Petfinder: The Greatest Thing Since Milkbones

Today is Adopt the Internet Day!

Petfinder Adopt-the-Internet Day

Petfinder.com has been helping needy animals find homes for 15 years… as of today. This is a great organization that has totally revolutionized the way we find our new furry family members. I was excited to participate in this event because this website truly changed my life three years ago, when I entered the search item “Boston Terrier” and found MidAmerica Boston Terrier Rescue via Petfinder.com. Since then, I’ve found my calling in animal welfare, I’ve found the best (read: most challenging and rewarding) furry companion ever, and we’ve had almost 40 foster dogs through our home.

Petfinder.com helped give my life more meaning. Think what they can do for you! Help us adopt the internet today by letting your friends and family know about Petfinder.com. Here are a few ideas from the Petfinder.com website about how you can help others find out about Petfinder:

  • Donate your Facebook status and photo to an adoptable Petfinder pet. Simply replace your photo with one from the Adopt-the-Internet All-Stars gallery and post one of these messages:
    • More than 320,000 pets are waiting for homes on Petfinder.com. Help Petfinder Adopt the Internet today and find forever homes for as many as possible!
    • I adopted my pet from Petfinder and now I want to help get this pet adopted! If you want to help pets in need of forever homes, please repost this!
  • Share an adoptable Petfinder pet on Twitter with the hashtag #adopttheinternet.

Olive Having Fosters In The House

We’re back in action! Now that things have finally settled down after a wonderful trip to Vegas for the Best Friends No More Homeless Pets conference, we’re ready to foster more dogs.

If you’re new to this blog, check out Bill’s story (he’s my foster-turned-forever Boston Terrier who inspired me to get involved with animal welfare) to get a background on how we became foster parents and ended up starting Happy Tails Books. It’s a pretty crazy story. Most relevant to this blog, is that since we adopted Bill, our 2nd foster, we’ve had 29 more foster dogs through our home. And this week we got a new one.

Olive - MidAmerica Boston Terrier Rescue Foster Dog #32
Olive - MidAmerica Boston Terrier Rescue Foster Dog #32

Olive languished in a puppy mill for the first five years of her life. After the mill was raided by the ASPCA (I think) back in March, Olive came into foster care with MidAmerica Boston Terrier Rescue. I’m pretty sure she actually had a litter in foster care before she was spayed, but I’m not positive. All I know is that her nipples are huge, and this poor little girl has probably had at least seven or eight litters in her life. She’s only about 14 pounds – being a puppy mill breeder must have just been awful for her. (Honestly, who wouldn’t life in a chicken-wire cage be awful for, though?) Oh, and by the way, she needed an eye removed because of an unattended injury.

Olive was adopted out and returned. She went to someone with no other pets, and it turned out another dog was important for Olive’s well-being. Then she was shipped to a family in Colorado from her foster home in Nebraska, which is when I got involved. That family, actually good friends of ours, was concerned with Olive’s initial behavior. Olive and Lucy, another one of my previous foster dogs, didn’t exactly hit it off, and Olive bit my friend when he tried to take a toy away from her. Because they have a small child, they were very concerned about the biting, so I offered to foster her and help them find a different dog.

Olive came to our house and thrived. Her and Bill had a great time together, and Dylan (my husband) and I just loved her. She’s sweet, funny (especially when she pulls herself across the floor on her belly like a sand shark), and pretty easy to hang out with.

After a few days, my friends though they might like to give it one more try. We had a play date, and it went much better. I think that when they met Olive the first time, she was really stressed out from having been in a car for eight hours, and then their dog Lucy overwhelmed her with her “butt-spin-attack” play technique. This time around, with Bill as the referee, the girls actually romped and played for a while. Nobody got bit, and my friends were convinced she could be a good fit. I’ll find out tomorrow if they were right…stay tuned!

