Posts Tagged ‘foster dogs’

Wordless Wednesday #263 – Foster Maggie

October 27, 2015 6 comments

Foster Maggie


Fetch-For-Fosters: A program that proactively helps rescue dogs to get adopted

July 6, 2015 5 comments

Woman Rubbing Noses with PuppyIf you’ve read my blog, then you know that I am a big believer in dog training and helping people to better understand their dogs through dog body language. You probably also know that I am also a huge supporter of animal shelters and animal rescues.

The biggest issue many rescue organizations face is making a dog more adoptable. Training is key to making this happen. How a dog behaves is one of the biggest factors that impacts whether a dog will be adopted. It is a key factor in keeping an adopted dog in their new home.

Today, I would like to introduce you to someone who has a novel new idea that I hope will become a model nationwide. Fetch-for-Fosters is the brainchild of dog trainer Katie Grillaert of Fetch Dog Training and Behavior. It is a new program focused on proactively addressing a dog’s training needs while he is still in the shelter or in a foster home; before he is adopted, and where needed, working with the adopter to ensure his forever home really is his home for life.

Below is my interview with Katie Grillaert.


What is Fetch-for-Fosters?

Fetch-for-Fosters is a social entrepreneurship initiative, meaning that we are using business methods to try and solve a social problem.

Our vision is to shape and support a rescue community that both understands and prioritizes the value of training.  I’d really love to see a trend toward proactive dog training, rather than reactive.

Fetch-for-Fosters provides low-cost training and behavior services to rescues and shelters in order to facilitate the adoption of pets; as well as to help them stay in their new home. We prioritize education and promote training techniques that are effective, ethical, and that nurture the human-animal bond.

Our Fetch-for-Fosters staff are talented trainers who have been accepted into a training/behavior internship with Fetch Dog Training and Behavior. The program allows them to see a diverse range of dogs and students as they work toward their own goals. For example, one of our trainers is also a veterinary student with a special interest in shelter medicine and behavior. I mentor the trainers through this entire process, so we maintain a high quality of service for all of our rescues.

The program is new, but if things continue to go well I am excited about the growth goals that I have been brainstorming… but I’ll just have to leave you with that teaser for now.


I love the idea of helping a dog to stay in its home. What motivated you to create Fetch for Fosters?

My first dog, Petra, was a rescued Belgian Malinois. She was my shadow. She read my mind. I was heartbroken when I had to euthanize her due to serious behavioral issues due to extremely poor breeding and poor puppyhood socialization. Her sacrifice is what drove me deeper into behavior modification and rescue. Every time I can help another dog, I can honor her a little bit.

I have been fostering and doing volunteer training for a long time now, including through the birth of my business Fetch Dog Training and Behavior. As the business grew, I continued to volunteer, but found myself with limited time for volunteer work. (This saying is so true: “Entrepreneurs: The only people who work 80 hour weeks to avoid working 40 hour weeks.”). I wanted a way to formalize giving back to my community, but also to make it sustainable.

I’m fascinated with the way for-profit companies can provide social benefit. For example, Grameen Danone Foods Ltd. created a fortified yogurt for malnourished children in Bangladesh, improving health outcomes and creating local jobs. They are a sustainable business, but do not return any profits to their shareholders – it is all reinvested in the social business.  ( This is my current answer for my local community, in my area of expertise and passion.


How does the program work?

Our service contract is with dogs in foster care – the actual rescue. We will provide email/phone support when the dog is adopted so that we can advise new owners on what work we did with the dog, and how this relates to the settling-in process. In fact, we’d love to disclose this to adopters before they even adopt the dog – that piece is up to the rescue, as we are not involved in the adoption process.

If adopters have questions beyond the scope of work that we already did, or beyond the initial two weeks, we might refer them to our training business or another local trainer. This is for their benefit – there is a real importance to the trainer being able to observe the dog in its new home, form a connection with the dog’s people, and make sure that the trainer is getting the full picture before making a training program. This avoids wasting time and money (at best), or the behaviors worsening.


What kinds of issues do you generally see?

Adolescence is a frequent time that people decide to re-home their “annoying” dog, so we see a lot of regular goofy teenage behavior. First-time fosters do quite well with a session or two to help them understand how to communicate with their youngster, and how to develop good behavior.

Separation distress and leash reactivity are both quite common as well, and those are things that we want to address immediately so that they don’t become big and costly – they rarely resolve on their own, and in fact they can get worse quite quickly.

It’s also not uncommon for us to work with fearful dogs, usually puppy mill dogs, to help them conquer their fears, and especially to help their fosters understand how to support them.

