Tag Archives: Agape

Guest Post: Presley

Today’s post comes from a dear friend and animal lover. Shelley is an Agape Animal Rescue foster parent and Animal Rescue Corps Volunteer. Her current foster dog, Presley, came from a horrible situation and is being overlooked for adoption, we think because of the ever dreaded Black Dog Syndrome. So, wonderful blog readers, I’d like to introduce you now to….PRESLEY! 


Presley…what would I say about my little foster dog?  Hmm, well to explain how awesome she is, I need to first explain where she came from and how I met her. It was a terrible place.  (Please skip down to “HAPPY STUFF” if you do not want to learn the definition of “terrible place.”)

It was called Operation Unbridled Spirit. In September 2013, Animal Rescue Corps was able to go in and rescue 120+ dogs from hell. More than 120 dogs were removed from a property (aka PUPPY MILL), where females are bred with every heat, usually when they are still puppies themselves, to churn out babies for profit. The mothers usually suffer the most, as their bodies are exhausted from continual pregnancy, lack of medical care, good nutrition, healthy drinking water, human companionship, etc. In this particular case, there were about 4-6 dogs in each “box” with a male stud dog. This was their life. A box with a doggie door that allowed them outside to wire bottom footing to pee/poop. The babies are then stripped from (usually sick, unhealthy) moms and sold on the internet, to puppy stores, or on the side of the road. This is why we do not purchase puppies this way.

Once removed from the property, they were brought to an emergency shelter for emergent medical treatment, assessment and once legal, to get placed into rescue groups that were willing to continue their medical care and work with them socially to get them ready for lives inside with a family. Basically, to get them healthy and teach them how to be a family dog like you and I know. 


I was fortunate enough to work at the emergency shelter, where our jobs were to medically treat and care for the dogs and also to hold/cuddle the dogs to get them used to more handling and human contact. (Sounds tough, huh?)

Presley, in particular, previously known as FF113 (see mugshot, above), was found to have chronic ear infections. She was in so much pain. The vet believes she is approximately 5 years old. Assuming she’s lived in this Puppy mill/box for 5 years, that means she’s had pain for her entire life! I had to hold her while the vet tried to clean her ears, so we could get the medicine in to help cure her. Her ears were swollen closed and she has chronic scar tissue from years of scratching at them, desperately trying to signal her pain and comfort herself. Poor baby, it was so painful, we actually had to put her under to clean them well. Her ear has chronic scar tissue, indicative of years of chronic ear infections. The vet believes this is due to food allergies. Of course, this is what eventually sealed my fate as her “godmother” and foster mom!  Now moving on from the terrible place…and living in the “now”…



Once the dogs were legally cleared for placement, Agape Animal Rescue stepped up and took 28 dogs (34 total after all the pregnant dogs delivered)!

 {Can we pause and clap for them stepping it up to take so many needy dogs? Can you imagine the medical bills??}

Presley was the last dog taken by Agape. When I found out that she had not been chosen by any of the rescues (short hair, black dogs are sometimes overlooked for the cuter spotted fuzzy dogs) and dogs were moving out of the shelter left and right…I had to speak up for my sweet little tolerant girl.


The vet says that her chronic ear infections are due to a food allergy. Poor thing itches all over her body, all the time. We are still working to figure out exactly what she is allergic to. (She is currently on prescription dog food, but once we get the itching to stop, we can start adding things slowly to see if she reacts). I am looking forward to discovering what it is!!!

I brought Presley into my home. I took this picture the first day, don’t those eyes just melt your heart?


She got her first bath


and a good hearty meal….and went straight to find a comfy dog bed for a nap.


It has been a pleasure to watch her grow and learn! See, she currently lives with 2 older dogs, and she has been a great student! They have been showing her how to have “house manners” and other good stuff such as…

how to choose the right comfy spots to sleep…


how to walk nicely on a leash with a harness

how to get onto a bed

(now she has learned to use the doggy stairs)….  

how nice it is to snuggle up under the covers and sleep in a human armpit or behind your knees…..

how to potty outside {side note: On Presley’s first day, she followed my dogs right out the doggy door to potty…and she knows what to do. She attempted to pee, ONE TIME, on the mat by the door, once removed, there were no more mistakes }.

