A new start and a new name

After we saw some of the heartfelt, emotional reactions to our last post, we promised that the next one would be more silly and lighthearted. Don’t lead yourself to believe, though, that silly and lighthearted mean unimportant, because this is serious business.

After much deliberation, Lollie Wonderdog’s new family decided to gift her a new name to go along with her new charmed life. Lollie’s new human siblings, 8 and 9-year-old Olivia and Isaiah, were major contributors to this important decision, and came up with a few strong contenders.

Names considered, but not ultimately chosen: Firecracker Leonard and Lily Frankfurter.

No, in the end, Lollie’s new family selected a name that conveys her natural beauty and her nice-smelling nature, as well as her universal likeability and her sparkly personality that dazzles all. As a bonus, her new name has a similar sound and feel to her old name, which will make it easy for her to learn.

So, without further delay, we proudly present to you . . . .

A letter to Lollie in her new home

Dear Lollie Wonderdog,

Thank you for writing us to tell us that you got home safely, went for a nice walk with your new people, and got snuggled in to your new gigantic crate. We are happy to know that like your new mom, who is a real nurse, you have a real knack for treating illness, and you gave your new brother Isaiah lots of licks to help with his fever.

We did think about you a lot after you left last night (I only cried a little, and I hope your new mom’s eyes stopped watering too after you guys drove away). We sat on the front porch to take in the unseasonably warm weather and have a beer, and wondered what you thought of your new neighborhood and your new people. We know it’s going to be an adjustment, and it’ll probably take you a few weeks to really feel “at home” — even though you are a wonderdog– it took you even longer with us.

I hope you remember the things we talked about before you left. Please try not to jump up on your new human brother and sister and knock them over. We know it is hard to learn a different way (other than the natural dog way) to greet people and show them you like them, but please try. When you’re walking on a leash, please try not to pull, even if you discover that pulling doesn’t make the walk stop and stand still until you quit it. The treats will come more quickly if you walk like the good girl that you are. I promise. When you are feeling restless, please try to take to an activity rather than spit-cleaning your new mom’s boots or pacing endlessly around. You found a lot of satisfaction in solving puzzles, playing fetch, and extracting treats and peanut butter from kongs and other toys, so remember to grab a nylabone when you get bored. And while we’re on the subject, please try to keep straight which objects are for chewing and which objects are not for dogs. I know sometimes it’s confusing — especially with firewood and shoelaces — but listen to your new family. They will help you learn.

Lollie, you pass through the world with a carefree grace that I have rarely seen in a dog, and have never seen in a person. Your ability to make everybody like you and the whole world smile, paired with your ability to overcome anything with a wagging tail and a flapping tongue is truly remarkable. I hope you don’t remember the specifics of how you ended up in that dumpster in September, bruised, half-starved, and filthy, but I hope you always remember that you have overcome so much — and come out a shooting star. An eternal firework.

Lollie Wonderdog, it’s an amazing thing when a sad little dog can teach a bunch of humans so much about perseverance, patience, and overcoming the odds. You have touched our lives forever, and we love you very much.

With boundless affection,

Fostermom and Fosterdad (and Chick, but his affection has very clear boundaries)

Lollie and her new sister Olivia, ready to go home

Lollie: ADOPTED!

Lollie Wonderdog has been adopted!

This very evening, Miss Wonderdog will be picked up from our home by her very own perfect, wonderful, dream-come-true forever family. Not only do the kids want to share their lentils with her (a dream come true in itself for Lolita), but we can tell just by meeting and being around this foursome that they are going to love Lollie so well.

It has been a rollercoaster ride for me and Fosterdad and we will blog about it next week after we get control over our emotions again, but I can tell you already that we are feeling a lot of things at once — joy, sadness, exhilaration, satisfaction, anticipation . . .

For now, we just want to share with your our “family portraits” from our last evening with Miss Lollie — our beautiful, our ridiculous, our charming, our fabulous, our first, our unforgettable foster dog. I can’t tell which of these I love more. The one where the dogs are being so themselves, with Lollie launching a tongue attack while I’m not paying attention while Chick is being all perfect and stoic, or the one where Chick and I are posing for the camera and Fosterdad and Lollie are both, inexplicably, posing for something else– something out in space, apparently. You decide.

photo by the talented Dave "Santa" P

photo by the talented Dave "Santa" P

But in the meantime, let’s hear a nice round of applause for Miss Lollie Wonderdog, proud owner of a brand new home. And stay tuned next week for her forever family’s incredibly touching account of how they came to know Lollie, the big reveal of Lollie’s new name, and much, much more!

everything is illuminated

The other night we were sitting around in the den, like we often do, and Lollie was checking out some of our books, like she often does, trying to decide what to read. When she is extra-concentrating, she likes to go into an intellectual play-bow while she thinks.

