winning smile

When fostermom was in middle school, she threw a great big hissy fit every time her parents brought up the idea of getting braces. With time, they backed down in exasperation. And so, she spent the next half decade developing and perfecting an awkward closed-lipped smile that wouldn’t reveal the gap between her two front teeth.

Some folks have asked us– why doesn’t Lollie ever smile in photos? We think it’s not a matter of tooth gappiness (her teeth are very cute and nicely aligned), but rather of good old middle school self confidence issues. When she came into our home, it took several days for her to look at us at all, and nearly a month for her to hold eye contact for more than a few seconds. After six weeks she was readily approaching us with her tail high and relaxed and her gait steady. Now–after two months–she confidently bounds over when called. A friend she met during her early shelter days came to visit over the weekend was amazed at the transformation– not only in her healthier body weight and her thicker shinier coat, but in the more self-assured way she carries herself and actively seeks out affection and play.

And the smile? It’s started to emerge too.

For more information about adopting Lollie, contact us at or 301-520-7123.

Adoptability factor 2: Trainability

This is the second in our new weekly series on what makes sweet Lollie Wonderdog so very adoptable. Although there are endless adoptability factors we could list, we are limiting this to a weekly series so we don’t overwhelm you too much.

Adoptability factor archive: 1: Snugglability

Lollie is an extremely fast learner. If you have been following her blog for some time, you have seen the cute videos about how quickly she picked up “sit” and “down,” and read my bragging about teaching her “shake” in about three minutes.

Her trainability also manifests itself in more subtle ways: in how she quickly picks up cues, learns routines, and figures out the expected behavior. I believe some people refer to this as intelligence. She hadn’t been with us more than a few days when she learned that dogs are supposed to sit to have their harness and leash clipped on. It took but a few walks to figure out that doing a slolom course on the sidewalk was not the preferred walking method. One of fostermom’s cooking sessions was enough for Lola to know that the kitchen is a good place to hover when things start to smell yummy. As you may have witnessed a few weeks back, Lol advanced quickly from mistrust to Super Jedi Master of the kong puzzle challenge.

 Yesterday we introduced a new challenge to Lollie—the very difficult command we call “wait.”  She totally dominated it.




creature of habit

Recently I read that dogs love nothing more than getting into a rut. There is a calm and secure feeling in knowing when we get up, when the people come home, when we eat dinner, and when we chase squirrels. Rut, rut, rut. There is no danger, and no insecurity.

Last night we celebrated a big milestone. When Lolita and I came home from the evening walk and went to her room, she voluntarily entered her crate and sat down, calmly waiting for me to place her dinner bowl in the corner so she could dine on her evening snack.

happy snacker

Before this point it had always taken a gentle nudge to get her in there, and sometimes some serious antics. Try to picture a grown woman jumping around on a bed holding, and pretending to chew on, a squeaky toy. She leaps through the air and theatrically tosses the toy to the back of the crate, desperately hoping that Wonderdog #2 will be fooled by her charade and bound into the crate after the orange stuffed toy. All the while, she is talking animatedly to Wonderdog #2 in the high-pitched, excited voice generally reserved for cartoon characters and over-enthusiastic parents. More often than not, the woman is wearing rainbow-striped leg warmers and a sweater with holes in it and wondering if perhaps a red cape would help the situation, or at the very least, look good with her outfit. And more often than not, Wonderdog #2 is sitting calmly on a pillow at the head of the bed, wondering what in the world this woman is doing.

In any case, last night we donned our rainbow leggings and celebrated the fact that a routine is emerging, and it’s plain to see that it makes Lola feel relaxed, happy, and secure.

Lolita, Queen of Routine

the ever-moving subject

Lolita is not a hyper dog, but she is constantly in motion. Maybe it’s because of all the time she spent at the shelter. Her greatest passions right now are the free-range rabbit next door, Max, and the squirrels that trapeze across the canopy of oaks in our yard. To maintain her rabbit fix and her squirrel fix, she patrols constantly while outdoors, darting from Max to squirrels and back again, never staying still for more than a millisecond.
This makes her exceptionally challenging to photograph. Whereas resident wonderdog Chick is a natural in front of the lens, Lollie refuses to be contained. Our attempted photo session this afternoon produced this dazzling collection:


Clearly, a long way to go before she develops Chick’s modeling skills:

my left side is my best side . . . as is my right side.

Tonight I explained to Chick that Lolita’s photophilic development is one of his key roles as her mentor. He sagely nodded his Cone of Shame and went back to sleep.

toys: a strange novelty

Date: last night. Location: my suite. Feeling: confused . . . i’m in love with a worm!

We have reason to believe that Lolita has never played with toys before. Balls are of no interest unless they’re moving, but the raised arm that has to throw them is scary. Same goes for sticks– even scarier. Stuffed animals are just downright confusing.

After what seemed like eons of encouragement, we finally got her to play with the blue worm/hotdog toy we bought her the day we brought her home. She nibbled on it tenderly, and initially recoiled in fear when it produced a surprising little squeak. Progress was made, but she seems to prefer just holding it lovingly than actually playing with it– as though she’s afraid she might hurt it.

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