She has also learned quickly how to sit, lie down, and we are always working on “wait.”

Presley did not know what toys were, or how to play with them. Nor did she play with the other dogs. It was about one month after she came to live with me, until the “light turned on.” I was sitting on the floor with her, trying to get her to show some interest in a toy. She picked it up, but didn’t really know what to do with it, so she just dropped it. Her foster sister, Rosie, walked by….Presley stopped, looked at Rosie and dropped into her first play bow! After that, she and Rosie played all day long! I teared up!!!! Even better, I got some of it on video! It was like watching her wake up and enjoy life for the first time!

She is such a sweet little girl, who’s nubby tail is constantly in motion. All you have to do is say her name…and that tail kicks into high gear!!!

She has a few nicknames…Pres Pres (my favorite, that she now actually answers to), Happy Tail, Happy, Little Ms Impatient, Cuddle Bug, Love Bug, and Blackie (affectionately given by my boyfriend).


She makes me laugh daily…and there are so many more pictures to share….here’s a video…but you should only watch this if you like to see super cute dogs!!!

She has the biggest brown eyes, and she knows how to use them. She happily lets me brush her teeth, but she HATES getting her nails clipped….we are working on that 🙂   She has a cute little habit of “talking” too….since she’s black, it’s very hard to get a good video of her, but if you’re ready for some severe cuteness, this is a short clip of her “talking” when she gets excited…

**UPDATE 4/5/14** Presley has been adopted!! Congratulations to Presley, her new forever mom, and of course to foster mom Shelley and Agape Animal Rescue


Filed under Our Foster Journey

It’s Official!

The contract is signed, and the check is in the mail. But an adoption isn’t really complete until the family photos come back, right?


Well we must be a real family now!


Taken by the photographic genius behind Agape Animal Rescue‘s professional photos, including Cooper’s holiday portraits from last year, April Hollingsworth knocked it outta the park once again, amiright?


…and my absolute favorite:


Thank you April Hollingsworth and Harmony Designs Photography for these gorgeous photos – and of course, thank you Agape Animal Rescue for bringing Cooper into our lives!



Filed under Our Foster Journey

What’s in a name?

We have about a gazillion nicknames for the Cooper-monster,  but at the end of the day – the name suits him perfectly. Cooper couldn’t really have been anything other than “Cooper.”


This gorgeous fellow is one of the newest members of the Agape family, and he’s having a bit of an identity crisis.  He’s one of the Operation Unbridled Spirit dogs, and is currently camping out with our friends Jen & Jason (that’s right, Olive’s former pad).  At the emergency shelter he known as Jelly Roll.


Then one day he started singing a lovely song, which sounded remarkably like a certain character from a beloved sci-fi movie classic.

I happen to believe he resembles a different character from that particular movie.



Another name on the table is Frank.


So, just for fun, blog readers – let your voices be heard: Which name best suits the big guy: Jelly Roll, Chewie, Jabba, or Frank?  Cast your votes in the Comments, and please defend your answers!


If you’re interested in adding Jelly Roll/Chewie/Jabba/Frank to your family, please fill out an application with Agape Animal Rescue.



Filed under Our Foster Journey

So Now What?

Last week we announced that Cooper is now a permanent member of our family. Turns out, we just couldn’t bear the thought of letting the little nugget go! Which begs the question – now what?

Summa 089

I started this blog two years ago to chronicle our journey as a Foster Family. While Cooper continues to work on himself, that portion of our lives is put on hold. We decided a long time ago that things work best around here as a two-dog household, especially when one of our perma-dogs is a little “particular” about what kind of canine company he enjoys. But even though we won’t be fostering again for the time being, fear not faithful readers – the blog is here to stay.

