{A Foster Dog Update: Featuring the Adorable Charsi!}

Charsi has been adjusting wonderfully here at home and now that her stitches have been removed, she’s officially geared up to find a forever family. Her and Betty White are getting along well (when Betty isn’t getting hit in the face by Charsi’s wagging tail), so she’d definitely do well in a home with other pets. She’s definitely changed a lot in behavior and demeanor since we picked her up her nearly two weeks ago—it’s crazy to think that she was listed as “fearful,” because she couldn’t be any friendlier now that she has warmed up to us.

Whoever ends up taking Charsi home will definitely get lots of love, but until then, we are happy to give her Beggin’ Strips and belly rubs. If you know of anyone who might be interested in adopting Charsi, please comment below and we’ll set up a date!

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Two Sweet, Healthy Cats in Urgent Need of New Home

Not to get all Sarah McLachlan on you all lately, but I have another critter-related favor to ask. My friend’s charming ex-husband is threatening to put two adorable, healthy cats down if they are not rehoused within the next several weeks. Yes, seriously. She is unable to take them where she lives, so we are on the hunt for friendly cat lovers in the Philadelphia area who are looking for some four-legged friends to call their own.

Meet Derby (left), a three-year-old cat who eats a lot and loves pets. His friend Crash (right), a five-year-old, is declawed in the front and affectionate when given lots of love. Both rescued cats are super friendly, with no previous health problems. If you know someone who might be interested in adopting one or both of these cute critters, please comment or message me!

I have cuddled with these cats in the past (and I pet them both with a stick/remote control like Ned in Pushing Daisies because I’m incredibly allergic) and can vouch for their cuteness. No healthy cat deserves to be euthanized (especially out of spite), so please help me out in spreading the word so these guys can be given the happy, stable environment they deserve.

Seriously, how can you resist these faces? So. cute.

Meet Charsi: Our First Foster

This past Saturday, Pete and I made our way down to the Animal Care & Control Team (ACCT) in Philadelphia with Betty White in tow. As soon as we opened the doors, the place was packed to the brim with pets in serious need. It was unstomachable how many pet owners were giving up on their dogs or cats. The volunteers at the front desk were telling people that if they dropped off their pet, they would have to be euthanized due to major overpopulation, but the pets kept streaming in. We were looking forward to finding the perfect fit for our first foster dog, so we filled out some paperwork and began touring around.

One of the volunteers pointed out a dog named Mariah, who was recovering from several major surgeries, one of which she had the day prior. As much as we were smitten with a certain a shar pei named Broddy Bell, we knew it was likely he would find a home much easier since wrinkly dogs are pretty irresistible. So, we decided to have Betty White and Mariah meet in the outdoor courtyard, where they proceeded to hit it off. Both of them love butt scritchers, quiet moments and staring nervously with adorable, shifty eyes. It was a perfect match, so we filled out some remaining paperwork while waiting to receive her medicine and before we knew it, we were on our way to the pet store with our new friend.


Since we aren’t the most ginormous Mariah Carey fans, we changed her name to Charsi (a Diablo gamer reference, courtesy of Pete’s geekiness), which of course is temporary until we find her a forever home. She is a seriously strong lady whose life got off to a rough start, but she didn’t let that get her down. Charsi was brought into the ACCT nearly two weeks ago as a stray, and needed to have a mammary lump and hernia removed, in addition to a spay procedure. Needless to say, this shepherd/terrier mix is looking forward to a lifetime of cuddling and now has a clean bill of health. Currently Charsi is kicking back her paws and relaxing with us, but she is excited to find a pooch parent who is in need of a sweet four-legged friend.


Charsi arrived at the shelter underweight at 26 lbs, but we’re putting meat on her bones and making sure she will be brought back on track in no time. Charsi is recovering and counting down the days until her sutures will be removed, so we have to be very gentle with her. When we first came home, she absolutely refused to go outside, which made potty training a bit difficult. It is pretty impossible to pick her up without possibly hurting her stitches, so we remained patient and positive, with plenty of puppy pads on hand. Now, just two days later, Charsi is totally responsive to going outside and fully potty-trained.

She has already mastered how to “sit” and likely has some more tricks up her sleeve, which she’ll hopefully share once she has recovered from her surgeries.

Her favorite pastimes so far include: watching cars out of the sunroom window, snoring loudly while dreaming about being adopted and stealing Pete’s clothes from his dirty laundry pile.

Betty White was pretty tuckered out all weekend from having to share our bedroom at night with a near stranger, but she has really warmed up to Charsi. I think fostering pooches will be great for socializing Betty White and helping her become more confident around other dogs.

Since Charsi was a stray, her age is a bit of a mystery, but she looks to be about 5-years-young. No matter how many birthday candles she’s blown out, Charsi has a lot of smooches to share and loves getting pets.

I forgot to mention how much Charsi loves looking at herself in the mirror. Whenever she passes a reflective surface, she stares at herself with a “oh, girlllll, you so good lookin’!” expression on her face. She’s a little conceited, but we still love her…perhaps that is why she was originally named after the great diva herself, Mariah Carey.

Several people have shown confusion over why we would choose to be foster pooch parents—how it must be nearly impossible saying goodbye when you find the adoptive parents for the dog. Fostering an animal means providing food, shelter and love while ambitiously searching for weeks or months to find an appropriate match for the pet. During this time, it’s obvious an attachment will form, but the thing that gets me through this is knowing that as soon as we find Charsi a home, we will be able to help another dog in urgent need.