We are also able to address any training issue – house training, manners, puppy issues, polite walking, chewing, digging, grooming, barking, and so on.

We can also offer limited services for fear, aggression, and anxiety. Hopefully most dogs in rescue will not have serious fear or aggression, but sometimes these issues pop up when the dog has already been accepted into the rescue. We can help the rescue address management and safety concerns with the foster, and give our professional assessment of the issue. Long-term behavior modification assistance may be available, but this takes a large commitment from the rescue.


Do you provide the rescue updates on the dogs you work with?

We will disclose personal information upon request if the legal owner of the dog has given us permission to do so. In general, it is the rescue’s responsibility to follow-up with owners and track the progress of the dogs they have placed.


What is the cost, who pays, and what does it cover?

I want this program to be sustainable – helping my community for a long time. If your organization – even your nonprofit – could not function without some key people, then I think you should be putting things in place to make sure those people stay happy and available to you. That’s my goal. Therefore my trainers for Fetch-for-Fosters get reimbursed for their travel and time spent with the dogs. Because they are paid, there will always be space on their schedule for foster dogs. I think this will be fundamental to the program’s success.

We directly invoice rescues for their training sessions. A $45/session for a training issue (this is something I think we should highlight) with my regular Fetch-for-Fosters staff, includes:

  • Approximately, one hour with the trainer.
  • Our summary of the session and homework for the foster family, which is shared with the foster and the rescue.
  • Two weeks of email/phone support with the adopter once the dog is adopted. (We’ll also provide follow-up support to the foster family, but we may ask that we see the dog in-person again if there are many questions, or if they are complex.)

Most rescues will only need these regular training sessions, as that is the category where most adoptable dogs will fall.  However, we do offer behavior consultations for $75/session, and we’ll staff an experience behavior consultant for this. Often behavior consultations need at least one follow-up, if not more.

Our fees allow us to purchase insurance and to pay our professionals for their time. The other overhead costs are supported by Fetch Dog Training and Behavior, which is one major reason why it makes sense for me to operate this as a social initiative of my business, rather than a non-profit – it keeps our costs significantly lower.

Donations for training, submitted directly to the rescue, are tax-deductible. We do accept online donations to our program, but these are not tax-deductible. Online donations may be earmarked for a specific rescue, or may enter our general pool and distributed as a scholarship.


Do you only work with foster dogs?

Our work is entirely with dogs in foster or shelter care. We support adopted dogs through their two-week transition to the new home if we have already provided them services during their time in rescue, so that the adopter understands exactly what work we’ve done with the dog and how that may relate to helping their dog settle into his new home.

We do not work with “owned” dogs; we’d refer someone to our business or another local dog trainer. I believe that training is a really important part of owning a dog, and should be planned for just as are veterinary and food expenses. Good trainers spend a lot of time on their education and professional development, and deserve every penny that they make. If they couldn’t get paid for their work, they wouldn’t be able to get really good at their craft – and that would be a loss for everyone, foster or not.


How does a rescue organization contact you if they want to be a rescue partner or want you to help one of their dogs?

Any interested rescue can send an email to and we’ll provide our program information right away. There is no cost for rescues to become a rescue partner. By becoming a partner, they  are able to schedule our services whenever they need them.

We’re able to do some special services for our partners as well, such as running a group class for their foster dogs. So far, we’re doing this on a case-by-case basis, brainstorming together to address a particular need.

It’s been a lot of fun for me to work with the rescues to see what we can accomplish together, and we are all excited about the potential for growth – which, of course, is how many dogs and families we can positively impact.

You can learn more about Fetch-for-Fosters on their Q & A call this week, on Wednesday, July 8, from 12:00 p.m. to 12:30 p.m. Central time . To join the call, go to their Facebook event page by clicking here


Katie GrillaertKatie Grillaert is a professional trainer and behavior consultant specializing in work with fearful and aggressive dogs. She holds two certifications from the Certification Council for Professional Dog Trainers (CBCC-KA, CPDT-KA) and is also a Certified Behavior Adjustment Training Instructor (CBATI). She is pursuing a degree in the Interdisciplinary Master’s Programme in Human-Animal Interactions at the University of Veterinary Medicine, Vienna

Wordless Wednesday #183 – Foster Dog Maggie

April 16, 2014 11 comments

Maggie sleeping


Touch! #handtargeting #Maggie #puppymilldog

Maggie and her bully stick

Maggie humor 2

Maggie on dog bed

Maggie on dog bed sketch

When did you KNOW that your dog was “the one?”