We started this blog as a foster-centric endeavor, but it turns out we have a lot more to talk about: Local eventslarge-scale rescues, reviews of our favorite puppy swag


…and of course, there are always adorable hilarious antics of these two crazy beasts to keep us busy!

Oh, and remember how there was a very generous Cooper supporter who sponsored his adoption fee?  We decided to pay it forward and sponsor the dog who’s been in the Agape program the longest (after Cooper, of course). This is Prince – one of the dogs rescued during Animal Rescue Corps’ Operation Freedom.


Price had been in the Agape program since July 2013, and the poor guy had his own set of fear issues that were keeping him from finding his Furever. Well, it turns out that a sponsorship was all Prince’s foster mom needed to make the leap and join the Foster Failure Club!


Congratulations Prince & Carolyn!



Filed under Our Foster Journey

It’s Glitter & Glam Time!

It’s that time of year again! Agape Animal Rescue is gearing up for their annual fundraiser, Glitter & Glam.


Guys, I attended this event for the first time last year and let me tell you – it was a freakin’ BLAST. We’ve got silent & live auctions with over $15,000 worth of amazing items up for bid.



We’ve got a fasion show featuring designs by Corello on the two legged models and couture by Baxter Bailey & Company on the four legged models.



Oh, and food. And wine. And dogs everywhere! I mean, what else do you need?

Glitter & Glam 2012

Glitter & Glam 2012


Glitter & Glam 2012


Glitter & Glam 2012


Glitter & Glam 2012

This year’s event is taking place on July 28th at the Hutton Hotel with views of the Nashville skyline. Swanky, no?


Our hosts are Kimberley Locke of American Idol fame, and rising country star Phoenix Stone – this is Music City, after all.

The best part? All proceeds from ticket sales and auction items go directly to Agape Animal Rescue. Every penny raised is dedicated to helping dogs in need find their happy ending. So you get all of that awesome AND help dogs at at the same time!

Intrigued? I betcha are. Tickets? Right here!



Filed under Our Foster Journey


On Friday afternoon, I teased that we had some “very exciting news” on our Facebook page. Some of you guessed that Cooper was adopted. Well, an adoption did take place, it just wasn’t Coop.  It’s the adorable Miss Olive who has found her Furever Home!

Olive (13)

Eight months ago, sweet Olive was tied to a tree in a dirt patch outside an apartment complex in my neighborhood. It was only beginning of April, but Nashville was getting an early heat wave and Olive was stuck in out in the hot sun day in and day out with no food or water, and only a dingy plastic dog house to shelter her from the elements.

SNAP puppy (1)

My neighbor Jen, fellow animal lover and blogger, just couldn’t turn her back on her, and invited her into her home. For the first time in her short life, Olive was part of a family, safe, loved and cared for.


Soon after, Olive was welcomed into the Agape family. She had her glamour shots taken, and stole the show at Agape’s annual fundraiser, Glitter & Glam.

Olive (18)

Olive (19)

Foster Mom Jen has actually known Olive’s new dad for years…through the magic of social media, B has been following Olive on Facebook for months. When he was in town on business before Christmas, he met the wiggly little squish face, and fell in love.

Olive (12)

After conferring with his partner in crime, they agreed that they just couldn’t live without her. They hopped on a plane in Washington DC this past weekend and flew all they way to Nashville just to pick her up.  Even though she was meeting her for the first time, Olive’s new mom H was instantly smitten.  

Olive (16)

Even though she’s crossing the Mason Dixon line for the first time, this southern dog won’t have to worry about the blustery winter weather of the east cost biting through her short furs – thanks to a little going away present from her buddy Cooper.

Olive (17)

First time foster parents Jen & Jason had a tough time saying goodbye to their girl. Understandably so…those of us who have had the honor of loving a dog like our own only to send her on her way to a happy, loving forever home, know how difficult the first time can be (who am I kidding, like it gets any easier??). But, just like all foster parents, they know that Olive is on her way to the best life she can have, spoiled rotten just like she deserves.

