Monthly Archives: August 2012

Friday Fun: Caption This!

You guys were so creative and I had so much fun reading you comments on last week’s “Caption This” post, I just had to do it again!

I was looking through old pictures for another fun one, and I found this gem that we took last fall.  This is Oscar playing in our friend’s backyard with our first Agape foster pup, Tucker.

I had almost forgotten how much fun these two used to have together.  So now it’s your turn: what do you think they’re saying?  Leave your comments below, and we’ll share our favorite(s) Monday on our Facebook page

Happy Weekend!

Tucker has found his furever, but Cooper is still looking for his!  If you’ve got enough love for the Coop, please fill out an adoption application with Agape Animal Rescue.



Filed under Our Foster Journey


I have a confession to make.

Cooper sleeps in our bed. 

I know, I know, there are plenty of reasons that this is a bad idea.  Maybe tops among them, Cooper’s future People may not want a bed-mate.  Breaking him of this habit could prove to be a difficult chore should he get adopted into a home with a “no dogs in the bed” rule.

Believe me, I know.

But life is short, and dogs’ lives are shorter.  Fostering is tough, and we do what we do to get by.  When Cooper let us know is no uncertain terms that crate training was not for him, we had a choice to make: force him through it, or find other ways to work through the destruction and accidents.  We chose to work through them.

And Cooper’s progress really has been amazing.  The side effect of our choice is that Cooper has figured out a soft bed snuggled in between mom and dad is a pretty great place to count sheep.  No big surprise, since he’s such a love bug. He knows our bedtime routine, and he’s learned that if he’s not careful when he jumps on the bed and lands on Oscar, he’ll get a corrective growl and little nip from his big brother.  Coop has no problem making himself comfortable, sometimes spooning with foster dad and kicking foster mom in the kidneys, sometimes the other way around. Sometimes he lies on his back with is feet in the air.  Sometimes he wedges himself between the wall and my pillow, with his front and back legs on either side of my head.  Or he’ll curl up in a ball over my shoulder and lay his head on my chest with a big content puppy *sigh* and synchronize his breathing with mine…this one is my favorite.

Yep, Cooper sleeps in the bed.  And I’ve come to love it.

But then the other night, something…well, strange happened. 

My schedule is pretty crazy sometimes, so I was getting home late after Foster Dad was already in bed.  I opened the door and wasn’t too surprised that I wasn’t greeted by two waggly brindle butts – it was, after all, bed time.  From the front door of our one-story ranch house I can see all the way down the hallway to the master bedroom.   As I started to walk towards the back to say hello to my men (furry and otherwise), Cooper came wandering, sleepy-eyed, out of the guest room. 


This was odd because the only (only) time I’ve ever seen Cooper in the guest room is when he follows me in there…because as I’ve mentioned before, he’s a shadow.  I went in to check it out and sure enough, there was a Cooper-sized spot in between a folded up quilt and the guest bed pillow that was suspiciously warm, as if a Cooper-sized body had just been snoozing in it moments ago. 

Foster Dad confirmed, when he and Oscar went to bed, Cooper decided to try out the guest room.  I guess he found it pretty comfortable, because he completely snubbed us that night and chose the guest room over us.  Over us!  Har-umph.  I didn’t know whether to be offended or a little bit proud of our boy for branching out and asserting some independence…

…until about 3 AM when he got startled by a passing truck and darted back into our room, where he stayed until morning.

If you can’t wait for Cooper to keep you warm at night, please fill out an adoption application with Agape Animal Rescue.



Filed under Our Foster Journey

Lost Dog

I don’t know if there’s anything more terrifying as a pet owner than coming home to find that your pet isn’t where he should be.  When the unthinkable happens, a million emotions will hit you all at once – fear, denial, terror, guilt, and panic.   I remember these feelings well, as I went through all of them when Tucker went on his Great Adventure, and again when I came home to find this:

…and no Cooper in the house! Thankfully, Cooper had only “escaped” into our fenced in backyard, but for several terrifying seconds, I thought he was Gone.