February 27, 2013 38 comments

The first time I saw Jasper, it was here…

Jasmine and Jasper

He was in impound with his sister, waiting to be examined by one of our vet techs before being fostered or put up for adoption. I fell in love with his handsome little face right then (I also fell in love with his sister). I practically begged to foster them…just for a little while. But I should have known then,  he wouldn’t be leaving. He was home the moment he walked through my door.



The first time I saw Daisy, she was cowering in a kennel much like the one Jasper was in. She was terrified as hell and my heart broke when I saw how she cowered and flinched when people came near her. I knew then that I would foster her. I couldn’t stop thinking about her. I worried someone inexperienced would adopt her and place her in a situation where she could be further damaged.

But it wasn’t until two weeks later, when I picked her up after being spayed, that I knew that she was mine. Her vulnerability drew me in and captured my heart. She needed me. She needed someone who understood her. There was no way I would give her up to someone who didn’t understand her needs for space, time and patience. She was home.

Cupcake was different. She had already been living in a foster home and was more than likely going to be adopted soon. Besides, I had already had a talk with myself about how I would not be falling in love with her. Two dogs was more than enough thank you. I couldn’t possibly take on another. I was sure she would be moving on to her forever home soon and then I would foster yet another dog in need of help.

But then, one fateful night, she went missing, and I was distraught. I was a complete wreck. I imagined all sorts of awful things happening to her. I worried she would be killed by a coyote or would starve to death or be hit by a car. It wasn’t until she was found and finally started to recognize me again that I started to have an inkling that she would be staying.  At that very moment when she recognized me and sighed and leaned into me, I knew. There was no way Cupcake would be leaving my home to go to another. She already was home. She had been all along. I think she knew before I did.

I suspect that most everyone has had that moment, the one where  you just KNOW that this dog is “the one.” With each of my dogs it was different. Jasper was love at first sight (he had me at “Hello”). With Daisy it was much more gradual. It started as a strong sense of responsibility towards a dog in need and slowly grew into something much, much more. With Cupcake, it took a traumatic event to make me realize how much I loved her. Like I said, I think she knew she was home before I did.

So what was your moment? When did you KNOW that your dog was “the one?” Was it love at first sight? Or, did it take time to bond? I would love to hear your story.

Cupcake, a.k.a. Cuppers, a.k.a. Cupperdoo

Cupcake, a.k.a. Cuppers, a.k.a. Cupperdoo

We are a family

June 18, 2012 24 comments

Daisy, Jasper and Lady at the dog park

There’s just something special about that moment when a family settles into itself. A kind of peace or easy comfortability that takes over as everyone adjusts to each others’ personalities and style.

When Lady first came to stay with us there was some adjusting to do, as there is with any foster dog that you first bring into your home.  There were schedules to sort out, toys to be shared, anxiety to be dealt with and personalities to be melded. Lady was nervous and shy and scared, but she was also possessive of me, the toys and the couch. She was used to fighting for her own bit of space and any encroachment upon that space by Daisy or Jasper was met with bared teeth and a snap. Daisy handled it by hiding in her kennel and Jasper handled it by veering away when he saw her about to snap at him. She was in charge… at first.

We worked hard to help Lady understand that she didn’t need to compete for any of those things any more.

I am a firm believer that a chaos-free home makes for a chaos-free dog, so we made competition less of a reward and sharing more of one. Possess the couch and you are no longer allowed to be on it. Possess a toy and it suddenly is gone. Possess me? I walk away. For me, creating an environment that is balanced and relatively drama-free is so key to helping a dog adjust. And slowly, over time, Lady started to understand how things worked in our family and she started to settle in and adjust.We started to be a family.

It was at this point, when we had just started to meld as a family, that Lady went missing  for 12 days. When she returned, we had to learn to adjust to one another again. Many of her old habits returned, understandable given what she had been through, but Daisy and Jasper were a little out of sorts too.

Getting back into our routine helped. Walks at the dog park, scheduled mealtimes, defined playtime – all these things helped us to adjust to one another again. To become a true family.

It’s funny how quickly and easily we have settled into one another now. Daisy checks on Lady as much as she does Jasper. Lady chases Daisy just as much as Jasper does. Lady and Jasper, being Shelties, have become a tag team when it comes to barking at strangers. They look at one another with a signal only they can understand and then off they go! Daisy has come back to spending more time in the living room and Lady is less interested in the couch. Jasper and Lady even share their bones – taking turns on who chews and who watches.

A family knows each others’ strengths and weaknesses; they know each others’ needs. They check up on one another to make sure they are okay.  They have fun together and they love one another. We are a family.




