pampered or spoiled, and she most certainly was not responsible for any house chores.

Being two years old and all, she must have figured that she has been slacking and she’d better make up for lost time. So on day two of her grand adventure in our foster home, she got right to work doing the laundry.

Mama, what are we going to do about all of these messy garments?

While bashful Sir Chick always hides during laundry time because of the loud noises the machine makes, Dora the Explorer boldly stood by for the whole endeavor, even venturing to sniff out the goods, determining which was the smelliest.

This shirtsleeve is the smelliest. It hints of lawyering, and perhaps a touch of miso soup.

Inspecting the laundry-in-waiting wasn’t enough for this brave girl, though. She insisted on checking out the washing machine contents before we took the dirty clothes for a spin.

Mama, the load in here is all gym clothes. I guess my dress shirt skirt can wait until the next go round.

Wait! I thought I saw a piece of kibble in that pants pocket . . .

It turned out that Dora was a very good laundry assistant. After helping fish the treats out of various pants pockets and identifying which shirt had the most interesting scent on its sleeve, she bravely played patty cakes with the washing machine during the spin cycle, play-bowed to the dryer as it fluffed, and did her very best to hold still while I did my very best to use her back as a folding table. She’s got a ways to go, but at least the girl tries!

Holding still isn't so easy, lady. Don't you know this bod was made to boogie?

For more info on adopting Dora the Explorer, click here or contact us at info [at] loveandaleash [dot] com.

Meet Dora the Explorer!

Pop quiz: Which of these two ladies is Dora the Explorer, a silly cartoon character loved by children all around the world? Tough question — it could be either, right?

While these two cute girls share a name, only one of them is our new foster dog. We are thrilled to introduce our newest resident, Dora the Explorer!

We hadn’t been home from our Thanksgiving trip for 15 minutes before Dora trotted in, butt wiggling and tail waggling like there’s no tomorrow. Her little feet barely had time to tap dance across the room in excited fashion, and we were already consumed in giggles at her cuteness. After all, just look at that mug!

Miss Dora has the cutest expression we’ve met in a while, but she’s not just a pretty face — she has a BIG personality to match. In the recent past we’ve gravitated toward the shy, introverted dogs for foster — we’ve found them to be easier to integrate into our home. But Dora needed a soft place to land, and it just so happens that she loves to party. She’s the kind of party guest who brings a bottle of the good stuff, gets your grandma dancing with a lampshade on, and then politely cleans up after everybody’s gone home. Dora’s taking all of us for a joyride, and if she can help it, we’re all going to have a smashing good time!

"If this is a party, then where's the cupcakes?"

Dear fostering, we missed you!

Dear fostering,

Oh, how we have missed you. We thought it would be easy to quit you. We thought that with everything going on, we’d forget about you for a little while. We moved, after all. To a new state. Halfway across the country. We took a two-week road trip in California. Moved into a house full of boxes. We had Big Things on our minds. You should have been pushed out of our brains.

And yet. I couldn’t get you out of my mind. We bid our Curious Georgia farewell in DC just days before we took off for our road trip, and got our pit bull fix at BAD RAP and Hikeabull just days after we arrived in California. And as our return — and subsequent drive to our new home base in Austin — drew near, I got the fever. The foster fever.

So we got here, found the essentials in a mountain of boxes (coffee maker, underwear, cell phone chargers, dog treats . . .), and immediately started to get restless. I would think about sweet little pit bull noses, and my leg would start to twitch. I would think about warm little pit bull bellies, and my fingers would itch. I would see a pit bull riding in the back of a car, and my face would break out into a big grin. I would clear a spot for our foster crate in the guest bedroom, and my heart would flutter. Fostering, we missed you so. When could we start anew?

We got home from a Thanksgiving trip last night, and this marks our first full week in Austin since our move — seems like a good time to start a new adventure. So fostering, we’re finally reunited. And it feels so good.