Saying goodbye to Foster Dad

Saying goodbye to Foster Dad

Thank you for taking such good care of me, Foster Mom!

Thank you for taking such good care of me, Foster Mom!

…and “spoiled rotten” is right. Olive is going to be an only dog in her new house.  Her new parents even brought Olive a new leash, collar, a dog bed of her very own (all of them with her new full name, Olive Olivia, embroidered on them) and some yummy vegan dog treats for the long ride home in their rental car. They bonded to Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believin” as they crossed the state line, driving off towards what Olive has been yearning for her entire life…Furever.

Congratulations Olive!



Filed under Our Foster Journey

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year everyone! We hope that everyone rung in 2013 safely. Cooper and Oscar spent their evening just like every other night – snuggling on the couch.


We had a great couple weeks off work, and as we slowing adjust back to reality we’ll be working on some fun posts for you, including a breakdown of Cooper’s exciting Christmas vacation! We’ll document a whole bunch of “firsts” for Cooper…his first trip out-of-state, his first stay in a (human) hotel, and his first encounter with SNOW! Spoiler alert: he loved it.

Cooper Snow

In the meantime, I wanted to share some amazeballs stats with you guys.  As you know, because I gush about them all the time, I have the honor of working with one of the most awesome animal rescues around. Agape Animal Rescue had some truly rockin’ stats in 2012.  Check this out…back in 2011, Agape adopted out 72 dogs. That averages to more than one each week – awesome right?  Well, in 2012, we crushed that number – Agape’s adopted out a staggering 106 dogs in 2012! One. Hundred. And. Six.  Seriously, can you believe that? That averaged out to two dogs each week. 106 dogs are now safe and happy, living with amazing loving Furever Families.  106 families chose to adopt dogs when looking for a family pet, rather than shop from a pet store or breeder. That’s 106 families who can be considered “heroes” in my book.

Adopted 2012

Clockwise from top left: Agape dogs Gracie (R), Molly Tamale, Scarlet (L) and Roxie with their Furever Families!

One dog who would love to join that “adopted” club in 2013 is our very own Super Cooper. At the end of this month, Cooper will celebrate(?) one full year in foster care. Can you believe it’s been that long? I can’t. Cooper can’t. Everyone who meets him can’t. He might be a little rough around the edges, but Cooper truly is one awesome pup. Sharing this last year has been so great, he’s wiggled his little brindle butt into our hearts and set up shop, but nothing would make me happier than to let him go. I just know the right family for Cooper is out there somewhere…something tells me 2013 will be the year they find him!

Coopers 032

If you’d like to become Cooper’s hero (and mine!) and add him to your family, please fill out an adoption application with Agape Animal Rescue.



Filed under Our Foster Journey

Rock the Vote

Oscar and Cooper would like to remind everyone that no matter what you believe in, get out there and cast your vote.

People throughout history have fought long and hard to make sure that everyone in this beautiful country has the right to make their voice heard on election day, so please be sure to use yours at the polls today!

Cooper would also like to remind you that it’s not to late to cast your vote for him in Agape Animal Rescue’s Democracy for Dogs campaign. His platform, “No pup left behind,” reminds us that ever pup, no matter his shape, size, color or background, deserves the right to a safe, happy, healthy life in a loving home.  You can cast your vote for Cooper with a $5 donation by clicking here.

When he wins, you’re all invited to his inaugural ball!

Our adorable candidate is in the market for a furever home! If you’d like to add this presidential canine to your family, please fill out an adoption application with Agape Animal Rescue.



Filed under Our Foster Journey

Cooper’s 15 Minutes of Fame

Last week when we told you about Cooper’s visit to The Parthenon, we didn’t exactly tell the whole story.  There was a bit more to his trip than a sightseeing tour.