Little Lady Lost – The Latest

November 23, 2011 25 comments

Update (3:50 PM CST) – No new sightings of Lady today. There was one sighting north of Yankee Doodle, but this dog had a collar so we are sure it is not her.

Normally, today would be my Wordless Wednesday post and I would be trying to decide which picture to post. But, today is not a normal day. Instead, our search continues.

I pine for normal days.

Here is what I know about losing a dog so far…

– The ups and downs are uncomfortable and often extreme – fear, hope, discouragement, hope, frustration, hope, sadness, hope. Repeat.

– People can be amazing in a time of crisis. Twice yesterday I had complete strangers offer to help because they had heard about Lady’s story. One couple Michele and Steven live in my neighborhood and offered to get the signs from the city so we could use them again. Another, Dena, a teacher in Dakota County,offered to drive around for a few hours and look for Lady. I even ran into her last night and she said she would keep looking.

– Spreading the word is so very important – fliers, signs and word of mouth. I received 6 calls yesterday. All people who thought they had seen Lady and wanted to help. God bless them for calling. It widens the search area quite a bit, but the fact that people were watching out for her and were willing to call me or Minnesota Sheltie Rescue and report it is wonderful. It means that there are hundreds more eyes out there than just ours. It makes a huge difference.

– Sometimes when helping you to find your dog, people also help someone else find their missing dog. Yesterday, I received a call from a Joanne, who thought she had seen Lady. It wasn’t far from where we were looking (based on a previous call), so I asked a lot of questions and texted her a picture. She called back and apologized (no apology necessary, trust me) because she had run into the owners of that dog and they were looking for him. Because she was watching out for Lady she noticed a dog running by itself and reached out to help. She was able to tell them where he went. That is wonderful isn’t it?

Also, while out on that same call about Lady, volunteers and staff for Minnesota Sheltie Rescue came across another dog who was in the same location as Lady iss suspected to be (in fact, we thought it was her at first). This dog iss clearly lost as well. A trap has been set for him. I’m hoping we catch him and he is reunited with his owner soon.

– There are SO many people who have lost a pet and had it return. I have received Comments on my blog, on Facebook and even on Twitter from people who have been through this with their own pets, or a foster pet. The fact that so many have come back, even months later, gives me hope.

– Taking care of yourself in the midst of searching for a lost dog is so very, very important. Although, Estelle and the other staff and volunteers from Minnesota Sheltie Rescue, have said repeatedly that I need to take care of myself so I can be healthy and ready to help when that ONE call comes in, I haven’t taken it as seriously as I should have. I reached burnout last night, or maybe it was shut down. The ups and downs, the constant searching, the handing out of fliers, posting signs, talking to people and sharing the message, while all valuable, is mentally, physically and emotionally exhausting and I couldn’t do one more thing last night. So while many, many volunteers were out looking for Lady (based on two very good eyewitness accounts), I came home. I was emotionally void and physically spent after chasing down leads and searching several locations over several hours last night.

So today I am taking a step back to take care of some of the things I have been putting off because the search had consumed so much of me, my life (and Daisy and Jasper’s lives). I’ll be working from home, but I will be focused on the work I neglected at my job while I was out searching for Lady. I’ll also be conserving my energy for the calls that come in so I can race to where she was seen and help catch her. What I have realized is that if I am shut down when that right call comes in then I am no help to Lady at all. That’s what happened last night and I can’t let it happen again. And, you can’t forget that life has to go on too. The world can’t wait until you can catch up again.

So here is where we stand as of last night.

Yesterday, we received several sightings in Eagan, back where Lady was first seen on Friday and Saturday evening. The first caller saw her running across Pilot Knob Road from Wendy’s and Chilis area towards U.S. Bank and a tire shop. Pilot Knob Road is a very, very high traffic road with 4 lanes, so this was frightening to hear.

Both me, My brother Tom, Vicki from Tuff Start Rescue and Cindy (who has been there every day) scoured the area or over an hour. No luck. We had given up the search and were heading out when Vicki saw Lady standing in the middle of Pilot Knob Road, trying to cross over. She slammed on her brakes to try and stop someone from hitting Lady, who was next to her driver’s side car door, but was going too fast to stop next to her and ended up flying past her. Because Lady was behind her then, she could not see if she had made it across or ran back to where she had been. Volunteers raced in from everywhere to look for her. With a confirmed sighting it was all hands on deck. They searched for over an hour with no luck, but at least now we know where she is (we think). As I mentioned above, the volunteers came across another lost dog hanging out in the same area and they set a trap for him. Hopefully, he is caught soon too.