I’m not saying we’ll be fostering dogs for the rest of our lives, but during my hunt for the perfect full-time job, I have the time needed to give back in small ways. As a freelancer working from home, I can get a little stir crazy—going through half of the day without actually speaking to anyone—so this is a great opportunity to get out of the house and explore the area. I’ve met way more people in the neighborhood over the past two days than I have since we moved here in June, which is saying a lot.

It’s really nice feeling like a little family in our new house. Last night, the pooches joined us while we made a bonfire and toasted s’mores…it was one of the most relaxing Sundays in a long time.

If you would like to find out more about Charsi or want to set up a puppy date, feel free to comment below! She is only $75 (think about how quickly you spend $75 at a trip to Target!) and totally priceless. The donation to the Animal Care and Control Team (ACCT) covers all vaccines, a microchip and her spay procedure, all of which have already been completed.

Does anyone else have any foster stories they’d like to share? I love hearing advice and anecdotes from others who have fostered pets in the past.

Foster the Pooches

http://cnettv.cnet.com/av/video/cbsnews/atlantis2/cbsnews_player_embed.swf

Fostering a dog is something that has been on my mind these past few months during unemployment. Now that winter is soon approaching, it seems only natural to reach out and do some volunteer work since most of my photography work starts to die down as the weather gets more grim. It is really disappointing to think about how pets are mistreated, especially during the holidays, and how people rush to pet stores rather than making the obvious choice to seek a shelter dog as their newest family addition.

The fact that people still buy pet store puppies is a little shocking, especially since a lot of pet owners don’t realize they are supporting puppy mills when they adopt from a local store. This map, organized by the “No pet store puppies” campaign by the ASPCA is particularly eye-opening. Buying anything in pet stores that sell puppy mill dogs supports the industry, so I urge pet owners to buy your supplies from stores that do not sell puppies, or buy your supplies online.

{Carli Davidson Photography}

That being said, there are many dogs waiting for homes in shelters all across the country, so I am anxious to make a trip to the PSPCA soon with Pete and Betty White. If you already have a pooch and want to foster a dog, the two dogs must meet ahead of time. I adopted Betty from the PSPCA, so it will feel good to give back to the organization that gave so much to us over the past five years.

Photographers have an advantage when trying to find adoptive parents for dogs because they are able to capture the animal’s character in creative ways, which inevitably helps in rehoming the pet. I’m going to try to reach out to the Montgomery County SPCA, which is probably a two minute drive away, to see if they would be interested in having me swing by once a week to photograph adoptable animals. I think it would be beneficial to give the pets better exposure since many of the dogs on their site don’t have photos.

If anyone has any experience with fostering dogs or reading materials they’d like to recommend, feel free to comment below!

Oktoberfest Photo Op Board!

Three days later and the Oktoberfest photo-op board is complete! I’m pretty excited to see it in action this weekend with people’s faces poking through. Be on the lookout for photos of Pete and I wearing Bavarian garb in the days to come…sorry in advance to my German BFF for my dirndl attire.

We moved the plywood to our basement last night since I didn’t want it getting ruined by the rain, which meant braving the huge mustache-ish centipedes. I had to finish it up while painting sideways, since it won’t fit standing up in our house. Betty White wanted to demonstrate the size of the board by stretching out and strutting her stuff. She’s totally doing her version of the downward-facing dog on the yoga mat…don’t judge her brown feet, she can’t help but eat them.

Anyway, happy drunk pig thoughts to all of my readers! Thanks again for all of the blog love lately!

Guest Post at What the Frock?

I’m flattered to be guest blogging at What the Frock? today! Head on over to read my post, which highlights how to give your kitchen a fabulous makeover for under $100. My friend Dana’s blog is an amazing source of budget-friendly fashion tips, which makes this thrifty gal smile on a daily basis.

In other exciting news, there are only 3 more days to vote for me as “Most Valuable Philadelphia Blogger” at CBS Philly, so be sure to head on over there and show your support!

If I win, I promise to compile a celebratory post with a ton of cute critter photos, like the one below of our chinchilla Maude fighting off an angry t-rex.

I realize nothing says desperate like bribing your readers with photos of bunnies and the like, but I am competitive, gosh darn it!

Before & After: A $10 Seashell Cross Stitched Table

You might remember me talking about this cross-stitched table I bought at ReStore a couple of weeks ago for $10. The seashell look isn’t for me, so I planned on painting it white to match the table in our sunroom and replacing the stitched piece. At first I thought an old page from my grandfather’s Animal Encyclopedia might look cool, but the pages ended up being too small to fit inside the framed area. Instead, I decided to rip out a page from my American Illustration book, where a painting by one of my favorite artists, Jason Holley, jumped out at me. I’ve always loved this illustration and thought it would mesh well with the look of the sunroom.

Here’s a before and after shot of the new side table, which goes well with the bunny pillow less than a foot away. Sorry Pete, but I love me some bunnies.

Speaking of bunnies, ours definitely dig the table revamp, I made sure to get their final approval.

Our chinchilla Maude didn’t really care for the bunny side table revamp (she’s more of a seashell girl), even after I gave her a few scritches to try to win her over.

Overall, this project was incredibly fast to tackle (thank god for spray paint), affordable and it gives our sunroom a bit more personality.

What are some simple DIY projects you’ve attempted lately?