Tag Archives: Molly Tamale

Happy Thanksgiving!

We hope that everyone out there has a safe, happy Thanksgiving today, filled with lots of yummy treats and tummy rubs. Here at Foster House, we’ll be giving thanks for these wonderful folks…

…and of course, there’s these two:

Happy Thanksgiving from Dave, Laura, Oscar & Cooper!



Filed under Our Foster Journey

Cooper Takes the Parthenon

Here in Nashville, we have our very own Parthenon.  No, really, we do. It’s a full-scale replica of the Parthenon in Greece, originally built as a temporary structure for Tennessee’s 1897 Centennial Exposition. 

Tennessee Centennial Exposition
Photo Courtesy of the Metro Parks Board

It was so popular with the citizens of Nashville that the city decided to have it rebuilt as permanent building in 1921.  It was completed in 1931 after about 10 years of construction – which is about the same amount of time it took the ancient Greeks to build the Parthenon in Athens.

Located in what is now Centennial Park, the Parthenon is a popular photo backdrop for tourists as well as native Nashvillians.  Oscar visited the Parthenon the weekend we sprung him from the shelter, and  Molly Tamale did some sightseeing as a special outing with Foster Mom & Foster Dad, the morning of the day she went to live with her Furever Family

And last week, I was telling Cooper all about the Parthenon and he was all, “What the what? Why have you not taken me there yet, woman? I gotta check this out for myself…”

“Momma can we take a closer look? Pleeeeze?”

The intricate carvings above the columns on the East and West ends of the building are scenes depicting a story in the life of Athena. Fun fact, they are covered with netting to deter birds from building nests and dropping little “gifts” on the tourists below.

Cooper thinks it’s super-cool that just like the real deal, no two of the Parthenon’s 46 columns are the same diameter and aren’t evenly spaced apart.  They also all incline slightly inward, which gives the illusion that the Parthenon is even taller than it actual is (which is 65 feet, if you were wondering). 

While dogs are welcome to enjoy the surrounding park and views from the outside, Cooper wasn’t allowed to see the full-scale replica of Athena inside the Parthenon.  He was very disappointed.

Where would you take Cooper sightseeing if he was Yours?  If you’re interested in adding Cooper to your family, please fill out an adoption application with Agape Animal Rescue.

…and don’t forget to VOTE for COOPER!



Filed under Our Foster Journey

Five Hundred Twenty-Five Thousand Six Hundred Minutes

How do you measure a year in the life of fostering?

In tongue licks? In vet trips? In good-byes and happy endings?

In lake swims? In bath times? In laughter and tears…

Pop a cork, today is our one-year blogiversary!  We can hardly believe it’s been a whole year since we started this journey, but at the same time we can’t believe it’s been a year already…it seems like just yesterday I was typing “how to start a blog” into the Google-machine (yes, I really did that).

I started this blog primarily as a way to chronicle our misadventures as we navigated this world that was new to us, this world of animal rescue and dog fostering.  It seemed so foreign, and like such a huge undertaking.  We were wicked intimidated, but somehow the idea of writing it all down made it less scary. 

The other main reason I wanted to blog about our foster dogs was to help potential adopters get to know them. I remembered that when we were searching for Oscar, I scanned through hundreds of online dog profiles.  While I skipped right over the ones that had bad photos little-to-no information beyond age, sex & breed, and I found myself drawn to the ones who had detailed profiles that told a story about the dogs’ personalities, good quality photos and sometimes even videos.  So I wanted to write a blog that would make our dogs irresistable to me as a potential adopter, if I came across a link on a dog’s online profile.

Instead of summarizing the last year (which would probably take me another year to do), and after yesterday’s post that apparently left some of you in tears (sorry about that), let’s have some fun!  