In addition to the sightings in Eagan, we received two in Rosemount about a Sheltie that looked matted and muddy. He/She was roaming along Hwy 3 at the intersection of Hwy 55. Both the people who saw him/her called it in right away (God bless them) and I raced out there to see if I could find it and confirm if it was Lady. I did not see the dog, but I did run into an Inver Grove Heights officer and informed her. I also texted pictures of Lady to the people who had called in and they both said that they didn’t think it was her unless she was really, really muddy. Each had described the dog as being black and tan or black and gray. I left the area in relief, thinking that I would rather her not be out there alone where coyotes roam in packs, but you know that still leaves someone else’s dog out there all by itself. 😦

So, the search continues. I think our best bet is the Pilot Knob area, but after talking to my friend Kellie, I am not completely closing the book on the sightings in Rosemount either. When Kellie saw Lady on Saturday morning, she was completely black from her midsection on down. And, she certainly would be muddy and matted if she had traveled out Rosemount way. There’s just no way of knowing. So Lady, we continue to watch for you and search for you and hope you make it home safely soon.

My continued thanks to those of you who have tweeted, shared on Facebook and who have volunteered or offered to help in some way. You are amazing people with huge hearts. I have a lot to be grateful for this Thanksgiving. Thank you.

Please continue to pray for Lady’s safe return and to share her story and pictures. You are making a difference. It’s only a matter of time – at least, that is what I hope and pray every day.

If you tweet, please retweet: Lost #Sheltie in #Eagan #Minnesota. Brown and white. Afraid of people. Tweet @melzpetpals if you see her.

If you are on Facebook, please ask your friends to share with their Minnesota friends a picture of Lady or refer them to her blog post from last weekend. I have pictures and video of Lady here.

Previous Post: Little Lady Lost – The Latest

You can read more about the search for Lady and how she was found in the posts listed below.

Post #1: The search for Lady, my foster dog. How you can help.

Post #2:Foster Dog Lady – Still Missing

Post #3 (This Post): Little Lady Lost – The Latest

Post #4: Thanksgiving Gratitude Despite Little Lady Still Being Lost

Post #5: Little Lady Lost – Chasing the Wrong Things

Post #6: A Sunbeam of Hope? The Latest on Little Lady Lost

Post #7: Little Lady Lost – The Saturday Update

Post #8: Little Lady Lost – Latest Update & Do’s and Don’ts

Post #9: Little Lady Lost – A sense of peace

Post #10: Little Lady Lost – HOME AT LAST!

Post #11: Little Lady Lost and How She Made It Home Again

Foster Dog Lady – Still Missing

November 21, 2011 45 comments

Update (3:03 PM CST, Tuesday) – I haven’t had time to write since my post last night, but we had a sighting about 11 PM last night. Lady was spotted just down Blackhawk road, less than a mile from home! She had seen a sign I had posted yesterday afternoon on Blackhawk (Thank you Maya!) and when she saw Lady, she raced back to get the number and called (people are amazing). Jasper, Daisy and I raced down there and walked around and threw treats. I called out for her. She did not respond, but I know that she is close and that gives me great comfort. We went back this morning and walked the neighborhoods, passed out fliers and hoped she would show herself. No luck, but I am not giving up hope.
More volunteers came to help today and a couple who heard about Lady from their son in New York called Minnesota Sheltie Rescue and offered to help. They have Shelties too so they could understand my worry. They saved some of our signs from the City of Eagan and the city was understanding of our worry and also sympathetic. They helped get the remaining signs out of the dumpster. Thank you Eagan.

I passed out fliers all over that area as did Nancy (bless her soul). She has been out every single day helping out. My friend Deb from MVHS drove the area looking for her and asked people if they had seen her and they said they were watching for her. Estelle and I took down two live traps that had no action, not even wildlife touched the food, and Estelle checked the other traps. Nothing, but given where she was sighted last it makes sense. My friend Karen is coming to help hand out more fliers and Vicki from Ruff Start Rescue is coming with me to check the traps tonight.

If you believe in the power of prayer, please pray she find her way home safely. She’s so close!!! Come on Lady!


I don’t know where to begin as I write this latest update. First, I am eternally grateful for the kindness of strangers and friends and animal lovers everywhere for their help and encouraging words. Last night was perhaps my lowest period since Lady first went missing on Friday night. I didn’t think it was possible to cry as much as I did, but I think despair and exhaustion took it’s toll. The only thing that has given me hope throughout this whole ordeal is the kindness of so many people (too, too many to count) and the continued sightings of Lady. Knowing that she was at least alive and okay kept me going when I didn’t think I could go on. But yesterday, we didn’t receive a call, not a one, and I began to imagine all sorts of awful scenarios in my mind (coyotes, cold weather, cars, etc.) and I began to worry about my poor defenseless girl out there all by herself, unable to protect herself from whatever dangers that lurked. I imagine this is what all pet parents feel when their pet goes missing and many of your comments have confirmed that. There is no greater fear than not knowing and imagining all the awful possibilities.

