Month: February 2016

Sasha, the dog that likes dogs better than people.


“We just wanted a dog.

We went to different shelters because we wanted to rescue a dog.  We felt better about getting a shelter dog because there are a lot of dogs that need homes.

We were in Lake Tahoe in California, and went on a whim and it just kind of worked out that day.  We went to other shelters in the Bay area, which is where we lived at the time.  This was the third or fourth shelter we visited.

We got along really well with Sasha.

When we played outside with him and took him on a walk we just clicked.   I knew he was right for me and my husband.

We were in college at the time and he was right for our lifestyle.

Now that I am in med school, it’s harder to manage our walking schedule.

We did daycare for a while, but now we do it on our own.  I take care of the day and my husband does the evening walks.

The hard thing is that he can be pretty feisty with strangers.  We don’t know where he came from so we don’t know his history.  When he meets strangers he acts really timid and growls.  We are careful about how we handle him with introductions.  It’s not always that easy.  It’s definitely hindered us from having people over to our home.

He’s better with dogs than with people.

We are thinking about working with a trainer to help him deal with people better.”

Isabelle and her sister, the surprise (part 2)


“The worst moment was when we got her, she had fleas.  She got tapeworms from biting and swallowing the fleas.  She almost died from the tapeworms.  She was dehydrated, she couldn’t keep food down and the anti-nausea meds weren’t working.

She lost consciousness in my arms and I thought she was going to die.

They injected her with fluids twice and re-injected her with anti-nausea meds and slowly she began to respond to the drugs and recover.

I always have a good time with her.

Once in late October, I took her on a hiking trip with me and she had the time of her life.  She was fetching sticks down the trail, digging in the dirt and running until she was exhausted.  My boyfriend and I love to hike, so she is a great match.

She’s been a bonding experience; she’s our fur baby.  She makes us feel like are a family, not just a couple.”



Isabelle and her sister, the surprise (part 1)


“My boyfriend and I were looking for a puppy for my best friend for her birthday.   She has a boxer that’s 8 and wanted a companion for her dog as well as herself (for when her dog passes).

She is a maternal person and enjoys caring for others.

She left it up to me to pick out her dog.  She wanted it to be a surprise.

We definitely wanted to get her a rescue.

We found a boxer lab mix and filled out the forms.

A few days before the puppy was supposed to be shipped from Tennessee, the man from the rescue group told me, the puppy had parvo, (a deadly virus) and didn’t survive.

He had a few puppies that weren’t right for her lifestyle, so we told him to hold on to our deposit and we would check back with him.

About a month and a half later he called and said he just got a litter of lab mix puppies.     We saw the photos and decided it was a perfect time to get one for ourselves, too.           We got two sisters.  They get to play together often, living in the same city.

I told her my boyfriend and I were coming to her neighborhood for Bloody Mary’s.   When I got there I asked her to come downstairs and let us in.  She saw her puppy wrapped in a bow and kissed it.  She was overwhelmed with joy and began to cry.  I let her have her moment and then I showed her Isabelle, her puppy’s sister.

It was one of the best moments ever.”


Sam, the dog that was meant to be with Marcia (part 2)


“It took a year to break Sam’s separation anxiety.  He’s not crated now, and he’s okay on his own.

I have those best moments every day.  Like this morning: I got to sleep late.  I looked over and saw him lying on his back, belly up.  Knowing that he trusts me and the process that we went through how much he is healed.

We were both broken in a way.

I was his fourth home in 3 months.

I was adopted too.  I went from the hospital, to foster home, to adopted family.                   Sam and I had a similar journey.

Watching him go from a place of abandonment and lack of trust to a place of real trust and acceptance is an everyday joy.”

Sam, the dog that was meant to be with Marcia (part 1)


“It’s really crazy.  I wanted a dog for 20 years, but job-wise I couldn’t take care of one.

I got laid off and was free-lancing from home.  I was daydreaming of having this imaginary dog.  He went with me wherever I went.

One afternoon I was walking with a friend in Central Park for exercise and I told her, you are going to think I’m a nutcase, but I’ve been having this imaginary dog.  We started laughing and 20 minutes later we came upon a woman sitting on a bench with a puppy that looked like a dandelion of puff.  He was just a little ball of fur.  My friend said, you should ask if you can pet him, so I did.  The next thing I knew I was holding him and petting him.

The woman said, he’s actually up for adoption.

The foster family that had him wasn’t a good fit for several reasons.  The biggest was that he had terrible separation anxiety.  When I picked him up from his foster home, the doorman told me they were gone of long periods of time and he would bark for 10 hours straight.

I had to break him of his separation anxiety.

I started to carry him around in a little chest pouch.  We were together 24/7.  I started the separation very slowly.  I made it into a game.  I would close the bathroom door and open it quickly.  I gave him positive reinforcement and a treat before he had time to get anxious.   I extended the time every day.  I always did it as play to make it less scary and build trust.

I wanted him to know I was always coming back.

The first time I left him alone it was for 4 hours and he cried.”