As difficult as it might be, it will be very important to keep a clear head and have a plan in place to get your loved one home, safe and sound, as quickly as possible.  Here are some things you can do in advance so you can be prepared if you find yourself in such a scary situation.

Keep a pre-made LOST flyer on your computer.   If Oscar were to go missing, my first instinct would be tear around the neighborhood like a crazy lady looking for him.  The last thing I’d want to do is sit down in front of a computer, looking through pictures trying to pick the perfect one to put on a flyer, and trying to remember what kind of information I’m supposed to include.  So instead, I laid it all out in advance.  If that horrible day comes, I can simply fill in a few last-minute details like “last seen” location/date/time, print out (color!) copies and start posting them around town.   When you’re making your own LOST flyer, make sure to include:

  • Your dog’s name
  • Weight and size
  • Color, description, distinguishing characteristics
  • Where he went missing
  • The date and time you last saw him
  • What he was wearing (collar, tag, harness, etc)
  • Your contact information – list multiple phone numbers, including your vet.
  • Offer a reward.  Hey, money talks.  Oscar’s LOST flyer doesn’t even use the word “LOST,” instead it says “$$ REWARD $$” in big bold print right at the top, and underneath it says “…for safe return!”  It probably would not hurt to add the phrase “No questions asked.”

You can also look online and find templates for creating a LOST flyer.  One good one I’ve found is  All you do is fill out some information about your pet, add your contact information and upload a photo, and it will generate a .PDF of a flier for you that you can print out yourself.  PetBond even gives you the option to include little tear off strips at the bottom with your contact info.  Oh, and it’s free, which is always a bonus.

Chosing the right photo.  I cannot stress enough how important a clear, up-to-date, color photograph of your pet is on a LOST poster.  Take a look at these photos of lost dogs that I pulled off Craigslist:

I don’t even know what’s going on in this picture.

Those dogs could walk right past me on the street and I couldn’t recognize them from these pictures.  How big are they? Are they male or female?  Do they have a collar on?  Even if this information is listed elsewhere on the flyer, a picture is worth a thousand words.  Now compare the photos above with these:

These pictures are clear and in focus.  The second one even has a person in the photo with the dog, so you can easily tell how big the dogs is.  Some people might not be able to recognize a dog that running down the street is 40 lbs, but they will be able to tell if the dog comes up to their knee or the bumper of a truck. 

If you don’t have any good clear current pictures of your pet, stop reading right now and go snap a few. Go ahead, we’ll be here when you get back. 

Oscar’s photo for his LOST flyer.

Microchip, and register!  We all know how important and easy it is to microchip your pet.  However, just as important is making sure that the chip is registered and up to date with your current contact information.  Earlier this summer, a dog got picked up as a stray and taken to the Nashville Humane Association.  The dog had a microchip, but it wasn’t registered.  After the dog had been in the slammer for a month, a man showed up with his two daughters to search the rows for their family pet.  When they came upon this dog’s cage, the man started screaming, “My dog is here! You have Irene!”  Irene is now home safe and sound, but she could have been home a month sooner if her microchip had been registered. 

Oscar has a HomeAgain microchip. They send us e-mail reminders every few months to make sure our information is current.

Dress for success.  We all make sure our pups are sporting a collar and ID tag when we take them out on the town, but what about right now – look at your pup snoozing at your feet, is he wearing his collar and tag?  What about when he goes out in your fenced in back yard?  Your dog has an astronomically higher chance of coming home if he is wearing a collar and tag.  As cute and cuddly as our pups are when they’re au naturale, what if someone breaks into your home and lets your dog out?  What if there’s a fire and your pet escapes with his life, but without identification?  If your dog is in the backyard after a bath, what if there’s a loose board in your fence and he wriggles his way to freedom, or what if your meter reader didn’t latch your gate all the way?  Your pet should always wear visual identification, even when he is safe at home – just in case.

Make a sign for your front yard.  This next tip I can’t take credit for.  I saw this posted on Facebook by fellow foster blogger and pit bull advocate Our Waldo Bungie.  Talk about a forehead slap moment, I can’t believe this had never occurred to me before!  