There have been no new sightings today, and for that I am sad. I keep hoping for some new news soon, some little tidbit of hope. Perhaps this is the only one for today, but I hold onto it tightly. This morning while out checking the trap closest to where Lady was last seen, I decided to check out an area that is further down the hill from it. I saw some fresh tracks that were close to the size of Lady’s feet and the gait was similar. It gave me hope. I informed Karol and Estelle, and together we decided to place two live traps in that area this evening. It’s more secluded than the other location and is near a pond (fresh water) and there is plenty of wildlife (e.g., rabbits). Plus there was a concrete culvert that she could hide in if she so chose. I am hoping that she is nearby and goes into one of the traps.

I spent most of my day driving around posting signs and handing out fliers – near a warehouse area with lots of truckers, closer to my house in areas of high traffic and further out as well. I dropped off fliers at Chuck and Don’s and the Play It Again Sports store next door. Sadly, all the signs that Julie and Jeff placed yesterday, near where Lady was last seen, were taken down by the city of Eagan. It appears signs asking people to help find a lost dog are not in the city’s liking. It is frustrating to say the least. These signs are our best hope for getting the word out that she is missing. My fear is that by taking down the signs they may lead people to believe she has been found when she has not. Volunteers worked for hours to make those signs and now they are gone, probably destroyed. So now we will focus on fliers, word of mouth and social media to make sure people know that Lady is still missing and to keep an eye out for her.

More volunteers were out tonight and Estelle was handing out fliers. We have more ready to go and many, many people are looking. I continue to hope and pray that Lady will be found safe because of their efforts and assistance. It’s so easy these days to believe that the world is full of bad people, people who don’t care, but this could not be further from the truth. I know firsthand that there many more people with kindness in their hearts and generosity of spirit than I ever could have believed or imagined. Seriously. I am blown away. When Lady makes it home, and yes, I do believe it is a when, I will forever hold in my mind and heart all of you. Your words give me hope and your actions give me faith and encouragement. Thank you seems so small a thing to say, but thank you. Truly.

There are so many people who have offered to hand out fliers, post signs all over Eagan and elsewhere, for checking the live traps morning, noon and night, for spreading the word on Twitter and Facebook and by word of mouth. My thanks to Minnesota Sheltie Rescue and all of their volunteers. Karol and Karen who drove through a raging snowstorm to drop off live traps and food to fill them. Meghan, who drove down from up north, while worrying over a very sick horse, to drop off another trap, fliers, and more signs. Christine, a former pet sitting client, who called and said I am with you and came and walked with me for hours to hand out fliers. Jeff and Julie, who helped me paper cars with fliers, visited businesses near where Lady was lost and handed out fliers, put up signs and brought me coffee on a very cold day. Heather from MN SHeltie Rescue, who picked up more fliers, a lock for the live trap and proceeded to spend her Sunday afternoon handing out fliers. Emily from Ruff Start Rescue who was out last night looking for her, checking the traps, and ended up saving a cat hit by a car. Vicki, who offered to check the traps every morning and Cindy who has been out helping, not because she’s associated with the rescue, but just because she has Shelties herself. And Nancy and Dennis who were there at the beginning and con tinue to help today with fliers and searching and encouraging me. And, Estelle, who runs MN Sheltie Rescue and who has coordinated this huge effort to find Lady. She has been there to tell me to take care of myself, to not give up hope. She has shared stories of dogs who were missing and came back in even worse circumstances. You, Estelle, have been a rock when I was not. There are many, many more people I want to thank – Janet Roper, Darlene Arden, Karen C-H, Kellie K, and Kym G, Kim H, Kim T, Kim C, Amy and Rod, Roxanne, Karen F, Maggie M, Kristine T, Pamela, Peggy, AJ, Nancy, Edie, Jen, Mary H, Mary D, Maya Z, and more than I can even mention here. Thank you everyone who has offered a prayer or a thought or a wish to bring Lady home. I believe it is working. I do.

Please continue to pray for Lady’s safe return and to share her story and pictures. You are making a difference. It’s only a matter of time – at least, that is what I hope and pray every day.