Giving Thanks

We have much to be thankful for this year, and wish you a beautiful holiday weekend with plenty of time to reflect on the blessings in your own life.

Chick is planning to over-eat and spend the day napping in the sunshine. We hope your Thanksgiving is equally peaceful and full of warmth.

With much love,

Your friends at Love and a Six-Foot Leash

A different kind of dog rescue

A craigslist furniture hunt this week led me to the doorstep of a remarkable woman. She is an artist, an eccentric, a carpenter, and a collector of antique and vintage furniture and architectural goodies — the types of things that others may cast aside as junk. She sees the beauty in these pieces, lovingly restores them or repurposes them as something new, and decorates her property with the ones that she doesn’t sell on craigslist or at flea markets. Walking through her yard feels like stepping into the secret garden.

A. lives on 10 acres in a rural county southeast of Austin. On her property she has created a beautiful, fanciful sanctuary for herself, her family, and a few dozen animals. Aside from being an artist, A. is an animal rescuer. Her work with animals is loving and true, but it’s pretty different from the type of animal rescue that most city folks are accustomed to.

She travels all around Central Texas collecting furniture and salvaged goods from demolition sites, general stores, and industrial warehouses. Everywhere she goes, she meets animals in bad shape — half-dead geese, abandoned cats with broken legs, lonely dogs chained to rusted trucks, and litters of puppies dumped in a ditch.

Pretty often, she arrives home with her salvaged treasure of the day in the bed of her truck, and an animal or two in the cab. She takes them to the vet when they need it, and finds them new, better homes when she can. All dogs and cats that pass through her home are spayed or neutered — at A.’s expense. Her rural county does not have any free or low-cost spay/neuter clinics for homeless animals, so she has to cough up the costs. She has never paid for an animal, and doesn’t want to make money off them either. She lists the animals on craigslist for free, and then carefully interviews any interested parties to make sure the homes are good ones. She can’t be as meticulous as an official rescue, but she does what she can.

Some of the work she takes on is even harder than this. She tries to forge trusting relationships with families whose pets are not being cared for properly, to encourage them to do better. Her corner of Central Texas is fairly poor, and a lot of families keep dogs and cats loose on their unfenced property or chained to their porches or sheds. Many of these animals have no shelter and little food. Most are not fixed, and when a new litter of puppies or kittens shows up, a family member rounds them up into a box, drives them a few miles away, and tosses them in a ditch. According to A., this is not uncommon. She found a few of her own dogs and cats as ditch puppies and kittens.

When she can, she convinces families to let her pay for a spay/neuter for their pets. She offers flea and heartworm meds when she can afford it. When the families seem uncommitted to their animals, she offers to take them away and find them new homes. Sometimes she’s successful, but it often takes her months to break through. Just after my visit, A. was on her way to visit a man who has a friendly young pit bull permanently shackled to a four-foot heavy rusted chain. She thought that maybe today would be the day that she convinces him to give the dog up. This was not her first visit to his property, 8 miles away on a dirt country road.

On the way home, my eyes scanned the highway’s edge, looking for ditch puppies or injured cats on the side of the road. As I drove along, I wondered: how many brave-hearted individuals are out there, engaged in this independent, unofficial sort of animal rescue, flying under the radar of so many of us? And what can be done to help individuals like A. work even more effectively to touch more lives?

Chix-a-lot week: Meet my evil bathtub

Well, she’s gone and done it. My mean mama has given me a bath in my new bathtub.

I had high hopes for this new house, but it turns out my new bathtub is just as evil as my old bathtub. Maybe even more evil because there’s a snake that spits water, and mama can hold it in her hand and make it spit at me. If it isn’t obvious just from me typing about it, I hate that snake.

Mama says the snake helps me get her get the dirt off my belly. I like the dirt just fine where it is, but I guess my evil mama prefers me to be as white as can be. Look at all the dirt in the bathtub. I worked hard to adhere it to myself, and she just ran it off into the water with her evil soap and her evil snake.

