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Teddy and I with Laura Pople

“Between the attitude toward the dog of those far past centuries and the attitude of today is a vast journey in the direction of kindness and a heart of sympathy.”    Will Judy, 1949

On Valentine’s Day, my husband Rich and I headed into New York City for the Dog Writers Association of America’s Awards banquet. Fittingly, my book, (a true labor of love),  Dog’s Best Friend: Will Judy, Founder of National Dog Week, and Dog World Publisher, had received a Maxwell Medallion nomination in the Reference category. As Judy was highly influential in the establishment of the DWAA back in 1935, and Maxwell Riddle was his protégé, it was quite an honor. Alas, we did not bring home the Maxwell but some stellar connections were made and more books are in progress. One of them a collaboration with Laura Pople, founder of Seer Farms, will share the poignant stories of the people and pets of this special place.


Teddy Meets a Seer Farms Resident


Located in a rural area of New Jersey, Seer Farms was founded in 2009 by Laura and her board, to embrace the mission that our pets are truly family members and no circumstance should ever separate them from us. Seer Farms is a facility that will take in the family cat(s) or dog(s) (and occasional “other” creature) of those in need and care for them until the situation permits pets and people to reunite under one roof.  These pets come to her as the result of military deployments, domestic violence, natural disasters and from pet owners who are going through challenging times and need a hand in caring for their pets until more fortunate circumstances prevail. By offering this unique opportunity, many pets are saved from abandonment and uncertain fates.

I had the opportunity to meet Laura recently when Rich, and dog, Teddy, helped me deliver a collection of donated supplies. During our visit, we met a woman who was there to spend time with two of her dogs that are being cared for by the facility. Deb told us that she had lost her home in Hurricane Sandy, and like many others, still had not fully recovered from that life-changing event of three and a half years ago. Her home is in the process of being raised and when that is complete, she and her dogs will enjoy their special Reunion Day when they hop into her car and take that much-awaited ride home. Deb appreciates these visits but notes that at the end of each, her dogs try to lead her to the car so that they can go home with her. As someone who personally witnessed the devastation of that storm, I can attest to how important this oasis has been for so many.


A Happy Cat Greeting from a Resident Feline


I can’t think of a happier event than the occasion of something like Reunion Day  – having your beloved pet once again by your side,  – having come through the worst of times, and now, ready to provide comfort and support to each other as their journey continues.

In her actions and her life’s work, Laura and her staff and board, have made a major difference in the lives of animals, and the humans who love them. Their work and mission fully embrace what Will Judy wrote so many years ago, “Between the attitude toward the dog of those far past centuries and the attitude of today is a vast journey in the direction of kindness and a heart of sympathy.”

I thank all those who contributed to our Seer Farms supply drive: Maureen Johnson and the Sayer and Schoberg Families, Bonnie Werkmeister, Boy Scout Pack 16 of Pt. Pleasant, NJ, Skittles (the Bichon) Barros and the members of the Junior Auxiliary Unit of American Legion Post 348 in Brick, NJ.

Recovery, Reunion, Renewal….that is the goal of Seer Farms. To read more about this unique sheltering model, its staff and volunteers:


A Sign of Hope

Come join in the fun and hear me speak about writing for the pet-industry and beyond at the Blog Paws Conference in Phoenix, AZ June 23-25.

Teddy dons his lucky March Madness Hat to Help the Huskies to Victory!

Teddy dons his lucky March Madness Hat to Help the Huskies to Victory!


Some Good News from Janice Fisher Patterson!

I hope my NJ friends will help here! Please share if you do.
NJ SENATE BILL (S1870) has been introduced by Sen. James Holzapfel (District 10 – Ocean). It will require pet stores to provide very specific breeder information on each cage card for every animal offered for sale. It will provide a USDA website where buyers can research breeder inspection reports PRIOR TO BUYING A PUPPY.
PLEASE e-mail YOUR SENATOR and ask him/her to co-sponsor S1870.

Tell them that you want pet stores held to a higher standard. Tell them that you want more consumer protection. Tell them that you have a RIGHT TO KNOW where a puppy comes from PRIOR TO PURCHASE.

Please follow these instructions (they are not complicated):

To find your state Senator, click on the link below and find your town from the drop-down box. Once you choose your town, then click on the tab “Select Your Representative(s)” and it will list your one Senator and two Assembly representatives. Check only your “Senator” (as this is a senate bill) and then click on the tab “Select Your Representative(s)” again. An email- page will appear which you can complete and submit.
(cut and paste into browser if needed)

IMPORTANT: If you have time, follow up with a phone call to your senator’s office. Please let me know if you are able to get your senator to either support or co-sponsor the bill by e-mailing me.
Thank you so much,

Janice Fisher
Coordinator Puppy Mill Awareness Campaign

Happy Spring to all. I realize it has been three months since my last post, but it was time to take a little break. Besides, there are like a million plus blogs out there to enlighten and entertain you, and many are written just for dog-lovers like you! Although I was not writing posts…I was writing.

For the past five years, I have been hard at work on two non-fiction projects and happy to say, both will be published this year. As you may have noticed, the name of the working title of the Dog Week book has changed over the years, but it is officially now titled, Dog’s Best Friend: Will Judy, Founder of National Dog Week and Dog World Publisher (McFarland & Co.). This book will be out during the Dog Days of Summer, just a few weeks before National Dog Week enjoys its 86th Observance. I can’t tell you how rewarding this experience has been. When I started this blog in 2010, a book was merely a concept.