If you tweet, please retweet: Lost #Sheltie in #Eagan #Minnesota. Brown and white. Afraid of people. Tweet @melzpetpals if you see her.

If you are on Facebook, please ask your friends to share with their Minnesota friends a picture of Lady or refer them to her blog post from last weekend. I have pictures and video of Lady here.

Previous Post – The search for Lady, my foster dog. How you can help.

You can read more about the search for Lady and how she was found in the posts listed below.

Post #1: The search for Lady, my foster dog. How you can help.

Post #2 (This Post):Foster Dog Lady – Still Missing

Post #3: Little Lady Lost – The Latest

Post #4: Thanksgiving Gratitude Despite Little Lady Still Being Lost

Post #5: Little Lady Lost – Chasing the Wrong Things

Post #6: A Sunbeam of Hope? The Latest on Little Lady Lost

Post #7: Little Lady Lost – The Saturday Update

Post #8: Little Lady Lost – Latest Update & Do’s and Don’ts

Post #9: Little Lady Lost – A sense of peace

Post #10: Little Lady Lost – HOME AT LAST!

Post #11: Little Lady Lost and How She Made It Home Again

The search for Lady, my foster dog. How you can help.

November 20, 2011 95 comments

Lady has been found. After missing for 12 days, a kind stranger called and with his help and many others we were able to bring her home. You can read how that happened here.

I don’t know when I will be able to write another normal blog post again, but I felt that this one I had to write tonight.

On Friday night, my foster dog, Lady, got loose from her collar and disappeared. She is still missing. And, my heart is breaking.

Friday was like any normal day except that I went to work earlier than normal so I could get home early and take the dogs to the dog park (if only I had followed through on that plan). By the time we got near our favorite dog park, the clouds had moved in and made it darker much earlier than usual. I made the decision to skip the dog park and instead head to CHuck and Don’s Pet Food Outlet so I could pick up some dog food for the dogs.

Feeling guilty that the dogs hadn’t been able to go to the dog park, I decided to take them all inside to enjoy some of the smells and get more exposure to a new environment (Daisy and Jasper had been there before, but Lady had not). It was as we were leaving that everything went wrong.

Chuck and Don’s in Eagan has a weighted sign outside that lets visitors know that parking in certain spots is only allowed for 10 minutes. As we left, Daisy walked behind me (as she always does), but this time she went one way around the sign and I went the other. As her leash pulled against the sign, it began to move forward, which caused Daisy to panic and run and become entangled in it. This caused the sign to fall over and drag behind her. It scared all three dogs and they started to pull away from me in fear. Before I knew it all three dogs had pulled themselves out of their collars, something they have not done before, and were running in all different directions. Jasper ran like the wind and crossed a busy street, narrowly being missed by a car. Daisy ran around the busy parking lot, running left, then right and then left again. Lady took off to the left, running past a Walgreens. The staff ran out to help, but not knowing that I had three fearful dogs with me, they began to give chase. This was the absolute worst thing to do and I had to yell at them them to please stop. I screamed out Lady, Jasper and Daisy’s names. Hoping ti stop their running before they were gone or got hit by a car (not exactly smart either), but they kept running.

I finally was able to get Daisy and Jasper to come back to me (after I removed the fallen sign and they were both nearly hit) and I quickly loaded them into the car. Immediately, I took off after Lady. A staff person came running back saying she had last seen her rounding the corner of Walgreens and running off behind the mini-mall. I hopped in the car and drove in that direction while calling Dawn (her former foster mom of 4+ years, and the one who rehabbed Lady after she was originally rescued). She said she was on her way. I think I called Meghan from Minnesota Sheltie Rescue next, but to be honest, it’s all a blur. I just know that I was in an absolute panic because Lady was running scared and she was in one of the busiest, high-traffic areas in town.

I searched everywhere I could behind Walgreens and Chuck and Don’s. There is a wooded area back there and a pond. I thought Lady might go there to hide. I walked all along the area calling her name. I went back and got Daisy and Jasper and walked them all along the area, hoping that if Lady saw them she would come out, but I had no luck. In all honesty, I have no way of knowing she was even in that area, but I was so sure it would be where she would go first. Then, I hit each one of the businesses along there, gave them my name and number and asked them to keep an eye out for her. By this time I was crying. My little girl was out there scared and there were cars everywhere. She could be anywhere.