Alumni Update – Tahoe

From Sarah Guenther – author of a story in Lost Souls: Found! Inspiring Stories About Labrador Retrievers:

At the time of publishing, Tahoe had just recently turned 2. At the time of this writing today, Tahoe is now happy, contented, confident and quite the little ham at age 3 1/2. His biggest milestones have been first, learning not to bark at the innocent people walking by our house and second, he has learned to walk off leash with us when we go to the beach. He is the silliest boy we have ever seen. When he’s in the mood for some dog love, he jumps on the coffee table, blocking my view of the TV. Then he gives me a big tail wag and throws his body onto my lap where he rubs his nose into my armpits, snorting and emitting funny playful wookie sounds. He’s become extremely close with his big black lab brother, Bettis, who complies with his frequent requests for a good ear licking. His yellow lab sister, Huck, has become his mother figure and she has helped him master the art of free-style doggie wrestling and taught him how to unstuff a pillow in record time. Every moment that passes, we are continually amazed at Tahoe’s emotional growth. He’s definitely settled into life with us and he has made it quite clear to us that he loves his forever family.

The Easiest Goodbye


People often ask me if its hard to say goodbye to foster dogs. Sometimes it is very difficult, like in the case of Camille, who was a sweet, potty-trained dog that Bill adored. Other times the parting is much easier because a)I found the dog annoying for whatever reason, c) Bill and the dog didn’t really hit it off, or c)the dog seems so happy to be going along to his or her new parents.

The latter is the case with Charlie, a rescue return who I only had for a few days. Charlie was adopted out to an elderly man, and within a year, the man felt he could no longer care for Charlie. (I wasn’t the one who facilitated this adoption, but lesson learned – young, energetic foster dogs should not go to elderly people. There are plenty of older dogs needing homes who would have been a better fit.)

Bill didn’t like Charlie because Charlie, like JayJay before him, made crazy growling noises while playing. Although Charlie is fairly dog-aggressive, Bill was the aggressor in our home this time! I had to break them up multiple times.

Even if Bill doesn’t like Charlie, we do. He’s potty trained, smart, and loving toward people. I was contacted by a man who had never had a dog before but felt he was ready for one now. He seemed like the perfect fit for Charlie, since he lives in an apartment, has no other dogs, and would be walking Charlie on a leash, so after a home inspection, this man was approved and ready to pick Charlie up.

We met last night, and Charlie jumped into his lap and licked his face immediately. After filling out the adoption contract, all he did was stand up, start walking, and say, “Charlie, come.” Side by side, no leash necessary (we were in a large, safe field), Charlie and his new dog walked into the sunset, got in the car, and drove off to their new life together. It couldn’t have been a more peaceful and happy transition.

Jay Jay Takes a Dip

Jay Jay is toy-obsessed, to put it lightly. You could get that dog to serve you his dinner if you hold a toy over your plate. The other night he proved just how toy-obsessed he was when we were in the hot tub. As we sat there, enjoying a “relaxing” evening, Jay Jay continuously threw his toy into the hot tub (it’s above ground, mind you, and on his tippie-toes he can just put his head over the edge to look in). My husband finally balanced it on the edge of the turned up cover, so what did Jay Jay do? He jumped up, balanced on the edge of the slippery hot tub, and grabbed the toy off the cover.

From there it was a free-for-all. Jay Jay kept throwing the toy into the hot tub, and finally we decided that if he wanted to throw it in, he had to get it out himself. And…guess what? He did! Occasionally he could jump up and get his mouth around it, but more than once he actually dove right in! Check out the video below (it’s hard to see, but if you tilt your screen right, you should be able to get the picture!).

Oh, Jay Jay! You are one funny dog! We’ll miss you now that you’ve gone on to your new home, but at least all of our river rocks are now back where they belong – in the yard – and our guest bed is safe from your “inappropriate advances.” 🙂

Rock Star


It’s been a week that we’ve had our newest foster dog, JayJay. He’s been sick, so I haven’t been able to give him as much exercise as I’d like, but he seems to stay entertained. His favorite thing is to come in from the yard with a big rock propping open his mouth. If we’re out hiking, he’ll carry one the whole way. I can’t imagine rocks are good for his teeth, but I can’t watch him every second of the day. I’ve provided him with plenty of bones and toys, but they don’t seem to hold the appeal rocks do. As I write, he’s desperately trying to get to a rock we’ve hidden on the counter top – nothing gets past this dog when it comes to toys and rocks!