The First Draft of my other book, Around the World in 1909: Harriet White Fisher and Her Locomobile (American History Press) will be complete by month’s end and will be available in the Fall of this year! Loved writing this, too. It is the real-life story of Trenton Industrialist, Harriet White Fisher, who took an automobile to places where no car, had ever ventured. It is the ultimate road trip taken by a dynamic woman and her entourage, and I feel so privileged to be the one to tell their story.

My Middle Grade book, When We Fostered Furley (the proposed first book of the Collar and a Dream Series) is just about ready to roll-over, hopefully sometime next month. It will be good to get back to some fiction writing. The follow-up to Something’s Lost and Must be Found is in the works, too,and will eventually make its crate escape.

Last week, a friend, Martin O’Sullivan of the Marty O’ Show! (YFN Radio), announced that he was going to be adding a pet segment to his show. What’s more, he said that I was one of the people who inspired this. That is the ultimate compliment, because as a blogger and an author in a crowded, busy on-line world, it is validating to know that one’s words are impacting others. We will tape a segment tomorrow morning and provide a link as soon as it becomes available. In the future, Marty hopes to be able to talk about issues surrounding our Companion Animals in the Garden State and across the nation. Tomorrow’s taping will discuss some pending legislation that will impact the way dogs are sold in retail shops, and will feature an update from Janice Patterson Fisher, who has been a such an informative and influential guest on this blog.

Our Foster-turned-Furever dog Teddy continues to be our pride and joy. It is amazing that even after a year, his true colors and confidence are still evolving as he enjoys the good life! I thank everyone who has followed our story, and that of the positive power of fostering.

And one more thing, can I just celebrate March Gladness one more time. As a UCONN Grad and Forever Husky, I congratulate Coaches Ollie and Auriemma on their “Double Dog” Victories! Somehow, I think Teddy’s wearing of his lucky hat had something to do with it.

After a winter that felt like a very bad dream, we look forward long walks, and long talks, on-air, on pages of magazine, and anywhere anyone will listen to our stories. Writing is the practice of putting one word in front of the other and hoping some day, all those words come together to inspire and entertain many. I look forward to getting back to posting, launching a new website…and hearing from you all. (will also be available as an e-book).
Please check us out on Facebook:

A little dog named Teddy arrives!

A little dog named Teddy arrives!

For Book Information please see ABOUT!

Happy New Year! For a certain dog I know, it truly was.

Last year at this time, as some might recall, I tried my paw at fostering dogs. As we had lost our beloved PWD, Hooper earlier in the year, I thought it would fill the void of a home that had weathered some difficult times. The dogs would come and go…we would enjoy them for a bit, give them love, see them to safety, and then await our next charge. That is what “we” had planned.

I must say that my husband, Rich, was not sold on this idea. “Danger, Danger, Will Robinson,” I could almost hear him say. He seemed to sense that this could lead to some emotional snags (he is more sensitive than he looks). Me on the other hand?…I said, “Buck up. This will help the dogs…and us, I have it under control, no problem.”

Our first foster, Ginger Snap, a rescue from Appalachia, came and went. She was a cute terrier mix, so insecure that she would fall asleep standing up while perched on our staircase looking out the front door window. Due to great networking, she found a nice home right in town.

And then I saw that picture of Teddy, his real name. I thought he was a Sheep Dog puppy. I asked if I could foster him. He would be easy to place and I would be ready for my next foster! Teddy’s owner could not keep him. She was having some troubles and had to move; it was apparent that there was no time or money to give Teddy the life he deserved.

On January 2nd, we picked him up on I-95, at a Rest Stop on the exit for Great Adventure. Rich was not a happy camper. He said I was on my own that day…but as I left the house for the 45-minute drive, he followed me out the door and commanded me to move over, he was driving. We pulled off into the parking lot and watched as a car came and parked next to us. There he was, that half black, half white face peering through the car window at us. Then he
turned and I saw that flash of white at the end of his beautiful tail.

“Danger, Danger,” I said out loud. He sat and slept on my lap on the way home. When we got into town, Rich pulled into the driveway of an expensive specialty food store where we don’t even shop. “I’ll be right back, the dog
looks hungry.” Teddy watched him intently as he disappeared into the store, his little nose twitching. Looking back, I knew he had our number right then and there.

Teddy was all scraggly looking and so quiet he was almost boring. He slept most of the time. He was being treated for Lyme disease and it turned out, he had a bad tooth that needed to be removed. I think he was also emotionally weary and very sad and confused.

I went through the motions of being a good foster. I found Teddy a home, obtained an adoption contract and a check for the adoption fee, and informed Oodles of Doodles Rescue Collective that I had Foster No. 2 down pat…no problem. I rocked….I could do this!

Oh, but dogs, they do have other plans for us…

It quickly became clear that Teddy was not about to accept the home I had chosen. My neighbor, a dog lover, and one who is loved by dogs, was not being loved by Teddy. For some inexplicable reason, Teddy knew what our plan was, and went on his own personal campaign to literally voice
his opinion.