Maybe the worst think about taking a bath is that it reveals my top secret superhero spots that I work very hard to keep hidden from the world. They are the source of all my powers, and I swear they are weakened if everybody sees them. Just look at my secret ear spots and my leg spots — you’re not supposed to be able to see those!

Ok, but I have to admit. When the evil bath is over, one of my favorite things happens. Mama lifts me out of the bathtub and snuggles me up in a big soft towel. She rubs me all over and then lets me wear the towel like I’m Yoda. I kind of love it, but I pretend I’m still mad at her because I want her to know how much I hate bathtime.

And then another good thing happens. A long time ago mama and I made a deal — I will give her one bath of good behavior in exchange for one high-quality rawhide chew, payable upon completion of the evil bath. Here I am waiting with my payment by the back door to go out and chew it in the sunshine.

I would never, ever, ever say that it’s worth it, but I sure do love those rawhide chews in the sunshine.

I hope everybody is having a good week and steering clear of those evil bathtubs and the evil spitting snakes!


Chix-a-lot week: Meet my new yard!

Hi guys!

I missed a few Chix-a-Lot Fridays because I was having so much fun playing with my uncle Tex the Lab at my grandparents’ house that I just didn’t have time to write. Plus I’m not great on the phone and mama was traveling in California, so I wouldn’t have been able to help her with the blogging anyway. So I’ve declared this week to officially be Chix-a-Lot Week!

Some of you have been reading for a while and remember that this foster brother supreme (me!) had to hang up his Maryland crab mallet and make the long three-day journey down to Austin, Texas, where he was happily reunited with his cowdog boots and pearl snap shirts. That’s right, we’re back in my homeland, Austin!

I can’t wait to start fostering other pit bull dogs again– it’s been almost a month since sweet Curious Georgia broke my heart by moving to her new home. But mama says we’re not ready quite yet, since we have a house full of boxes and haven’t even found our dog fostering supplies like our crate, extra leashes, bowls, and bribes treats yet. Hopefully we’ll get our first Texan foster dog right after Thanksgiving, yippee!

In the meantime, I want to introduce you to my new back yard! It’s my very favorite part of our new life, and it’s going to be perfect for all the dog fostering I’m going to do. It’s much bigger and much sunnier than my old yard, with plenty of stuff to sniff (the next door neighbors have free-range chickens) and plenty of places to roll around and scritch my own back (we have our own grass)!

This here is my new Live Oak tree. I have a couple of these in my front yard too, but this is the big one in my back yard. It’s my favorite place to take naps and sunbathe.

See that funny post there? That’s there to support the branch that sits on top of it. Live Oaks grow very very wide and not just tall, and sometimes they can’t support their own weight, and they need our help and the help of supports in the ground. This support supports the tree, and I support the support by peeing on it, eating all of my kongs right next to it, and taking all of my outdoor naps right under it. We’re getting to be good buddies!

Next up is my fire pit. When it gets cool at night in December and January, this is where we’ll invite our human and doggie friends over to sit around looking at the twinkly hot thing they make in there. Sometimes they put food on sticks and warm it up on top of the twinkly hot thing. Once I even got lucky enough to snatch one of the sticks that had been holding a sausage, and I ate the whole thing because it was covered in delicious sausage juices!

Okay, here is my mama’s new garden, and behind that, you can see some of our oak trees in the front yard. The people who lived here before had dogs too, and they cleverly put up an extra fence to keep the dogs out, can you believe it? I guess their dogs liked digging up tomato plants to find the compost and fish emulsion buried underneath as much as I do. I guess I’ll just have to admire her herbs, peppers, tomatoes, squash, and other goodies from out here. Oh well.

And last but not least, here is my very own dog house! Now mind you, I don’t do dog houses since the regular big house is my dog house. But still, it’s pretty neat to have a dog house in my yard. I plan to keep my foster brothers and sisters in there if they misbehave. Or that’s what I’m gonna tell them to keep them in line, because I’m nasty clever like that.