We have to limit his toy time because his other favorite thing, besides jamming his mouth open with rocks, is putting a toy on your leg and gnawing on it.

Jayjay is actually a very sweet dog who will do anything to please you…he’s just a little misguided right now about what is actually “pleasing.” He’s a good sleeper, he likes his crate, and he’d never intentionally harm a fly (although he is the size of a moose – okay, a very small baby moose – and when he steps on my toe or slams his giant head into my chin, it hurts!). Even when Bill snaps at him for getting too personal, JayJay just screams like a girl and runs away. This guy is truly a character whom we won’t forget.

Bye, Bye, Buster…Hello, Crazy Dog!

Just when I thought things were going to settle down…

Buster was adopted a week ago. Honestly, it wasn’t really a match made in heaven, but it wasn’t too bad, either. It was an elderly couple who promises to take him everywhere with them. They drove three hours to come meet him. He growled and snapped at the wife, and they still wanted to take him home! The thing I wasn’t thrilled about was that they didn’t seem committed at all to training him, which I always think is sad. Dogs are smart and they like learning, and Buster was no exception. In fact, he was very smart and motivated to learn! The man said, “I don’t like dogs that are overly obedient. I want them to have their own personalities.” He also seemed like more of the old-school kind or disciplinarian.

I explained to him how to appropriately discipline a Boston Terrier (with a firm “no” or “ah-ah” and a redirection into a better action). I’m not sure he got it. Anyway, the good news is I did get an email from them the other day saying that it only took Buster a few minutes to warm up to their son. Please pray for Buster – I hope they give him a good life.

So I took a week off from fostering because a)Buster was hard, b)My mom, dad, and I were performing in a circus, and c)My sister, niece, nephew, and a few friends were coming into town. It was a hectic week, and of course the rescued wrote twice asking if I could take in a dog. The second time I caved, and on Tuesday JayJay arrived. This dog is HIGH STRUNG!!!! (Really, his behavior warrants capital letters and the Boston Terrier owners’ ever-so-loved multiple exclamation points!!!)

Despite the fact that he’s got green snot coming out of his nose, the dog doesn’t stop moving. My nephew was making a joke earlier in the day about a friend who makes “gnaw-gnaw-gnaw” noises when he eats, and then JayJay did just that! It was really funny. He gets very interested in the toys he’s playing with – growling and whining like a maniac while trying to ground whatever it is into your leg. Bill really doesn’t like him because he’s always trying to hump him, and Bill prefers to be the humper. I think Bill actually bit him because after a little scuffle, JayJay came to me bleeding!

On the upside, JayJay is a very tail-waggy, loving, sweet dog who is potty trained. He’s a moose, too – his head is easily twice the size of Bill’s, and even though his ribs are poking out, he weighs 31 pounds (compared to Bill at a paltry 20 pounds!). I think a healthy weight for him would be closer to 34 pounds.

Yay for parents! They’re watching JayJay for now, so I can get some work done and Bill can sleep. On Saturday they’re taking the dogs so Dylan and I can fly a dog named Spud to his new home in Grand Junction, CO. We’ve never flown that route before so cross your fingers for us! Spud’s new owner is very excited to get her new dog, and we’re more than happy to deliver him. Oh, and I’ve been taking landing lessons, so even if I have to punch Dylan in the eye and knock him out on the flight, we should be good to land (just don’t ask me to taxi – I almost ran into the hangar last week!)

Bill Saves the Car

Dogs really do hear and smell things before humans can. I experienced this firsthand yesterday. We had only made it about a mile from my house on our way to go hiking (yes, I drive so I can go walk, I know it’s weird) when I heard a sound like I had hit a pothole. I didn’t think much about it, as being the awful driver I am, it’s completely normal to hear those kinds of sounds. However, about five seconds later, Bill started acting crazy, like he couldn’t decide if he should be in the front seat or back seat. (I know where he is supposed to be, but in the car is the only time he really wants to be near me! Don’t try this at home!)