On her third visit to my home to get to know Teddy, she tearfully told me she could not take him. “Look at Rich’s face,” she said. “He wants this dog and he just won’t accept the dog wants him.” When I asked my husband what he wanted me to do (picture three of sitting around a living
room) he paused and then said, “Tear up her check,” put on his coat and left us to talk. It was quite a Hallmark moment.

I was, and will someday in the future, be a good Foster Dog Parent. I think it’s a terrific concept and if my
husband and I had not gone back to work due to financial necessity, I would still be fostering. Will I run the risk of “acquiring” a sibling for Teddy, yes, but I will run the greater chance of giving a deserving dog, its day, its week, its fur-ever home, too. And that’s what it’s all about.

Today Teddy is a happy, sweet and loving companion. It amazes us that he is still learning how to be a dog. I truly wish that every family could foster even just one dog. You never know how much good it might bring into your life, and you know the good it will bring for that one dog.

Have a safe and happy new year…and take some chances, too.

Teddy gets a brushing from Dad.

Teddy gets a brushing from Dad.


Publishing bark outs:

Happy to announce that my book will be out next spring. My publisher has listed it for pre-order so please share this information with your public and school libraries. An e-version will also be available at some point.

Last Wednesday, I was thrilled to accept my “Best Author” award from Ocean Happening On-Line Magazine at a terrific event

It is always so rewarding to be recognized for your work, and I again thank all of those responsible for this honor. Now, one week later, Teddy and I prepare for our 15-minute segment with Tracie Hotchner for her Radio Pet Lady Network, a prize that was won by Teddy when he was voted Cutest Spokespet. Although one prepares for interviews with care, once the interview begins, you never know where it will go. Therefore, I asked Teddy, “What would you say if you could be interviewed?” and this is what he wrote. (The actual interview will air the evening of November 27th, while most are preparing for Thanksgiving feasts).

Hi everyone,

I would like to thank you all for electing me Cutest Spokespet in the fun contest sponsored by the Radio Pet Lady, Tracie Hotchner. The competition sure was fur-ocious, with so many adorable contestants!

Mom loves that photo of me that she entered on Tracie’s site (see above) because she says my expression shows everyone how sweet and soulful I am. She calls me her, “stray that came to stay.” I wasn’t a stray roaming the streets, but a pet that had strayed from the physical and emotion care of my humans; they just couldn’t provide the time and attention I needed.

I was Mom’s foster dog, rescued by a group called Oodles of Doodles Rescue Collective, when one of their dedicated volunteers learned I was losing my home. After just a few days of staying with my foster parents, however, it became clear we were all looking at a long-term commitment. I never left.

My mom, by-the-way, is dog-blogger and author, Lisa Begin-Kruysman. Many have enjoyed her short story collection, Something Lost and Must be Found, which is filled with thought-provoking tales filled with dogs. Her next book, Dog’s Best Friend (McFarland & Co.-2014), tells the true-story of Captain William Lewis Judy, the man who published Dog World Magazine for five decades.

Captain Will Judy, as he was called, greatly influenced America’s current fascination with man’s best friend. In the 1940s and 50s, he condemned all those involved with organized dog-fighting, warned that dogs should not be sold like grocery items in a store, and spoke out against what he called “puppy factories,” now known as Puppy Mills.

In 1928, Will Judy launched National Dog Week as a means to officially acknowledge all the ways dogs serve mankind, and to urge humans to be more responsible for our welfare. One of the early slogans for National Dog Week was ‘A Good Home for Every Dog,’ but over the years, Will Judy came to the conclusion that not every home was a good one for a dog. He began to write about the spiritual and emotional lives of dogs, and asked those who wished to share their homes with us, to understand and respect those needs.

My mom says that when people say to her, “How could anyone give up such a cute little dog?” she reminds them that sometimes life gets hard and bad things happen; people get sick, lose their jobs, get deployed to serve our nation; hurricanes and floods ruin homes and businesses. She knows it must have been very sad for my humans to surrender me, but she says that they were being truly responsible in allowing me to have a better life with another family.

Will Judy said the only thing that kept dogs from being equal to humans was their lack of thumbs, and an “alfabet” (he liked to spell silly). He thought most dogs had better characters than most humans! As a young man, was trained to be his town’s minister, and they were not too pleased when life took him in another direction around the world. But his training never really left him, and you can see this influence in his inspirational messages such as, “Try to be the god on earth, the all-powerful and all-mighty your dog thinks you are. Never let him learn his mistake.”

As you all prepare for Thanksgiving, and the holiday season, please take time to be thankful for what is good in your life, be the best human you can be, and, most importantly, remember to save some leftovers for us (and then take us for long walks). Thank you again for all your votes and love.

With much gratitude,

Teddy Kruysman

P.S. Mom says to check out her blog’s ‘About’ section, her Facebook page, dedicated to National Dog Week, and her author’s page, to find out about all her writing news, books, and good “dog stuff!” Please remember to LIKE those pages, too!

Teddy strikes a reflective pose

Teddy strikes a reflective pose

Before I present some special guest posts, I just wanted to relay that our dog, Teddy, the foster who came to stay, is settling in just fine. This sweet little dog has brought us so much joy. Teddy is a three year old shih poo who was surrendered by his owner. Some people upon hearing this ask, “How could someone do that?” I prefer to think that someone made a difficult decision and cared more about their pet’s long term care and made the right choice.