I hope you enjoyed meeting my new Austin yard!

A beautiful walk with friends: our visit with HikeaBull

Another highlight of our trip to California was dropping in on the weekly HikeaBull hike in San Jose. We had corresponded with founder and organizer Lark over email in the past, but had never met in person. We were excited to go for a beautiful five-mile hike in the sunny hills of San Jose, observe the group in action, and meet some of our e-friends and blog readers.

We rarely pass up a good hike with friends, but what we were really after was the structure, policies, and techniques that make Lark’s group so successful. We dream of starting up something similar in Austin someday — just as Two Pitties in the City have done in Chicago with their new SocialBulls club. But we were so curious — are all of the dogs dog-social, or do some less socialized dogs do well also? How do they ensure that everybody is safe and happy? How do they spread the word? How many dogs come on an average hike, and do they limit the available slots? How do they determine which dogs walk where? We got all we had hoped for out of the hike, and little sunburns on our noses to boot!

The HikeaBull group meets at the trailhead each week to introduce themselves to new group members and dogs. Everybody quickly mentions whether their dog has any issues — whether it be leash reactivity, fear of strangers, a tendency to vocalize a lot, etc. This way, everybody knows what to look for and how to manage the group well. Group leaders carry special colored bandanas for any dogs who need extra space around dogs or people, which is a visual signal to other participants to respect that dog’s boundaries. Designated individuals lead the group from the front and the back to make sure everybody stays together, and communicate with walkie-talkies about any pertinent info — off leash dogs, injuries, strange turns in the trail. Whenever possible, the steadiest, most dog-social dogs lead the group, in case of wildlife, off-leash friends, or dogs on retractable leashes.

When new dogs join the group, they tend to walk wherever they feel most comfortable. But Lark said that dogs who are more nervous around big groups or are not very well socialized tend to be happiest up front. These dogs often lead at the start of their first hike, and eventually drop back into the pack over the course of the hike — or a series of hikes. This gradual integration allows dogs to socialize at their own pace, and has been hugely helpful to a number of dogs who had never been able to calmly and happily interact with dogs they don’t know. On the Sunday we attended, about 20 dogs hiked with us. During one water break, Lark counted up five or six dogs who are normally considered reactive — but all 20 dogs behaved splendidly and comfortably.

Some dogs in the group have even made friends by walking together, and now spend time playing together outside of the weekly hike!

We got to meet some real beauties on our hike, including one devastatingly handsome foster dog, one sweetie with the cutest underbite, one lovely with the most golden sunny fur, and one Lollie Wonderdog look-alike!

As a sweet bonus, we got to spend a good bit of our hike catching up with our friend Jennifer, the mastermind behind everybody’s favorite Sirius Republic collars — and her celebrity elderbelle, Chilly!

A thousand warm thank-yous to Lark, Jen, and the whole HikeaBull crew. You were so welcoming and fun that we felt like we’d been friends with each of you our whole lives. We had a blast spending our Sunday with you!

Humbled by these hearts of gold: a visit to BAD RAP

When we decided on the Bay Area as our homebase for our two weeks of travels, I knew I had to put a few dog-related visits on our agenda. BAD RAP was on the list.

Early in our work with pit bull dogs, there was a time when BAD RAP was our main (only?) source of reliable and trustworthy information on pit bull rescue, training, temperament, etc. We’ve learned volumes since then and expanded our list of good sources, mentors, and sages a lot since then, but BAD RAP is still one of our all-time favorite dog orgs. So it was with a skip in our step that we walked up the driveway to meet founders Donna and Tim and kennel manager Nancy for a sunny visit on their lawn in Oakland.

In a lot of ways the BAD RAP barn was just how I imagined it: warm, sunny, friendly, stylish, and brimming with engaging, clown-like pit bulls of all shapes and colors.