I want to start with one of my favorite things to do when checking our blog stats – search term results.  WordPress keeps track of what people type into the Google-machine to get to our blog.  I’m pretty sure that even if our blog comes up in the search results, they have to actually click on the link and visit the blog for the search term to count.  So, even if these folks were looking for something completely different than a blog about foster dogs, perhaps they got a little chuckle out of a funny dog story before they continued on their way. Here are some of my favorite search terms that have led people to our blog over the past year:

himym dog pie (Not sure where the “dog pie” part comes in, but I’m pretty sure “himym” is from this post. Love that show! )

dogs running all over the world (Oh, if only the world was full of responsible dog owners, this wouldn’t happen!)

river of pee (Um, gross…but yep, I can see how that might have happened.)

why are dogs better than people (How much time have you got?)

i took all the dogs  (If you’re a Hyperbole and a Half fan, then this image is already in your head…)

can you take a dog who isn’t well behaved to the dog park (I hope that after reading this post, they learned that the answer to that question is NO!!!)

anal infection swag (I don’t know what they were searching for, but I hope this post helped answer their questions)

the importance of support from your friends (ain’t it the truth)

fostering through agape (Maybe one of you out there is considering joining the Agape family? Just maybe?)

dipping dogs for tricks in a hole (Huh??)

happy birthday donkey (Double huh???)

And my favorite search term result of all time….

why is fostering dogs important (We must be doing something right!)

OK, so now I have to know…have any of you stumbled on our blog “by accident,” and if so, what were you originally searching for?  Feel free to fess up down in the comments, and thanks for sticking around!

In looking through our search results, I deduced that the Google-machine must take comments into account as well as the text in our posts.  On that note, I thought it was interesting (thought not really at all surprising) that our top commenters all also happen to have blogs of their own (check them out over in our Blogroll).  Unfortunately WordPress only keeps track of comment statistics for the last six months instead of the whole year, but you get the idea…

Thanks to everyone who joined in the conversation by leaving comments.  I’ve learned a lot from your advice, and I feel like I’ve gotten to know some of you (and your fur-babies) quite well by reading what you have to say.  Also, you guys have absolutely cracked me up!   

And now for some “fun by numbers”!

Number of dogs fostered: six

Number of foster dogs we’ve wanted to keep furever: six

Number of happy endings (so far): five (Barney, Tucker, Kaylee, Roxie, & Molly Tamale)

Number of adoption/returns: one

Quickest adoption: two weeks

Longest tenant: eight months (…and counting)

Number of trips to the vet with a foster dog: six (never a dull moment at Foster House!)

Number of posts: 188

Total number of blog views: 33,199 (wow!)

Highest number of views on one post: 302 (The Return of the Tamale)

Least viewed post: Our second post ever, Officially Applied, and our first holiday post, Thankful, were tied at 27, followed by Tucker Sees a Ghost at 33 (Wait, seriously, only 33 of you saw Tucker Sees a Ghost?  Go check it out right now, that dog was hilarious!)

Most views in one day: 341 (A New Record – fitting, huh?)

Blog subscribers: 61

HBAMF Facebook followers: 390 (can we make it to 400 by Monday??)

Number of chewed-up pieces of furniture: three

Large-scale rescue efforts in our area: two (Operation Sweethearts and Operation Freedom)

Number of foster dog escapes: three (Tucker’s Big Adventure…never really mentioned the other two, have I?)

Number of successful recoveries: three (whew!)

Surprise fosters: one

Number of collars: nine

Training classes: three (Dogs & Kat, we are eternally grateful!)

Times I’ve doubted myself: more than I care to admit.

Times I’ve regretted becoming a foster mom: zero.

Would I do it all again?  In a heartbeat. 

Thanks for sticking with us during the first year of our foster adventure! 
Whaddaya say, shall we go another year?
Let’s do this…



Filed under Our Foster Journey

Former Foster Update: Molly Tamale

We’ve said it before, but getting updates from our former tenants is the absolute BEST part of fostering, hands down.  I was so excited to find this note from Molly Tamale’s new dad in my inbox this morning.  Sounds like she’s really hit the jackpot this time…enjoy! ~Laura

Just a note to let you know that Molly is doing great. She has traveled to Louisville 4 or 5 times now and south Alabama once. Basically you wake her up when you get there. She travels quite well.

She loves my sister’s backyard. They have moles. Rather, they HAD moles. Molly loves to play whack-a-mole. Score: Molly 3: Moles 0. She either punches them with her nose or smacks them with a paw, never bites them.

She has also learned to run (on leash) beside me on my bicycle. We don’t go for long rides because of her short legs but about a 1/2 mile in the neighborhood to give her a good work out.

Hope you are both doing well. We’re following the continuing saga of Cooper on your blog.