Today I was watching a segment on a local cable news station called, “The Pet Stop.” Its host, Dr. Brian Voynick, was interviewing a guest who had brought in an adorable dog in need of a home. He took this opportunity to suggest that someone might want to foster this little dog until his fur-ever home was found. It was nice to hear this option presented to his viewers. Hats off to Dr. Voynick.

Later, I received an e-mail from Jan Todd, a very dedicated foster dog-mom from the state of South Carolina. She asked if I might share this note from her friend Rhonda Sims from the Freedom Train Rescue Transport.
It reminds everyone that many times life presents us with difficult circumstances and we have to make tough decisions. I said I would be happy to share Rhonda’s story.

Here is what Rhonda wrote.

Sometimes a person has no choice but to surrender their pet.

Meet Shiloh. Her dad is a young guy who lives near me. I’ve seen this 20-something young man on many occasions with his dog Shiloh, and I know he loves her dearly. I’ve also had him [Shiloh’s owner] come to me after catching a feral kitten and taming it so that it wouldn’t die, and ask that I place it.

Well, he came to me the other day in a panic. Several months ago he had decided to serve his country and they had called him to come the following week. He said he was sorry, that he didn’t mean to wait until the last minute to try and place Shiloh. I knew why…it was because he loves her and didn’t want to say goodbye.

And what was I supposed to say to this great young guy who wanted to do the right thing by his dog and his country?? On many occasions I would have had to say the unthinkable, due to there never being enough FOSTER HOMES. But, thank the good Lord, last week one of my wonderful Freedom Train volunteers said that she was ready to foster again after having to say goodbye to her beloved dog.

I was going to send Martin [another homeless dog] to her, but as it turned out I was able to transport him this weekend and he didn’t need a foster. So I called Stacy [another volunteer] and she agreed not only to foster Shiloh until I could place her, but to meet this guy at my vet’s office that morning to pick her up.

God is so good. He always provides when we trust in Him. I promised Shiloh’s dad that she would be in great hands, and thanked him for serving his country. My country. Taking Shiloh, who is a real sweetheart, was nothing compared to that.

On a final post note, my friend Judith Ayn Sobel, of Poway California, wrote to say that a portion of a previous National Dog Week blog post had been shared in Paw Prints magazine published by the folks at the incredible Baja Animal Sanctuary.

That made my day. Thank you Judith! Here is the excerpt:

“When you foster a dog or a pup (or cat), you become the CEO, administrator and head bottle washer of your own personal shelter. No cages, no stress, no loneliness. You are offering the most home-like sheltering situation possible for a displaced, scared animal.

Through your time with your foster pet, you can see them blossom. You help with their training, assess their temperament and give them emotional and physical care they cannot receive in a crowded shelter facility and their placements in their adoptive homes work because they are the result of good matches. By taking a dog or pup out of one of those facilities, you are freeing up a spot so that another pet can have a second chance at life.”

Remember that transporting, fostering and adoption are rewarding ways to help homeless Companion Animals, but we need to also find a way to reduce their population through the implementation and support of Spay and Neuter Initiatives and to encourage people not to purchase dogs from retail outlets. Many of those poor dogs find themselves homeless due to poor emotional or physical health. As our good friend animal advocate Willie Wonka of Project Pets – Spay, Neuter, Love, often says, “We can’t rescue our way out of this mess.”

Congratulations to all of those who foster, transport and work to improve the welfare of our homeless Companion Animals. Everyone can offer something. No action or effort is too small.

Teddy uses a box of chocolates as a pillow!

Teddy uses a box of chocolates as a pillow!

This will be a quick post and the “last” in the series of fostering begun last month. I am happy to report that Teddy (also known as Ch. Theodore Ruxpin of Midstreams Manor, voted Best-in-Deed by his new family) is adapting to his new home with us. Many of you may know that Teddy came to me as my second foster and never left!

When you foster a dog or a pup (or cat), you become the CEO, administrator and head bottle washer of your own personal shelter. No cages, no stress, no loneliness. You are offering the most home-like sheltering situation possible for a displaced, scared animal.

Through your time with your foster pet, you can see them blossom. You help with their training, assess their temperament and give them emotional and physical care they cannot receive in a crowded shelter facility and their placements in their adoptive homes work because they are the result of good matches. By taking a dog or pup out of one of those facilities, you are freeing up a spot so that another pet can have a second chance at life.

I hope to return to Fostering this summer. I have met some great humans in this process, too, and love to see the “Going Home” photos they post each time a family happily welcomes a new family member. I thank Lynne Fowler and her hardworking group, Oodles of Doodles Rescue Collective, in New Jersey for working with me. If you have become curious about Fostering, please feel free to contact me for referral.

Ruff Ramblings:

The other day I saw a news story about something called, “Thank Dog Boot Camp,” where humans and their dogs get a great work out together. I have seen similar programs, but I would love to see that offered here in Brick Township on one of our refurbished beaches or a place like Windward Park.

Recently I saw author Darlene Arden post about the work of scientists who are using dogs to detect cancer in humans. Years ago I interviewed a researcher at the Pine Street Foundation in San Francisco about their own work on this topic after watching a show about Portuguese water dogs that were being trained for cancer detection. Good stuff!

Congratulations to the state of New Hampshire on their progress made on behalf of man’s best friend!