The barn, where adoptable dogs live, was built by Tim, Donna, and a team of friends.

Former BADRAP resident Teddles, Donna and Tim's Honky Tonk, and adoptable Patsy Pup

Tim with Teddles. Former Vick dog Teddles lives the good life in his forever home now, and pays occasional visits to BAD RAP to hang out with his old friends.

Adoptable Patsy Pup's personality is as big as she is tiny.

Patsy Pup clowning around.

The list of impressive things about BAD RAP is not short, but one of the programs they run that’s dearest to my heart is their compassion hold fostering. I’ve always held a special place in my heart for those who do this difficult, draining, selfless work. Occasionally — or more realistically, whenever their partner animal shelter asks — BAD RAP takes in a dog who is too old or too sick to be adopted out and is going to be euthanized. Where most others — even those with hearts of pure gold — would say no, Tim and Donna say yes. The week before we arrived, Tim and Donna said yes to this beautiful eldergal.

This sweetie was found wandering the streets, near death’s doorstep. Her initial vet check and her swollen glands suggest an illness that may not be treatable. The shelter couldn’t keep her, but BAD RAP took her in, no questions asked. When we visited, she had been with them for a few days. She had gathered a bit of strength and while we sat in the sun and chatted, she slowly investigated each grassy nook and cranny of the yard, basking in the sunshine and occasionally sauntering over for some ear scratches or to sneak us a quick tongue to the face. Possibly for the first time in her life, she was content. Last we heard, there was no word yet on the state of her health or how long she would be a guest of BAD RAP. But one thing seems clear — these last days, or weeks, or months, or years, will be golden ones.

As always, we were humbled by Donna and Tim’s depth of knowledge about policy issues. Since we visited California just before our move to Austin, we talked for a while about the political landscape in Texas for pit bull dogs. We knew that a state-wide breed ban had been proposed in the legislature last year, but since nothing moved during the once-per-two-years session, we had let our concerns dissolve. But Donna diplomatically reminded us that idly waiting for the situation to devolve would be a poor choice, and that there was plenty of proactive work that could be done to preserve — and dare I dream, improve — the status quo. We discussed some of the nuances of how socio-economic dynamics play into politics in Texas, how the strange political landscape in this unique state makes a formidable challenge for pit bull advocates, and how the steadfast discriminatory policies of one large shelter in one major city set the tone for the whole state. Such interesting stuff.

We left feeling simultaneously hopeful and discouraged. Excited for the work left to be done, but overwhelmed with the options of where to begin. It’s only fitting that we would walk up that driveway enchanted by individual dogs, and walk back down that driveway enchanted by the big picture. BAD RAP has a way of doing that to all of us.

Thanks for a great visit, Nancy, Tim, and Donna!

Foster guest posts wrap-up

Well folks, our foster superstar guest post series has come to a close. We are so proud to be among such great company on our fostering journey, and we hope that everyone enjoyed reading this thoughtful and diverse set of perspectives. 

To wrap it up, we thought it would be fair if we shared our own thoughts on fostering by completing the same interview – with ourselves – that we asked our peers to share over the past two weeks.

So here goes – our very own overly wordy and heavily commaed non-guest post about dog fostering!

Why did you begin fostering dogs? 

It’s hard to cite one clear moment, idea, or experience that led us into the world of fostering. There are a lot of practical reasons that fostering seemed like the right choice: I have always envied multi-dog families, but our life’s instability (frequent moves, career uncertainty, obsession with travel) would have made it impractical to adopt a second dog. Fostering was a good way to enjoy the satisfaction of a multi-dog home without the decade-plus commitment.

But the more significant reason was my love of the redemption narrative. I have a great appreciation for the classic story of underdog overcomes the odds and proves society wrong. I love these stories when they are about people, and I love them when they’re about animals. Bringing foster dogs into our home allows us to be a part of this narrative and witness the beautiful tale of redemption in our own home.