Even as I, after finding lost dogs in my neighborhood, drive around looking for someone who may be out and about looking for their dog or posting signs, I never thought of putting a sign in my own yard if I lost my furbaby.  I suppose you could do the same thing if you find a dog, as folks who’ve lost their pets will probably be driving around the neighborhood searching.

Use the Internet.  Get together a list of websites that help find lost dogs.  Does your local online paper have a lost/found section?  Does your neighborhood group have a e-message board or list serve?  How about Facebook?  In Nashville, there is a Nashville Lost & Found Pets group that has helped reunite many pets with their owners.  Learn about what online resources are available to you in advance, so you’re not wasting time scrambling to sign up for accounts and join groups when your pet goes missing. no longer offers a classified section, but they do have links to articles offering many more tips and steps to take if you lose your pet.  Of course, there is also Craigslist, but…

Beware of phishing.  It’s sad that people would take advantage of someone who is clearly in an emotional state, but it does happen.  If you choose to list your e-mail address on your Craigslist ad, be careful of e-mails you might get with vague information or odd wording, such as “I have information about your pet!” or “I’d like to pray for your pet.”  Chances are, these are less-than-legitimate, and these people are betting that you are letting your emotions overrule your better judgement. Responding to them could get your e-mail account hacked.

“I like my home and my couch, I don’t ever wanna be lost!”

Hopefully we will never have to go through the nightmare of losing Oscar or one of our foster dogs.  But if it does happen someday, I know that we are as prepared as we can be to deal with it.  What other steps would you or have you taken to find a lost pet?  What’s worked well for you?  Is there anything you would add to this list or do differently?  Please share your thoughts in the Comments below!

Remember, our foster pup Cooper is still looking for his furever home!  If it’s you, please fill out an application with Agape Animal Rescue.



Filed under Our Foster Journey

You Oughta Be in Pictures

Saturday night was the Impression-a-Bull exhibit at the UltraViolet Gallery here in Nashville.  Local photographer and animal lover Amiee Stubbs joined forces with pit bull advocacy group, Nashville PITTIE, to shoot photos of Nashville pit bulls and their responsible owners, to show the public that there is more to “pit bulls” than the negative side that they might see in the media.

Photo by Amiee Stubbs Photography

Photo by Amiee Stubbs Photography

A total of 24 families took part in the exhibit.  They included State Representative and animal advocate Janis Sontany, teachers, nurses, dog trainers, lawyers, business owners and Tennessee Titan Michael Griffin.  Foster Dad and I got a big surprise when we walked in and saw that in addition to our family picture, Amiee had also chosen a picture of  Oscar to display in the exhibit.  Not that we can blame her – we might be a little biased,  but we think he is the most handsome man around.

Photo by Amiee Stubbs Photography

As for the “bad press” that pit bulls so often get, we were thrilled to see coverage for the event from three out of four major news networks in Nashville.

We even had a surprise little guest show up to support the project.

Photo by Amiee Stubbs Photography

She posted this adora-bull picture on her Facebook page…what she didn’t share was what the rest of us saw:

You know you’re a dog photographer if…

 Amiee is nothing if not dedicated!

Anything to get the shot!

If you missed the exhibit and would like to see all of Amiee’s beautiful photographs, here where it gets really cool – you can!  Amiee and Nashville PITTIE will put together all of the photos into an art book, available October 20th.  All proceeds from the book will go towards free spay/neuter programs for Nashville pit bulls.  If you’d like to donate to the project, you can do that here.  More information on how you can pre-order a copy still to come.

We couldn’t be happier with how our family photo turned out.  We decided to include Cooper in our photo because even though he’s a foster dog, he is a part of our family.  Just like all our foster dogs, even after he finds his furever home he will always have a place in our hearts.  And just maybe, his future People will meet him because of this exhibit?  Fingers and  paws crossed!   

Cooper is still looking for his furever home!  If it’s you, please fill out an application with Agape Animal Rescue.