Molly Tamale has found her Furever, but Cooper is still looking for his!  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

Molly Tamale Update

Molly Tamale has been in her new home for two weeks now, and she has settled right in.  As her new mom, Marla, reports:

A quick update from Molly. She’s been with us 2 weeks today and she’s doing great. We’ve had a lot of family in for our son’s wedding and she has been great. She exceptionally good with our grandchildren, especially, Noah. He likes to lie down beside her and rub her head. She just soaks it up. She has also made a 3 hour trip to Louisville and slept nearly the entire way both ways. She’s a keeper!


On a personal note, I am proud to say that this is the first adoption in which I successfully completed  without totally breaking down in tears.  As I said good-bye to Miss Molly two weeks ago, I think I knew deep down that this was finally “it” for her.  That she would be happier with Mike and Marla then she could possibly be anywhere else…even with us.

Molly Tamale, you have meant so much to us.  You’re the first (hopefully only!) foster dog who’s carouseled through Foster House twice, and it was quite an emotional journey.  We fell in love with you instantly, and we celebrated when you got adopted even though we knew we’d miss you terribly.  When you came back to us, we were devastated that things didn’t work out for you, but we were secretly thrilled to have you back – even if it was only going to be for a little while. We swore we wouldn’t let you go again unless the absolute perfect family came along for you…

And wouldn’t you know it…they did.

Like I make sure all the dogs who pass through our home know, we will love you forever, and we’ll never forget you.  We’ll always be here if you need us, but I have a feeling you’re not going to.  You’re Home now.



Filed under Our Foster Journey

Molly Tamale – ADOPTED…furever!

I think we found it this time, girl!  The Furever you’ve really been waiting for.  We’ve searched high and low and finally came up with the best home ever for you – and you deserve it!

“Are you sure this time? Don’t tease me!”

Molly’s new People are Mike and Marla.  They lost their beloved family dog, Annie, to old age a year and a half ago.  They were understandably devastated, and needed to take some time before they added another furry member to their family.  This past winter, Marla saw Molly Tamale’s profile online, and that little spot in her heart that had been reserved for puppy love, that had been locked up tight since Annie’s passing, started to crack open.  Unfortunately, Molly got adopted before Marla could inquire about her any further.  Disappointed, she put her dog search on hold.

When Molly recently came up for adoption again, Marla took it as a sign of “meant to be.”  She filled out an application right away, and as soon as Foster Dad and I saw it, our hearts leapt up into our throats.  On paper, Mike and Marla were exactly what we had pictured for Molly!  But, having been wrong before, we wanted to make sure we got it right for Molly this time.  We held our breath and decided that the best place for Molly to show off her real personality would be in the house that she’s used to.  So we dropped the boys at daycare (to eliminate distraction) and invited Mike and Marla over to meet Molly. 

It could not have gone better!

Foster Dad and I have never seen Molly Tamale warm up to a “stranger” like she did with Marla.  As we’ve mentioned before, Molly has an independent streak.  She’s affectionate in her own way, but she rarely seeks out attention.  So when Molly chose, on her own, to go over and lay at Marla’s feet – I knew it was Right.

Molly Tamale showing affection in her own way.

Molly must have felt the puppy love pouring out of Marla’s heart towards her, because she was glued to her for the entire visit. Mike and Marla were both sold, and so was Molly Tamale.  We moved forward with the next step, taking Molly out to their home to we could see where Molly would hang out make sure they had a window.  Check and check!

Molly Tamale seemed as equally smitten with Mike and Marla as they were with her. 

I firmly believe that everything happens for a reason.  Maybe Marla wasn’t truly “ready” for a new dog in her life during Molly’s first go-round at Foster House.  Maybe Molly Tamale wasn’t done exploring the globe yet.  Call it fate, call it destiny, call it divine intervention.  I call it Furever.

Congratulations, Molly Tamale!  We love you forever, and we’ll never forget you.



Filed under Our Foster Journey

Molly Tamale: Ambassadog

Molly Tamale recently had the opportunity to do some community outreach taking part in one of the coolest programs I’ve had the honor of being involved in.  This past spring, Agape Animal Rescue partnered with a relatively new organization called The Crossroads Campus

The Crossroads Campus, a 501(c)3 nonprofit, was founded in Nashville in 2010 to save abandoned animals and transform the lives of disadvantaged people. Our mission is to offer hope and healing, provide jobs and job training, create a supportive residential community for at risk young adults, and find loving homes for abandoned animals by giving individuals who are at risk of poverty and homelessness the opportunity to care for homeless dogs and cats.