All very exciting and further promoting the rich dog-human bond that benefits both in so many ways~

In closing, I share these words from Foster Extraordinaire, Jan Todd on her sensitive views on Fostering.

Notes from a Dog Foster Mom

I am constantly being asked the question,” how do you foster dogs?” “I would have to keep them all.”

After fostering about 50 dogs in the past 4 years, I can truthfully answer, it’s not easy but it is so very heartwarming. I treat each foster as if they are my own. I love them but do not fall in love with them. Sometimes I’m a nurse for a doggie with a cold, sometimes I’m helping rehabilitate an abused dog, socialize traumatized pooch, or nurse an injured dog back to health. The length of fostering time varies per dog. I have had some for a week, others for months. Whatever the reason they are visiting with me, it’s to save a life. If foster parents didn’t step up many lives could be lost.

Have I ever been a “foster failure?” (A foster failure is what the world of fostering refers to when you adopt your foster.) I did adopt my once foster, Macie. She was paralyzed and all broken up, thought to never walk again. After months of surgeries, patience and most of all love, Macie now runs like the wind! Sometimes, there is one you just can’t let go.

When it is time for them to go, tears are always shed. These are tears that I do not regret shedding. Most all of time my fosters are on their way to their new adoptive homes so, a very large smile is always added to the tears. When my job is done, I’m ready for the next dog as there is always another one waiting for help.

They come and they go.

Thank you Jan.


My little dog – a heartbeat at my feet. ~Edith Wharton

The season of love and dog shows intermingles once again this February and we are again reminded of how passionate the human dog bond can be. I have friends and colleagues who breed and show dogs, friends who foster and rescue them and others who advocate tirelessly for their welfare. I commend those who have their hearts in the right place and always strive to do the best for all dogs and proceed with the most humane motives.

As I edit a chapter about Will Judy’s take on the world of dog showing, he never waivered from his message that a spirit of kindness toward dog and fellow human were the goals of any event that showcased dogs. An astute breeder of dogs and dog show judge, Judy never forgot that all venues that celebrated the canine should bring out the best in all of our actions and words. He never took things too serioulsy and saw the value in all kinds of dogs whether purebred or mixed.

May all organizations that purport to be FOR dogs actually take responsibility for their words and actions and always do the right thing. Good luck and love to all this Valentine’s Day.

Here is the second part of my interview with Lynne Fowler who represents the Oodles of Doodles Rescue Collective. Each week it warms my heart to see her group find the most wonderful homes for so many dogs who got the second chance they so deserved.

How is a prospective match for each dog made? Is there a pool of applicants? How are they screened? Our VA Partner or the foster mom will help write the ads we place based on the personality of what they know about the dog. An ad is placed on Petfinder and Adopt-a-Pet and we ask for applications. Every app that comes in is screened by me and if looks close to what we asked for in the ad, it is sent to the foster mom. She will call and interview over the phone and if she likes them for that dog, she will arrange a meeting. She will check references from the application and meet the family at their home. If there is a distance involved, we ask someone we know, maybe another foster in another area if they can do the home visit.

Why do you think so many people are reluctant to foster? I think most people are afraid they will get too attached and feel the need to keep the dog. And, it does happen sometimes. But in general, it is such a good feeling to foster a dog, know where he came from and then see him off to his own life. It is very rewarding, even addicting. I miss having a new little one, when it has been awhile between fosters.

When they do, what are they most surprised to learn from their experience? I think they are amazed at how good it does feel. Seeing pictures of their foster learning and loving their new family, is a wonderful thing.

Many shelters do not offer a dog or pup a comfortable or safe experience due to over crowding and lack of funds. How can a foster home improve a dog’s potential to be adopted? How do the animals benefit physically and emotionally? Many shelters do nothing for a dog in it’s care until an adoption or rescue is taking that dog. Matted, hurt doesn’t matter. I have read stories of dogs sitting in shelters with broken bones and nothing done until volunteers spread the word and a rescue steps up to take that poor dog. Dogs in shelters are afraid, it is loud and cold there. The look in their eyes says it all. Many times, a dog will growl or snap out of fear, and then is labeled an aggressive dog. He will not be seen by adopters in this case. Some shelters are “hell holes” and dogs don’t stand a chance of living through their ordeal there. Some shelters have wonderful volunteers who tirelessly work to network and call attention to the dogs in their shelter. Facebook has been a huge help in calling attention to bad, even corrupt, shelters; to dogs who need help, and to unite rescues.

Once a dog is pulled from a shelter, he is vetted, quarantined and then transported to the rescue. His true personality comes out in a loving foster home. I know in my home and with my pack, the foster dog starts to come out of his shell by day 2 or 3. You can almost see them blossom as they learn to trust. Their first meal of “real” chicken and rice is like a dream and by the third day, they are sitting with the pack waiting for dinner. I love seeing this. The fearful dog starts to relax, even play. It is one of the most rewarding parts of doing this.

With so many puppies needing homes, how can Spay and Neuter initiatives be improved in the regions in which these dogs originate? Many Southern towns do not have mandatory rabies or leash laws, as we have here in the Northeast. Dogs are born, live their entire lives running loose, around the town or property or wander the woods. There is no uniform laws anywhere in this country and under most law codes, dogs are considered “property.” Establishing property is hard when it is an animal who has only been coming and going by whim. Many end up in kill shelters as strays and no-one comes for them. It is a pretty sad story for a majority.