First she contemplated the blue books . . .Hmm, some Poe? Maybe some Murakami? Perhaps my friend MMB’s short story?

Then she contemplated the orange and red books . . .Ooh, I do like that Michael Chabon, and I heard the new McCann is good too . . .

But then she surprised herself, and selected a book — a favorite of her foster mom and dad’s — that she hadn’t even planned on reading: Jonathan Safran Foer’s Everything is Illuminated.Smells like a good read to me . . .

She is pretty enthralled with the story of Shapka, Jonathan, and Sammy Davis Junior-Junior (the seeing-eye bitch), but promises that once she’s done reading this book — tomorrow — she will return her attention to her fans, and share the next chapter in her foster adventure.


Adoptable Lollie Wonderdog came home from “camp” tonight and almost immediately scurried off to the nearest dog bed to fall deeply and profoundly asleep. We had been away over the weekend, so she spent four nights at her vet’s kennel. The facility is no fancy digs, but everybody there seems to love our sweet girl, and every time she comes home she is freshly washed and completely exhausted.

Stay tuned tomorrow, for the one in which everything is illuminated.

a (human) suitor for Lollie

The ebbs and flows of interest in sweet Lollie Wonderdog are like a Central Texas thunderstorm in the middle of a long, dry spell in summer. Miss Wonderdog had been living with us for three full months without a single peep of real interest in adopting her. Then, all of a sudden when we were beginning to wonder what was wrong with the world for not fighting over who got to bring home this sweet, adorable dog, we received an inquiry. And then another. And then three more. One more. In all, eleven inquiries in twelve days. A flash flood. And out of nowhere.

Hello suitor, are you my One?

After we got our bearings, we dutifully corresponded with many people who seemed like such great potential Lollie companions, but many people struck out based on circumstances: no past dog ownership experience. Cats or tiny dogs in the house. Babies. Renting apartments that don’t allow bully breeds (let’s not get started on that one).

Some others didn’t strike out, but fosterdad and I took an immediate liking to one family in particular– the first family, in fact. Here are the pertinent facts about them:

  1. Two active parents and two cute kiddos live a few miles from us, own a house with a big fenced yard, and are looking for a “new family member” after losing their previous dog to a sad illness last fall (key criteria for adopting Lollie: active family, space, prior dog experience, plenty of love to give).
  2. Mom has stated that she will “gladly” send follow ups and pictures for her adoring fan club—of which she was a member via the blog (willingness to send periodic pics and updates is on the unofficial criteria list).
  3. The other night at dinner, daughter “O” was careful to clarify that Lollie’s foster mommy and daddy said she could not eat grapes, onions and chocolate, but she thinks that if Lollie becomes their dog, it would be okay if she helped “O” finish her lentils. She wanted to check with us to see what we think (Lollie is the fosterchild of two vegetarians and loves lentils).

There are probably other facts about this family that I could share, but we just wanted to offer a little teaser. Stay tuned later this week, when we reveal whether this family is Lollie’s One . . .

lollie’s web hits

Sometimes I like to look at the stats for Lollie’s blog to see what people are searching for when they find us. Not surprisingly, most of the hits are looking for our blog by name: Loveandaleash / Love and a six foot leash / Lollie leash blog / Lollie the wonderdog blog

There are also quite a few hits from people who are searching for Lollie by her characteristics: Adopt lollie / Lollie snuggly pit bull / Lolita pit bull foster Montgomery county / Lollie wonderdog / Lollie dog foster dog / Lollie headstand dog.