I thought, “Huh. Bill’s being weird. Oh well, he’s always weird.” We went to the next light, and as I started accelerating, I heard a new noise that sounded and felt like we were dragging something. I pulled into a parking lot to check out what was going on, but didn’t see anything. None of my check engine lights were on, and no, the e-brake wasn’t on either. Things were getting really weird, so I called my mom to come get me and check out my car. After all, she’s a motorhead. She would know what to do.

While I waited, I called Hoshi Motors, my favorite Boulder Japanese car repair shop. They thought maybe it was the brakes and suggested I try limping over to them since I was only a few blocks away. Well, I made it about a half a block before smelling burning. Again I pulled over and called Hoshi, who promptly sent this great buy Brandon out to see what was going on.

When Brandon arrived, he couldn’t believe what he saw. An engine mounting bolt had completely snapped in half and my engine had shifted back causing all sorts of things to burn and grind. It was bizarre because my car is fairly new, and you don’t expect that kind of stuff from Honda. Lucky I wasn’t on the highway!


(That big hole in the picture is where a bolt is supposed to be, and that belt is what was grinding through the metal where the bolts went.)

Anyway, we were able to get the car towed to Honda, where the repair was covered under my powertrain warranty. Disaster averted, mom and I headed off to the dogpark in her car with the dogs. Way to go, Bill! Thanks for saving my car!

A Whole New Dog


I guess absence really does make the heart grow fonder! I left for a few hours this morning, and when I got home, Buster was so excited that he washed my face for me for about five minutes. His enthusiasm for my homecoming could only be topped by my previous disabled foster dog, Max. (Remember him? Scroll back about two months.) Anyway, Buster is snoozing much more comfortably on the couch next to me and looking completely content. He’s doing fine with the cats and with Bill, and I haven’t seen any signs of aggression today. I think he was just insanely stressed yesterday having been separated from his doggie mom and dad for the first time ever. I’m glad he’s coming around. He’s turning into a very sweet dog.

The Stand-Off Ends


Foster #29, Buster, made quite a first impression. He was surrendered, along with his mom and dad, to our rescue yesterday. A woman who, to put it politely, seemed to be a little “off,” left him and his dad with one of our new fosters and left the female with another. The new foster then brought him to me.

During our phone conversation, the new foster told me that he took a while to get out of the car and introduce himself to her, but other than that he seemed fine. Uh…so I figured, he sounds okay, I guess I don’t need to bring a crate when I meet her to get him. I had Bill, my mom, and my husband in the car with me.

When the new foster pulled in, she opened the car door, and I saw a snarling, chattering, barking, growling Boston Terrier looking back at me. He didn’t yet have a harness or collar on, so I asked her if she could put it on him. I really didn’t think she could. He allowed her to, however, without ever taking his eyes off me. Boy, was I in for an adventure!

The new foster put my leash on him, and I was able to walk him over to the car. I put him in the car, and he seemed okay with Bill – not really noticing him. However, now I had a new problem. I couldn’t go near my car!

Luckily a nearby friend had a crate, and I had some thick garden gloves, so I put the gloves on, carefully got his leash, and pulled him out of the car. We sat on the ground for a while, and I tried to calm him, to no avail. I kept inching my way up the leash until I was at the back of his harness, and while he continued to growl, I got my hand around his chest and quickly shoved him into the crate. Door shut…success!

He growled and cried the whole way home. I had never seen such a distressed dog! At home, Dylan and I weren’t really sure what to do with him, but eventually we decided to try to let him sleep in the crate in our room. After hours of listening to him rustle around, I finally couldn’t take it anymore, and I put him in the yard. I left the crate door open so he could pee if he had to, but every time I checked on him, he was still cowering in there. He looked SO scared.

This morning, when I got up to let Bill out to pee, Buster was standing outside of his crate, shaking uncontrollably. I got some cheese, sat down, and somehow got brave enough to try and pet him. He just melted into my hands, and at that point, I knew our stand-off was over. Since then he hasn’t left my side, although he’s still very nervous and distressed.

I actually think he’s a great dog now – he even licked me, and now he’s sleeping with his head on my leg. Poor little guy, I have no idea what happened to him to make him so distressed, but I think there’s hope. Oh, and he’s adorable!