Pushing for mandatory spay/neuter is difficult as there is still a “good ole boy” attitude in many areas and neutering is believed to somehow affect “manhood,” I guess. The only initiatives I know of, usually generate from local rescues who harp awareness and in the case of feral cats, there are many groups who Trap, Neuter and Release.

Does a portion of an adoption fee go toward a S/N fund? Do you find the veterinarians of the region are willing to step up to the plate and help with S/N efforts? All our fees go toward vetting, transporting and caring for the dogs in our care. We do not have a separate S/N fund, it is all vetting and needed. Here is the Northeast, S/N is very expensive, compared to down South. The same dog I can have spayed in Virginia for $125, will cost $500 at my vet, which is why I have dogs vetted before they come. Our rescue vets around the state and nation, will give us a Rescue Discount, but it is usually about 15% and it’s still less to have the vetting done in the South. There are a few clinic type places, like Monmouth County SPCA and Friends of Animals, that do spay/neuter for a lot less, but generally our S/N is done before the dogs arrive.

How can more people be encouraged to give fostering a try? What would you say to a family who may want to get into fostering? It is very hard to find volunteers. We talk about it, advertise, show happy “Go Home Pictures” but most people have their preconceived notions that it will be hard to do or hard to give up the dog. But it is so needed.

What are some of the greatest expenses you face in caring for dogs that Oodles Rescues? Our main expense is vetting. Many Southern dogs have NEVER had any vetting. All need to be wormed. All need to be heartworm tested. All need rabies and vaccinations. 99% need to be S/N. In 2011, we had over $20,000 in vetting. I am still working on 2012 bills, but know we surpassed that.

Do you think school systems can help incorporate what you do in their Character Ed Programs. Have you seen this done? There are programs coming into schools to read with children and other things. But, I have seen where it is hard to get school boards to agree to the program for a variety of reasons like allergies. The dogs need to be certified as Therapy dogs and poodles are a great choice as it gets around the allergy problem. I would love to see more programs offered, especially in inner cities as the prevalence of a dog fight culture, exists.

Many libraries have a read to a dog program now, too.

If some can not foster, is there a way they can help? Most rescues are small and run by just a few individuals, so there aren’t many “jobs” to be done. Each foster mom runs their own fosters, process their apps and their Foster “Business.” Larger shelters are always looking for volunteers to help walk the dogs and such, but I know with the Monmouth County Shelter, there is a training class needed. The major need, as long as the condition of unwanted pets remains the way it is, is a loving foster home.

This puppy, recently rescued and fostered and placed through Oodles of Doodles appears to have some musical talents!

This puppy, recently rescued, fostered and placed through Oodles of Doodles Rescue Collective appears to have some musical talents!

In this post we return to our series on the Fostering of dogs and puppies. As many of you know, I have fostered two dogs through this program since the beginning of the year. One sweet little terrier-mix went to a home on the other side of town and the other, well, let’s just say he didn’t go too far! More on that in my next post. The mantra of National Dog Week has always been, “Responsible Dog Ownership,” with a goal to give every dog the kind of loving home they truly deserve. I hope that some of you reading will give Fostering serious consideration. Please feel free to contact me with any questions:

The following is Part One of my interview with Lynne Fowler of Oodles of Doodles Rescue Collective.

Please tell us a little about yourself. I am a teacher of social studies in an inner city alternative high school. I taught at the high school for 10 years and moved to the Alt School 3 years ago. I am a mom to 18 year old twin boys who are in college, are Eagle Scouts and New Firefighters. I am a wife of 20 years and doggie mom to 4 Doodles and several fosters and unadoptable Forever Fosters.

Why did you become involved in the fostering and rescue of dogs? After my beautiful black Standard poodle, Magic, was killed by tainted dog food in December of 2006, I wanted another pooch and thought it would take a long time to find one so I put out feelers for a white poodle and was contacted within a week to take a Labradoodle from a hoarding situation in Philadelphia. I had no idea what a Labradoodle was in 2006 but fell in love with the “breed” and soon had a second doodle from the same rescuer.

Hooked on how much time, patience and love it took to get my rescued doodles to love and trust, I started posting and blogging about rescuing dogs on a couple social forums. Tainted dog food, what’s really in dog foods, the plight of beautiful full breed dogs waiting for families in kill shelters and issues with bringing home a rescued dog were favorite topics. I began a feature on a couple Doodle Social Forums called “Rescued Doodles” where we discussed these and many other issues and then added a listing called “Doodles in Need,” where we listed doodles looking for homes in shelters around the United States and Canada. I had befriended a couple gals and we became friends and very involved with this listing service. It soon became apparent that the listings were too large to be within another website, so we decided to move it to its own site. The website, was born on Jan 19, 2009. When I purchased the website and url’s, I had no idea what was involved to running a website but quickly learned what it took to make one successful. Today, the website has 5000 members and is placed very high in a google search for people looking to adopt or learn about doodles of all mixes.

As a rescue, we began to pull dogs from shelters and find homes for them in June of 2009 but after in less than a year, the partnership dissolved and I reorganized, with the help of some wonderful people, under the name Oodles Of Doodles Rescue Collective, in May of 2010. We incorporated in the state of NJ in Nov 2010 and achieved 501(c)(3) Non-Profit status after one year of incorporation. (My ex-rescue partner has made allegations against me but none are true. The proof to her deception can be found at:

As a rescue, to date, we have rescued or helped to rescue over 400 dogs. The majority were from Southern Kill Shelters that we tagged, pulled, vetted, transported, fostered and found wonderful homes.

