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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…

Chuck Sambuchino, Author of Red Dog-Blue Dog

Chuck Sambuchino, Author of Red Dog-Blue Dog

Finally a book for dog owners coping with politically inclined pooches!

Finally a book for dog owners coping with politically inclined pooches!

I want to thank those who helped out on the occasion of my 2nd Annual On-Line Birthday Wish Fund for Laura Pople of Seer Farms held last Sunday. I recently learned that Laura has been appointed to serve on a new long term Hurricane Sandy Recovery Committee. I think this was a great choice as Laura knows how to get things done for both humans and their Companion Animals. If you wish to contribute to Seer Farms, here is their link.

Also, I extend a huge thanks to Lynne Fowler and her terrific group Oodles of Doodles Rescue Collective. They have placed several dogs already in the new year, including mine, an adorable little Shih Poo named Teddy that I was supposed to foster but instead he captured our hearts and now calls this place his home. My interview with Oodles and my own “Foster Failure” experience will be presented shortly. Although I have failed, I do hope to return to fostering in the spring!

In honor of the Inauguration of our President, I present a post that was supposed to run in late October through election day. Due to certain catastrophic weather events, it remained stored on my computer. Today, I thought it would be fun to present Chuck Sambuchino and his book on canine politics. The following is a brief, but fun interview with the author:

Please tell us a little about your background in the writing industry. I work for Writer’s Digest Books in Cincinnati. I edit the GUIDE TO LITERARY AGENTS as well as the CHILDREN’S WRITER’S & ILLUSTRATOR’S MARKET. I love working for WD and helping people get published. I love writing about the craft and business of writing. And I like writing my own humor books, too. I eat, sleep and breathe this stuff, and have for years. If people want to know more about, simple things to do is to find me on Twitter (@chucksambuchino), befriend me on Facebook, or check out my website

Why do you enjoy writing in the Humor genre? Do you find it a challenge keeping up with writing about the Agenting Industry? I’ve always been a sarcastic guy — I wasn’t class clown, but I was runner up. (But I’m not bitter! No way!) Writing humor books gives me an outlet to make people laugh besides my wife. Writing humor is also nice because humor books are often bought as gifts. It’s interesting to see how your writing is given as a gift all over the country. Everyone loves to laugh.

Writing about the agenting business is tough because it’s always in flux. Agents retire; new ones pop up. Nowadays, with the rise of e-publishing and the slow evolution of the role of agents, I need to know what’s going on more than ever.

What inspired Red Dog, Blue Dog? My wonderful and flabby dog, Graham. Since I got him five years ago, I’ve become known as “that dog guy” by people at work because I talk about him too much. I also talk about politics too much. Mixing the two was my wife’s idea. That’s how RED DOG / BLUE DOG was born.

Tell us about your own experience as a dog “owner.” Graham is the best. He does absolutely nothing but beg for treats and we love him anyway. I can’t believe that I fought my wife on getting a dog for years. His addition to the home has been so wonderful for us in the past five years. He has also put quite a dent in our savings due to his penchant of nonstop eating…

Many former US Presidents knew that dogs were a powerful resource when attracting good press and Good Will. Do you think President Obama is using his full “Bo-tential?” No. Lots of people are dog owners, and Bo is ripe for being used as a zinger or punchline in a debate.

Do you think a dog can ever be President and if so, what qualities would make them a good leader of our nation? You would need a dog who understands the canine middle class. This dog would have to find a way to get more parks for running and bathroom time. This dog would have to promise to lower taxes on milkbones. This dog would have to explain that we should be rewarding Americans who give more belly rubs, not outsourcing those belly rubs to China. I could go on and on about this…

Thank you Chuck. I apologize for the delay in posting this, but I’ve learned to “roll-over” with the punches and go with the storm surge! Best of luck to you with all your writing ventures and thank you for the help you provide for so many authors.

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”