Who was your first foster dog?

Lollie Wonderdog was a perfect example of the redemption story. She was a three-year-old pit bull type dog who was found in a dumpster, skinny, filthy, and covered in bruises and scars. In the shelter, she didn’t seem to have much of a chance, and yet – she quickly made her way into the hearts of shelter workers and became a favorite. Her skinny physique and scarred face didn’t lead her immediately into the arms of a loving adopter though. She needed to come into our home, rest a while, and learn how to be a dog before her perfect family found her.

I cried the day Lollie Wonderdog was adopted. I was sad to see her go, but more than this I was overwhelmed with the beautiful new trajectory of this brave and loving dog’s life – a trajectory that would not have been possible without foster care. Lollie – now Lily Fireworks – lives with a delightful family and two lovely children. She goes on hikes, bike rides, and adventures, and has already mastered basic training and is working on her PhD. Her mom, a Naval nurse, dreams of having Lily certified as a therapy dog so she can work with injured veterans returning from war. We all think that Lily could speak very powerfully to others who have been through hard times and have a long road ahead.

What has kept you going? 

The need keeps us engaged, and the simple fact that we have the time and ability and we know it makes a world of difference for the dogs involved. But there’s more. For some people, fostering is addicting. I am one of those people. I am not sure which I love more: making a great match, or picking out and getting to know a new foster dog. With each dog we successfully care for, we learn more about dog behavior, personalities, integration, etc. With each one, we feel more confident in our ability to give the dog what it needs and place it in an appropriate home. It’s a self-reinforcing loop.

Why do you think fostering is important?

Our guest bloggers over the past week and a half have already stated so eloquently why fostering is important, so there is little for me to elaborate on. We wrote a while back about all of the dogs who would not have had a chance without foster care, and we think these anecdotes speak better than any broad explanations ever could.

What is the most rewarding part of fostering to you?

An extra warm little body to snuggle and a new honey-brown set of eyes to look adoringly at us is a pretty big reward in itself. Other than the obvious benefit of caring for a precious life that may have otherwise met a sad end, we experience a thrill every time a new person tells us that our work and our dogs have made them confront their prior assumptions about pit bulls and dogs who look like them. Our foster dogs have changed minds – including the minds of some of the kind families who have adopted them or their sheltermates. There is no better reward to us than that.

What is the hardest part?

I have recently become self-conscious about sugar-coating the fostering experience. From time to time, I get an email from a big-hearted individual who feels all alone in the frustrating, scary, or hopeless situations they have found themselves in with a foster dog. It’s not all fun and sunshine — we have been there too.

We once had to euthanize a foster dog due to troublesome behavioral and possible neurological issues. That was devastating.

We once had a foster who was not compatible with our own Chick, and we had to live for months in a segregated house, swapping dogs back and forth using baby gates. This dog could not be left in our yard because of its tendency to scale the fence and run off after squirrels, so our Chick’s life quality diminished for the time that this foster was with us. These months were trying for all of us.

We once had a foster who fit so seamlessly into our home and who our Chick adored with such intensity that we found ourselves questioning our decision to not adopt ourselves. That was heartbreaking as well.

Our own Chick is not 100% awesome with other dogs, and introducing him to other dogs takes time, patience, and finesse. With almost every foster, we have lived for days or weeks in a state of constant vigilance, monitoring behavior like a hawk, using baby gates all day long, and slowly, slowly building a positive relationship. This is always exhausting and hard.

Have you experienced any benefits that you hadn’t expected before you began?

The community we have developed since we began fostering – both online through our blog and in person through our local rescues and shelters – has been indescribable. Working with dogs has allowed us to meet and make friends with people who we would not have met through other channels of our life, and we feel nourished by these relationships in a way that we had not expected.