Cooper was actually there to film his television television debut!  He was there to film a segment for local news segment, More at Midday, and to solicit votes for his Presidential run.  Excuse the poor video quality, the segment didn’t end up on their website so you’re stuck with my amazing video-of-the-TV method.

Personally, I think that since he was the only one to show up for the debate, that ought to get him a few extra votes, don’t you? Remember, you can VOTE FOR COOPER by donating $5 to Agape Animal Rescue.  Or, a $20 donation will cast a vote for Cooper as well as get you a T-shirt with his lovely mug on the back.

And, unlike at the human polls, in this election you can cast as many votes as you like! Right now the race is super duper close, so won’t you please help Cooper pull ahead of the pack (har) and show the world that a lovable, adoptable pit bull mutt can be just as loved and trusted as America’s most popular pet and a local celebri-dog?  He’s got my vote!

Remember, Cooper is still on the market! 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

Support for One of Our Own

The one thing that has amazed me time and again since we started fostering is the overwhelming support I’ve felt from the rest of the rescue community.  Animal rescue, as rewarding as it is, can be tough, thankless and frustrating at times.  Knowing that all of you out there are standing right along with us has meant the world to us.  So this weekend, when I heard that one of our own was in trouble, it shook me to the core. 

Our second foster pup through Agape Animal Rescue was Kaylee – liberated from life on a chain by kind strangers, and accepted into the Agape program to find her change at happiness.  Kandice and Larry adopted Kaylee from us just before Christmas last year, and re-named her Kate

It was insta-love….Kandice and Larry were immediately taken with Kate, and Kate excelled under the love and guidance from her new mom, who just happens to be a professional dog trainer.  She loved playing with her new brother Ben, snuggling on the couch with her new mom, and even flying with her new dad in his plane.


Kate was firmly settled in to the best Furever Home that Foster Dad and I could have imagined for her.  It’s such a great feeling as a foster family knowing that one of the dogs who passed through your doors is safe, happy and loved.

Furever Day wasn’t the last time Agape heard from Kandice and Larry. Since then, Kate and Ben have become foster siblings to some of Agape’s toughest rehabilitation cases.  They took in Jake from Operation Sweethearts, and taught him how to trust and be part of a family.

Sweetheart Jake with his Furever Family.

Then, when Agape took in fourteen dogs this summer from Operation Freedom, Kate and her family brought Angel into their home.

I had the honor of meeting Angel at the temporary shelter.  Well, that is, if you can call our interaction “meeting” each other.  More accurately, Angel cowered in the back of her crate while I gave her fresh food and water, and cleaned her crate around her.  She had patches of missing hair and sores covered her skin.  She was underweight and terrified of everything. The only word I could think of to describe Angel was “broken.”  But even so, it was clear that she had a beautiful soul.  I knew it would take a very special foster home to bring Angel back from the brink.   Enter Kandice and Larry…

Kandice getting medications and instructions the day she took Operation Freedom dog, Angel, home from the emergency shelter.

Angel went home with Kandice after a month at the emergency shelter. Kandice reports that as recently as a couple weeks ago, Kate has finally taught Angel how to play.

“Kate is the best big sister ever. She finally got Angel to play with her last night. Angel was having the time of her life for the first time.” ~Kandice

 Agape and the dogs in their program are lucky to have foster parents like Kandice and Larry on their side. They are amazing, wonderful giving people with enormous hearts. 

Last week, Kandice and Larry were in a bad motorcycle accident.  We’d like to respect their privacy and not go into too much detail, but I can say that although Kandice has been released, Larry remains in the hospital.  Agape is rallying the troops here in Nashville to find another foster home for Angel, so Kandice and Larry can focus all their energy on getting well.

If everyone could spare a few moments to send some positive energy their way, I’m sure Kandice and Larry could use it. If you would like to send some words of encouragement and support to these animal heroes, you can leave a note for them in the comments here, or you can mail them a card at the address below.

Kandice & Larry
c/o Agape Animal Rescue
P.O. Box 292766
Nashville, TN 37229-2766



Filed under Our Foster Journey