In a nutshell, their goal is to help people by helping animals.  Could it be more of a win-win??  Through training people how to train shelter and rescue dogs, the program participants gain confidence, marketable skills and a sense of purpose.  Meanwhile, the dogs become more attractive to potential adopters by getting training and socialization – valuable skills to have under their belt collar when searching for their Furever Home. 

Molly Tamale & Foster Momma

The program that we were involved with is called Caring Connections.  Launched in 2011, Caring Connections is a humane education and shelter-dog training program.  Volunteers take dogs into housing facilities for at-risk youth.  Over six spring Saturday afternoons, Molly Tamale and five other dogs visited the New Visions Youth Development Center, which is the only “hardware secure” facility for adolescent females in Tennessee.  The girls who stay here are 13 – 19 years old, and are basically on their last step before adult incarceration. 

This facility, and this program, are essentially their last chance.

Caring Connections volunteers pose outside the New Visions Youth Development Center.

Because it is a secure facility, we couldn’t bring our phones or cameras into the building, and I can’t share the names of the girls we worked with.  However, I can share a story about one girl who particularly bonded to Molly Tamale.  We’ll call her B.

B is a 15 year old girl who’s been through the ringer.  She didn’t open up a lot about what all she’d been through, but instead listened intently and wide-eyed as Foster Dad and I stood in front of the girls and introduced Molly Tamale and told her story.  We explained how Molly had been bounced around at least six times in her short three years on this earth.  We told them how she was shy, independent and cautious. and once she trusts you, is totally devoted. 

B never took her eyes off Molly Tamale, and when we broke into small groups, B made a beeline for us.  She sat down quietly about arms reach from Molly, and reached slowly and gently towards her, offering the back of her hand for Molly to sniff as the girls had been taught to do.  Molly accepted her hand, sniffed and gave it a little lick.  A smile broke out across B’s face and she said, “She likes me!”  As she reached her hand a little higher towards Molly’s head, Molly’s ears drooped ever-so-slightly and she lowered her head.  B froze and withdrew her hand.  “Someone hurt her once.”

My heart broke in two at that moment.  I don’t know if Molly Tamale has ever had an unloving hand on her in her life – I like the think she hasn’t.  But something in Molly’s behavior struck a chord in B.  I like to think that no one in this world wakes up one day and decides to be “bad” on their own.  The environment and people around us influence everything we do.  Whatever influence over B caused her to do whatever she did to land in New Visions…something hurt her once.

B and Molly Tamale were inseparable for the next five Saturdays.  B was the first of the girls who successfully got Molly to “down,” something even Foster Dad and I have trouble with sometimes.  At the end of the session, B wrote a letter to Molly Tamale’s future Furever Family.

Hi! My name is B__________.  I am a student at New Visions.  Molly was a dog that came with Laura to our doggy 101 sessions.  Molly is a very loving dog.  She is a little protective. She gets attached and she loves her parents. She is a really sweet & is willing to learn new tricks. She likes attention. She would be a good dog for a family. If you adopt her please take good care of her. Show her lots of love! She is a very dependent & smart dog.  Love her bunches. Best, B

I cannot say enough about the value of programs like Caring Connections and ones like it all over the country – especially the ones that work with youth.  Sometimes rather than confiding in a counselor, these kids find it much easier to relate to an animal who has been bounced around, mistreated or unwanted – because they may see themselves the same way.  They’re vulnerable and scared, yet they’re learning kindness and compassion towards animals.  They learn what it means to be a responsible pet owner, including the importance of spay/neuter, decreasing the chance of them being involved in animal cruelty and neglect in the future. They’re introduced to career opportunities in animal related fields, and teach them the skills they need to be successful these areas.

In my perfect world, ever correctional facility in the country would have a dog training program. Programs like Caring Connections, and programs like these:

Lee County Cell Dogs

CCI Prison Trained K-9 Companion Program

Dogs Trained by Prisoners Help the Disabled

Prison Based Dog Training Programs

The Crossroads Campus and their Caring Connections program are still in their infancy.  For more information on how you can get involved, contact their Executive Director Lisa Stetar lstetar [at] prodigy [dot] net.



Filed under Our Foster Journey