What is the mission of Oodles of Doodles Rescue Collective? Oodles of Doodles, Inc Rescue Collective is a not-for-profit rescue devoted to rescue, foster and finding loving permanent homes for Oodle Dogs: Poodle-mixes, Doodles: Labradoodles, Goldendoodles, Cockapoos, Schnoodles and Fuzzy Terriers from shelters, other rescues and rehome situations.

Who are your officers or major volunteers? How large is your group? Kelly Allen, Gail Reese, Dennis Fowler, Sharon Parlatti, Adrienne Shapiro, Lisa Elmo are the main decision makers and of course, myself. There are a few others I rely on as a sounding board, trustees, if you will.

From where do your dogs to be fostered originate (regional areas)? Most of our dogs come from Southern Kill Shelters, Owner Surrenders and Rehomes. We pull from as far South as South Carolina and as far West as Missouri.

What are the circumstances surrounding most of these unhomed pups and dogs? Many are strays, some surrendered, some rehomes

How do they get from one region to here? We are approved to transport from several volunteer transport groups and will use a paid transport when needed. We also have a retired gentleman who drives between our VA partners and us.

How long does a foster dog typically stay with its foster family? The average stay is a few weeks to a few months. I have a few unadoptables at my home as they are fearful, abused and biters. I work with them, love them and if they need to stay forever, they will.

What are typical costs to the foster family? What happens if a dog needs medical attention during the Foster period? There shouldn’t be any costs to the foster except for maybe food. The rescue covers all vetting, grooming and costs. I will even send food via PetFlow if needed. Fosters submit receipts or oftentimes they will call me from the vet or groomer and I pay over the phone with the rescue credit card.

What is the typical adoption fee? How is this established? Why is there a fee? Our adoption fees are based on the age, breed and vetting needed. Puppies generally are $250 up to $425 is the highest we ever charge. Sometimes we have helped to rehome a dog and have asked for a bit higher as one had extensive therapy dog training and another had extensive behavior training. The extra went to cover the charges to the trainer. But generally, $250 to 425 is what we ask.

There is an adoption fee to help offset costs and enable us to save the next one. However, there are many times when the adoption donation can never cover costs. I had a HW+ Pomeranian who came from SC awhile ago and not only did I not know she was HW+ when I tagged her, but her papers said she was already spayed and she was not. Her heartworm treatment and spay cost the rescue over $1500. Another was a dog with a broken leg that had healed incorrectly. The surgery to fix her leg was $3200.

All our dogs, except for young puppies, are fully vetted before going home. They are spayed or neutered, given all their shots, a Health Certificate is required for transport and grooming. Puppies are wormed and go through their 3 rounds of puppy shots. Puppies who cannot be spayed or neutered will be adopted on a S/N Contract and a deposit that is returned when the family sends us the certificate showing the pup was fixed. We follow up to ensure this is done as we do not want to have more unwanted dogs in the world.

Thank you Lynne. We will pick up on this last item in Part Two of our interview…

"Gbear" Goes home

“Gbear” Goes home

We are happy to hear the news that our little foster pup Gingerbread is resting happily with her new human and answers to Ginger in honor of a carbo-free name and her healthy new start in the new year! I look forward to seeing her when her little “bear cub” face gets fuzzy again. She was so matted when she was found; they had to shave her muzzle.

I am heartened and impressed by the way these foster dogs all come to find new starts in happy and safe homes. It always strikes me that much like their human counter parts, some puppies are born wanted even before they enter the world. Some are fortunate and live a happy life with their original owners, some start out okay, but life and circumstances change and they fall upon an uncertain future. Some are abused outright, others neglected. Some wander form home and no one bothers to look for them, yet others are deliberately dumped on highways, in parks or outside of overcrowded shelters.

Each homeless dog has a unique and moving story; unfortunately, those trying to help them can never truly know what they have gone through. Those who rescue just do their best to heal the physical and emotional “baggage” they inherit.

When I brought Ginger to her new home, I managed to keep it together. My “Foster Coach” who walked me through my first delivery even mentioned how calm and cool I was for a newbie. I was, until I got into my car and fell apart for a moment.

Because of personal reasons and travel, I figured I would give fostering a rest until the springtime. But as fate would have it, another photo of an owner surrendered dog caught my eye and my heart just jumped a beat. With a quick “PM” on Facebook, I was back in the running. As I write, I am hoping to welcome a lovely three-year old terrier mix into my home for my second fostering experience. I will share this in my next post.

Coincidentally, a friend on Facebook had just completed her first fostering experience. I asked Pat Needham, an Animal Advocate from Kentucky, to share her experience, too.

“I work with a rescue group in Morehead (Rowan County), Kentucky. Their name is S.T.A.R., Saving the Animals of Rowan. I mainly do fundraising. Recently we had several small dogs rescued from a puppy mill. When it was posted that the little dogs were cold in the kennel and fosters were needed, I couldn’t not foster. I had never fostered before. When Midnight, a black Chihuahua was brought to me she was very afraid and loved to be held. I had her for three weeks and she had just started coming out of her shell when she left for Pennsylvania. She was adopted by a family and I saw a picture of her with her family and it was so wonderful to see her just being a dog. She was pictured with another dog and lying on the man’s leg, just relaxing. It was one of the best things I did in 2012. To have a small part in seeing a dog that was scared become a happy being. I would and will foster again. Every rescue group is in need of fosters.”