Sometimes, people stumble upon us when they are looking for our friends: Crush Holyoke photos / Two pitties in the city / Handsome dan / Cori o’holleran bugle

Other times, people find Lollie while searching for other dog related things: Dog in cone / Dog bath / Sleeping / dog santa / Animal with bandage / Dogs eating treats / Dog photography / Chase it dog toys

Then, there are the funny ones. Some are searches that I really hope are looking for Lollie Wonderdog, but I can’t be sure: Lollie the carpenter / Dog headstand to pet / Cute pet me headstand

Some are much more odd and hilarious: Chewy lollie / Incredible hulk and his girlfriend / Hulk big legs picture / Girl drop dead gorgeous / Extra hugs / Tiny waist / Tiny wasit big / Big ribs small waist / Small waist big butt (I hope you are appreciating this pattern forming)

And finally, there are the ones that make me really the happiest- the ones that I hope are influencing perceptions and behaviors: What is trainability / Breakthrough new friends / Advantages of adopting a fostered dog / What is adoptability / Pit bulls / Pit bull trainability

Pit bull trainability, by the way, is this:



you’ve come a long way, sweet girl

I love rifling through old pictures, so last night I spent a little time looking back on my archive of Lollie Wonderdog’s photos. I missed her 100 day anniversary with us (today is day 106), but better late than never, right?

I got a little emotional when I found this photo of sad little Lollie on her first week with us. Look at the sores and irritation on her arms. All the thin and missing fur. Look at her brownish yellow tail (this was after a thorough bath at our house and at least six at the shelter). Her pink, irritated nipples. Her red, irritated eyes. Notice her uncertain, defeated expression.

That was day five for Lollie at Casa Fosterfamily, and the following picture was taken 100 days later, last night. I think the photo speaks for itself.

For more info on adopting Lollie, contact us at DCpetographer [at] gmail [dot] com or 301-520-7123.

why we won’t adopt Lollie

Lollie’s friends and fans offer a lot of questions and suggestions like “you seem so happy together, don’t you think you should just adopt her?” And I admit, this seems very logical. Especially when her silly little booty is snuggled up to my hip as I type, she snores softly at my side, and she occasionally stirs—not enough to entirely wake up, but enough for her eyes to flutter and for her tongue to give my pant leg a few heartfelt licks. As much as we are going to miss this sweet girl when she goes, there are a few key reasons that she won’t be our foreverdog.

"this may not look cozy to you, but i'm quite comfy here"

1. Every pit bull we adopt out is a pit bull that won’t be euthanized in a shelter. I read recently that more than half of dogs euthanized in shelters due to overcrowding are pit bulls, and yet pit bulls comprise only about five percent of the U.S. dog population. Sure, some sweethearts like Lollie would have been adopted from the shelter anyway, but many wouldn’t. Many fabulous potential dog owners wouldn’t look twice at Lollie in the shelter—scratches on her face, yellowed from the time she spent in a dumpster before her rescue, pacing and jumping from nerves and boredom. Some of those dog owners might be overwhelmed by a shelter and choose to buy a dog from a breeder instead, or they might adopt one out of a foster home—a calmer, more controlled environment. People who would never think to adopt a pit bull see us with Lollie—a non-controversial, professional, young duo—and can suddenly picture her in their life, too. These are the connections we can help people make while we continue to foster dogs. But if we keep Lollie, our foster days are over and we won’t be saving any dogs from euthanasia.

2. Every pit bull we adopt out will cultivate at least one dedicated pit bull advocate. If it’s true what some advocates say, that most people who are scared of pit bulls are just people who have never met one in person, then it must follow that most people who are not dedicated pit bull advocates are just people who have never owned one. Welcome one of these sweets into your home and into your heart, and you will have no choice but to fall, like so many others have.  When I met my own wonderdog Chick, I was not looking for a pit bull. I wasn’t even looking for a dog. I tell people that I didn’t pick him—he picked me. And before I realized what was happening to me, Chick quickly converted me into an advocate for the breed group. And between the often unfairly negative public image, the large number of dogs that fall into (or are created by) the wrong hands, and the overwhelming population of pits in shelters, this breed group could use more responsible, loving advocates in its corner. I have no doubt that the lucky family who adopts Lollie will quickly fall not just for her, but for her brothers and sisters, too.

3. In the end, Chick is king. Apparently Lollie’s ample natural charms are more effective on people (in fact on every person she meets) than they are on her dear foster brother Chick. Over the few months Lollie has been living with us the two wonderdogs have come to an agreement in which they mutually tolerate and respect each other, but they are not best friends. If we were ever to adopt a second dog, we would want the new dog and Chick to be best buds. Fortunately or unfortunately, these two lovelies just don’t have the chemistry to be BFF, and that’s that. After all, we all know who is boss around here.

"i'm going to close my eyes and count to three, and her forever family better be here already"

For more info on adopting Lollie, contact us at DCpetographer [at] gmail [dot] com or 301-520-7123.

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