{So Happy} Charsi’s Forever Family is Here

For those of you who have been following our adventures as a first time foster dog family since late September (here and here), we have exciting news! Charsi has found a forever family, and they seriously couldn’t be any nicer. We met up with the lovely couple and their cute dog, Pebbles, today at Cooper River Dog Park. I got uber lost because my GPS and iPhone refused to believe me when I told them the intersections in Pennsauken, NJ. Thanks to the help of Charsi’s new parents (!!), I managed to finally find my way to the pooch park after driving in circles and cursing Jersey’s crazy U-turns for far too long.

Seriously, how cute is Pebbles? Charsi has loads of energy, but she hit it off really well with Pebbles, who is full of adorable sass. The family has decided to rename Charsi (originally named Mariah from the shelter) “Charlie,” which I think is a great name for a girl, plus it makes me think of my favorite character from Lost, so it’s a win-win.

I’m going to look past the Charlie Sheen connection, since I was absolutely obsessed with him after I was an extra in Major League II. Below is surprisingly the least embarrassing photo of Charlie and I during the course of my days as an extra. I may or may not have several t-shirts/sweatshirts with iron-on transfers of these photos that say “Shannon Loves Charlie” (if you want proof, comment below and I might be convinced to pose in a photo while wearing the t-shirt I still have). I also may or may not have refused to wash my hand after he kissed it. For weeks. I even knew he kissed prostitutes with the same mouth, but I still loved him anyway, and my entire fourth grade class knew it. Unfortunately, he’s no longer “winning” in my book, but we’ll always have 1994.

Anyway. Enough about Charlie Sheen and more about puppies, please.

I like catching Charsi Charlie in the most unflattering poses, thus a picture of her scritching herself.

I am so so excited to send Charsi off to her happy home early next week. I’ve grown quite attached to her (she totally spooned me in bed this morning after Pete left), but I’m really looking forward to sending her off to such a friendly family. I can definitely tell they will spoil her with lots of love and she seemed to fit in perfectly with them during our doggy date in the park.

Has anyone else fostered pets before? How many families did it take to find the right fit for your foster friend?


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.

FOUND: Missing Cockapoo in Abington, PA

A few hours ago, a woman knocked on my door and pointed across the street to our neighbor’s porch. “Is this your dog?” Betty White was trembling behind me. “No,” I replied. “I just scooped her up from the street, she’s been running around with no tags on.” My gut reaction was to run across the street to make sure the pooch was ok. He was unharmed and incredibly friendly, so I offered to take him in. Lets be honest, people, what else is this unemployed girl going to do with her afternoon? So, I carried her over and offered her some food and water. Betty White was a little territorial, but for the most part she just slept on her chair while the dog sat on the floor panting.

I immediately posted a found dog ad on Craigslist and went around asking neighbors if they had ever seen the dog before, but no such luck. Next we went to the local animal hospital to get scanned for a microchip, but she isn’t microchipped unfortunately. I stopped by the Montgomery County SPCA on my way home to put out an alert to all of the shelters. They also scanned her and notified me that she was in fact a he. I hadn’t gotten a chance to inspect his man parts since things were a bit chaotic since his arrival, so I had been just taking the woman’s word for it when she called the dog a girl. Whoops, sorry. I probably just caused a few years of doggy therapy with that false assumption.

When we got home, I called the police department and alerted them that I had found a tan cockapoo. Hopefully someone will notice he is missing soon so I can feel better that he is back with his family. He is so so friendly and gives slobbery dog kisses and wags his nubby tail whenever he greets anyone. I have never seen a dog so ecstatic to be running up to the entrance of a vet. Clearly he has grown up with wonderful surroundings, so I have no doubt that he just escaped from a backyard or a kid opened the back door and he got out somehow.

Please send this blog post to anyone you may know in the Montgomery County, PA area who can help spread the word about this pooch being found. This automatically takes me back to when Betty White went missing during the snowpocalypse, so the very least I can do is take care of the little fellow until his owners have him back at home safe and sound. Until then I will spoil him with pets and kisses and Beggin’ Strips (don’t worry, Betty gets an equal amount of lovin’ so she’s not jealous).

This is his sad, someone-please-claim-me-as-theirs-because-this-woman-keeps-taking-my-damn-picture pose. He practiced it a few times before he fully mastered it.

Betty White has totally made a BFF out of this whole ordeal…and that’s saying a lot since she hates almost everyone!

He tried to pull the lost dog card to get couch access…pfft, he must think I’m an amateur!

Anyway, please spread the word about this cute little guy. He is missing his owners a ton and needs some mom and dad hugs, stat! He is wagging his tail in his sleep as I type this…so ridiculously adorable!

Introducing: Stuffs & Things

Thank you so much to everyone who reached out yesterday regarding the decision to give Betty White up for adoption to our amazing dog trainer, Dave Cugno. It means a lot to have your support during this difficult time—your comments were comforting and helped me realize we made the right decision for Betty White.

I wanted to take a minute to ask that you hop on over to Stuffs & Things, a new blog collaboration between Pete and I. It will explore everyday happenings in our life together, with all sorts of fun reads about our latest inspirations. Feel free to check out my most recent post, a book review of David Sedaris’ latest collection of short fables called “Squirrel Seeks Chipmunk.” We hope you will add the blog to your Google Reader and follow us on Twitter @stuffsthings!

Building Confidence in a Gal’s Best Friend

One of the mistakes pet owners often make is how to properly diagnose a dog with a high level of insecurity. Until just recently, I made the false assumption that Betty White was previously abused from her last owner due to her constant anxiety. After enrolling her in David Cugno’s Canine Center for their boarding and training program, Pete and I began to learn a lot about what made Betty White the way she is today and how we could help build her confidence.

For two weeks, Betty White mingled and made friends with the pack at David Cugno’s Canine Center. After a few days of warming up to her new atmosphere, Betty White began to establish a relationship with David, who started the work that he would later teach Pete and I. Once her two-week long stay came to a close, Betty White was incredibly excited to be greeted by our smiling faces, bathing us with kisses and letting out a few ecstatic yelps. Upon our arrival home, a very tuckered-out Betty White flopped down in her bed and looked truly content for the first time ever.

Over the next few weeks, Pete and I noticed huge leaps in her daily behavior. Simple tips that David gave us, like putting a blanket over her crate while we were out, made her more relaxed. She was much less nervous—barely licking her paws and showing great strides in her trust by excitedly running into the crate on her own in the mornings.

Pete and I have been taking Betty White for private lessons with David, who has helped us ease her insecurities. He has been teaching us basic commands and learning how to become her leader, which has diminished her fear significantly.

“Look at it as an excuse to give her affection for doing something, not just for existing,” explained David. “Just the interaction with her is how you fix the insecurity. I can feel she’s starting to be able to accept herself easier”

David explained to us how insecure dogs like Betty White want to be followers, but are far too confused and fearful to adopt this role without communication built on consistency and trust.

“She’s starting to become content with existing,” David said. “When we first met, she was worried and unhealthy and now we’re building her confidence up and doing all of the worrying for her.”

Before we initially met with David Cugno, Pete and I were hopeless and ready to give up on a happy picturesque life with our dog. Now, Betty White is finally starting to show signs of living a worry-free life and she is gradually beginning to shine with genuine, joy-filled moments. While it’s becoming more and more manageable, Betty White will always have a predisposition towards insecurity to a certain degree, but she is now able to feel more confident. In the coming months, we will work together with David Cugno to help build a happier tomorrow for our best four-legged friend, Betty White.