Thank you Pat for sharing.

In the fostering process of Ginger, the experience literally brought me over to the other side of town where I “discovered” a neighborhood I did not know existed. After saying goodbye to my little friend, I was in need of a little drive time. I wandered through a hilly section of town where gracious homes stood on high points with beautiful views of the river and beyond. How could I live in a place for almost 17 years and not have ever known about these parts?

This spoke to me on many levels. In doing something new and a little “challenging” such as fostering a dog, my world expanded in different ways. What other new places, people or “things” are we capable of discovering, if we allow ourselves to wander off the beaten path once in a while?

Happy new vistas to you all.

Gingerbread 014

“She had no particular breed in mind, no unusual requirements. Except the special sense of mutual recognition that tells dog and human they have both come to the right place.” Lloyd Alexander – American Author of Children’s Literature (1924-2007)

Decorating the house a few weeks before Christmas, I came upon my Hooper’s original Christmas stocking. As many know, Hoops was our beautiful Portuguese water dog born just two days after Christmas. In late August we lost her when she passed quickly from illness at age ten.

My first instinct was to pack her stocking away, but instead, I hung it in the window near our Christmas tree so she could continue to be part of our celebration. This got me thinking of something I had said to her just before she passed, “When the time is right, send mom and dad a little fur-angel to make us happy.”

Over the past three years, I have had the good fortune to come to meet many people from all areas of “Dogdom,” in researching my book chronicling the history of National Dog Week. I have interviewed groomers, trainers, dog-centric authors, a pet psychic, doggy fashionistas, rescuers, transporters, Spay and Neuter Advocates and those in the therapy and service industries. I also came to know those who are active in the Fostering world; individuals who take dogs and puppies from high kill shelters and transport them to temporary homes before they are rehomed.

I had always wanted to foster, but unfortunately, our Hooper did not love other dogs and was extremely jealous. She would have made life for a foster quite unbearable. I had often found myself saying, “I will foster in a few years when our Hoops is no longer with us.” When fate changed that, I thought the time had come to explore the world of fostering in a personal way.

I told Lynne Fowler of Oodles of Doodles Rescue Collective that I was ready to give it a try. Lynne is a school teacher in Monmouth County, NJ who founded her organization in 2009. She told me to keep an eye on the puppies and dogs that were ready to make their journey and to let her know. I chose my pup (or she chose me) when I saw a picture of a little terrier mix named Gingerbread who was in Virginia.

When my husband saw the photo of Gingerbread, he said, “Are you sure that’s a dog?” With her shaved muzzle, and wild russet-hued hair, people told me she looked like a bear cub, a red fox and even an opossum.

Rich and I collected Gingerbread and her friend Suri on I-95 the day after Christmas in a wild rain storm. She had made her journey with several other dogs on Christmas Day. Ginger sat way back in her crate looking at me with her big soulful eyes. Suri, an absolutely gorgeous Havi/Malti mix tried to play with my fingers and kept kissing my hand. I sat and sang to them as we made the forty-five minute trek home. I had once read that puppies loved silly songs with their names included in the verses and that this calmed them. These two got the same song with their names inserted!

I am going to stop here and continue with my fostering experience in my next post. I will let you know that I only had the pleasure of Gingerbread’s company for less than three days before she was placed, and yes, we did become attached in that short time. Be it 48 hours, four weeks or four months, the ultimate goal of Fostering is to save the life of a homeless animal. While this may not be emotionally easy, I will tell you that just knowing you did that will make up for any sense of loss you may feel when you surrender “your” dog.

There are so many dedicated people who have fostered hundreds of dogs, sometimes five to twenty at a time, so I ask them to forgive my “newbieishness,” (new word I made up) and understand that I use my blog as a platform to introduce those who are not as active in the dog-world to new avenues of understanding (at least I hope I do) and create awareness. I write with the hopefulness that if even one person sees things in a new perspective, I have made an impact.

There is a complex network of individuals involved in the process of Rescue and Fostering and in a subsequent post I will talk more about the “technical” aspects of fostering and introduce you to some of the dedicated individuals involved in an interview with Lynne Fowler.

For now, I wish everyone a very Happy New Year. We here at the Jersey Shore, as in many other places in the nation and world, truly look forward to a restorative period, appreciating what we are left with, hopefully learning from our errors and finding new ways to make life better for mankind and our companion animals.

You can help by leaving comments, sharing and perhaps thinking about how you can make your own contribution.

Rest, Revive, Restore, Recreate, Rescue and reap the rewards.


"Is it dog week yet?"

"Is it dog week yet?"

Michelle Mongelli and Wheezey

Pike, at Geiger Key

Hooper in the Keys

Hooper in the Keys

“Two Culprits” by Steven Hall

Logan & Koda


DJ Goes to Westminster

Zac and Cooper

"Look daddy, I can fly!"

“Hooper” – Best in Snow

Pita in Matt’s Garden

Hooper with cousin Roxy, Summer 2009

Me and my “Hoop”