Filed under Our Foster Journey

Friday Fun: Caption This

I thought I’d have a little fun today and share one my favorite pictures of Oscar.  This is pre-foster era, during his “mischievous” phase.  To this day every time I see this picture, I can’t help but giggle. 

I know what my caption says (and what I said when I walked in on this surprise!), now it’s your turn.  What do you think Oscar is saying?  Share your thoughts in the comments below, and I’ll share my favorite on Monday on our Facebook page.

Happy Weekend!



Filed under Our Foster Journey

Glitter & Glam 2012 Wrap Up

Well it’s been three weeks since Glitter & Glam, and I’ve procrastinated sharing the highlights long enough that I may now officially be called a slacker.  It’s not like we didn’t have other things going on to preoccupy us a bit, but still  – apologies!  Now, on with the goods…

Adoptable Agape dog, Radar, lovin’ on Kirsten

You guys, just…wow!  This was the first year I’ve been able to attend Agape Animal Rescue’s biggest fundraiser of the year, Glitter & Glam, and the event certainly did not disappoint.  We had a total freakin’ blast!  Some highlights from the night include:

A guest appearance by Animal Rescue Corps founder Scotlund Haisley.  We were only about a week into Operation Freedom Dogs at that point, and what we didn’t know that night was that Operation Freedom Part 2 was already in the works.  Scotlund spoke to the crowd about the work that ARC was doing, and how important Agape’s role as a placement partner is to them.  Later, he graced the runway and showed everyone that along with a heart of gold and love for animals, he also has some serious modeling chops. 

An appearance from celebridog Smiley from Operation Sweethearts.  There’s no doubt that Smiley was one of the most well-known and popular of this past February’s Sweethearts.  He graced the cover of local pet-lovers rag Nashville Paw magazine, and that precious underbite won the hearts of every dog lover in the city.  Smiley’s lucky Furever people shared with us the story of how Smiley became a part of their family (believe me, not a dry eye in the house). Later, a framed cover of Smiley’s edition of Nashville Paw was auctioned off…pawtographed by Smiley himself.

Dogs, dogs, dogs!  You guys, sooo many dogs!  Dogs in bow ties, dogs in tuxedos, dogs in tutus…I was in heaven. 



The photo booth.  I still cannot believe I went the whole night without getting in the photo booth.  A rookie mistake I will not make again.

Agape founder & Executive Director, Tanya Willis with Harmony Designs photographer, April Hollingsworth

Adoptable Olive with her foster people, Jen & Jason

Adoptable dogs take the stage.  Probably my favorite part of the evening was when three of Agape’s eligible pooches got to take the runway and tell their story.  Among them: Olive, an adorable puppy who my neighbor Jen and I liberated from a chain in our neighborhood; Junior, who I am absolutely in love with and am dying to share more about; and Radar, who just might have the best ears on the plant.

Adoptable Olive

Adoptable Junior

Adoptable Radar

All in all, and at the risk of sounding cheesy, it was a magical evening.  There’s just something about being in a room filled with animal lovers, with like-minded people willing to shell out their hard-earned cash so that dogs who might otherwise have never had a chance can find their way to their happy ending. 

Tamasine Singer (Middle Tennessee Pet Resource Center) and Jana Mendes (Nashville PITTIE)

ARC crew – with the next generation of animal rescuers

I know I brag on them all the time, but Agape Animal Rescue really does do amazing work. There’s a reason that they’re one of the most well-loved animal rescue organizations in Middle Tennessee, winning tons of “local favorite” awards (including Nashville Paw Reader’s Choice for Best Overall Rescue, and Best Fundraiser).  Since their beginning eight years ago, they’ve saved and rehomed over 500 dogs!  I am truly lucky and honored to be a member of the Agape family.

I can’t wait until Glitter & Glam 2013!

For more pictures, check out the Glitter & Glam Facebook page.



Filed under Our Foster Journey

Wordless Wednesday: Snuggle Buddies

If you’d like to add Cooper to your family, please fill out an adoption application with Agape Animal Rescue.



Filed under Our Foster Journey