Keeping an online journal of our fostering experience – our blog – has been even more satisfying. The positive feedback that is so generously showered upon us by friends and strangers compels us to keep going and do more when we otherwise may not have had the strength. Inquiries from individuals who consider us to be knowledgeable give us little boosts of confidence when we are feeling uncertain. Generous advice from our own mentors and peers helps us always feel supported and loved.

What advice do you have for individuals considering fostering for the first time?

I could write several essays on this question alone. In fact, I probably will do this in coming months. But a few thoughts to start with:

First, look honestly at your life and think about what you can handle – how much time do you have? How confident are you in your ability to work with different kinds of dogs with different types of needs? What sacrifices are you willing to make? What do you need out of this experience to feel the fulfillment that will feed your desire to do it again? There are no right answers to these questions, but taking on too much can be exhausting and discouraging, while taking on too little can feel boring and under-engaging.

Second, take the time to get to know various shelters and rescue groups in your area, and find one that is compatible with your needs and abilities. If you are worried about money, find a group that will pay for food and basic supplies. If you are not confident of your training abilities, find a group that will hook you up with at trainer or take the time to match you with a dog who won’t be above your skill level. If you desperately want to take part in the final adoption decision, make sure the group you select will allow you to play a role.

And third, consider who your support network will be. We have found ours through our fellow dog-fostering friends around the country and through our blog. Many people find theirs through their own rescue in their own town. Others yet find a network through other means. There is no right answer here either, but fostering is hard work, and trying to do it in isolation can be exhausting. You will be grateful for your peers and mentors, and you will cherish those relationships more than you realize.

Who was your most memorable foster and why?

Not too long ago, we pulled an overweight, elderly pit bull dog who had a serious neurological condition and was not socialized with other animals. Something about her sweet little face and her pathetic look of resignation in her kennel compelled us to bring Little Zee home despite (or perhaps due to) her poor odds. We thought it would take us months to get her adopted. Two weeks later, we had three strong applications for her adoption.

This experience knocked us off our feet. We were tentatively confident about our ability to show Zee for the wonderful family pet she could be, but we thought that finding the family who would appreciate her qualities would be like finding a needle in a haystack. We braced ourselves for months or longer of fostering her. Boy, were we wrong. We vastly underestimated the appeal of a dog like Zee. She is an elderbull with a neuro condition and needs to be carried up and down stairs, sure. But she is also among the sweetest, cuddliest dogs we’ve ever come across with the softest fur, the most beautiful eyes, and the most vigorous passion for napping. Turns out a lot of people are looking for a dog like Zee.

Many things about fostering Little Zee were memorable, but what we will always be thankful for is the powerful reminder she gave us that we should never underestimate a dog’s potential based on its stats. Dogs are amazing beings and will never cease to impress me.

What is your favorite foster adoption story?

When we found Little Zee a home, we were just three weeks away from our move across the country. We knew we couldn’t bring home a new foster until after we get settled in Austin. But the next day, I defiantly came home with Curious Georgia in the passenger seat of my car. It was crazy. But it was perfect.

Georgia wasn’t doing well at the shelter, and even by taking her for just two weeks, we were buying her some time and opening up a spot for another shelter dog to go into foster care. What came next seemed like a perfectly orchestrated symphony: Curious Georgia and I went strolling in our neighborhood and ran into ML, one of the wonderful people who had initially been interested in Zee. ML and Georgia hit it off like I’ve never seen: within two minutes of meeting, Georgia was snuggled comfortably in ML’s lap, face pressing gently against ML’s shoulder.

It was love. Foster dad and I watched in awe – fingers and toes crossed – while ML and her hunny sent love letters to Georgia, glided flawlessly through the application and adoption process, and charmed her socks off (and mine) at her home visit. Even their kitties approved. Just five days before we left for Texas, Georgia was adopted.

I’ve heard a lot of great stories that illustrate why even a seemingly insignificant effort can make a world of difference. Stories are stories, but every time I look into Georgia’s honey eyes, I will be reminded of how big a difference just that little extra effort can make.

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