Behind the scenes, the Minnesota Sheltie Rescue folks had already mobilized. Before I knew it, the first person had arrived and started looking in the same area I had been searching. Before I knew it, a whole team of amazing people had arrived with signs and flyers, ready to help. I was overwhelmed with gratitude. We all canvased the area. Some took flyers to businesses, others posted signs at strategic locations in the area, others papered cars in the Walmart parking lot, and several of us canvased the area and put flyers in newspaper slots while we searched for Lady. Calls started to come in. She was behind Precision Tune. She was behind Papa Murphy’s. She was seen running along Denmark Road. We raced back and forth to each location hoping we would see her. No luck. After several hours, we decided to try again in the morning, but several people kept looking in their cars. Driving aroud, hoping to catch sight of her, but she was nowhere to be found.

In the morning, I headed out early. Calls started to come in. She was in this neighborhood the that neighborhood, she was running along Wescott Road, she was on the corner of Pilot Knob Road (a very, very busy street) and Wescott. My friend Kellie called to say she and two other people had just stopped traffic so Lady could cross over Pilot Knob. I didn’t even know she was out looking (Thank you Kellie!) for her. They had tracked her running behind the houses on King’s Pond Road and I joined the chase. I ran out onto the road hoping to see her and I did. running up a side street with no outlet. I called her name and she stopped for a second, looked back at me, and then kept running. That’s when my heart really sank. Because Lady wasn’t just scared, she was freaked out beyond belief and not likely to stop running. By the time I got to where she had been, she was gone. And, I haven’t seen her since. Neither has anyone else.

So many people came out to help: Minnesota Sheltie Rescue volunteers, my friends Karen and Kellie and Kym, complete strangers. All of them working so hard in cold weather and sleet to pass out flyers, drive around searching, and just tell people to watch out for her. I don’t even know all of them by name, but I am truly grateful.

Earlier tonight, Karen and Carol came out with live traps to set out for Lady. They drove in absolutely horrible and dangerous weather, to drop them off and help set them up. My friend Kym, who had already driven around for hours searching for Lady, came to help us. How do you thank people who take time out of their busy lives to help look for a lost foster dog? How do you thank them for driving in awful weather just to help you find her? How do you thank all of the people who called and let us know where she was and where she was going?

I don’t know, but I do know more are coming tomorrow and for that I am beyond grateful. It has renewed my faith in people. I thank God for each and every one of them. I have cried so many, many tears already for my little girl (lost, cold and alone), but I have cried just as many out of sheer gratitude for the people who have come to help. Thank you.

Tomorrow, I’ll be heading out to check the live traps early in the morning. Lady seems to be on the move at that time. I pray that Lady is in one of the traps, but if not I will keep looking. I will post updates when I can. Please pray that we find her safely. Please.

If you tweet, please retweet: Lost #Sheltie in #Eagan #Minnesota. Brown and white. Afraid of people. Tweet @melzpetpals if you see her.

If you are on Facebook, please ask your friends to share with their Minnesota friends a picture of Lady or refer them to her blog post from last weekend. I have pictures and video of Lady here.

12:52 PM CST, Sunday – No sightings of Lady since yesterday morning. Checked all the live traps today – nothing yet. Jasper, Daisy and I walked around several areas where she was last sighted and several volunteers, including Lady’s former foster mom Dawn, helped put fliers on cars in church parking lots and stores in the area. Came home to warm up a bit and then going to set another live trap and put fliers in mailboxes in my area as well. Thank you everyone for all your help! I so appreciate all that you have done to try and get the word out. I hope someone sees her soon.

Monday, 7:00 AM, November 21st – No sightings of Lady at all yesterday. Papered cars at a Catholic church for two masses and all throughout my neighborhood with a former client, Christine. Thank you Christine. I so appreciate your offer to help! Dawn, Lady’s other foster mom was out just as much as I was looking for Lady. She checked the live traps, drove and walked around looking for her, placed fliers on cars at another church and did everything she could to find her. Other wonderful volunteers posted signs, handed out fliers, made copies and did way more than I ever could have done. Meghan from MN Sheltie Rescue brought down the signs, another live trap and fliers. Thank you to all of you. I am eternally grateful.
Yesterday was the hardest day because I started to lose a little hope. I cried a lot. It’s a helpless feeling to know she is out there scared and alone and to know you can’t help her until she shows herself. As a friend said yesterday, “These poor little characters are so dependent on us – whether they know it or not. And, strangely, we’re terribly dependent on them, too.” So true. And that’s what weighs on my heart today. I pray today will be the day. Thank you to each and every person who has tweeted and shared on Facebook. The word is getting out and people are watching for her. I’m headed out now to check traps and look around some more. I will keep you posted.

You can read more about the search for Lady and how she was found in the posts listed below.

Post #1: The search for Lady, my foster dog. How you can help.

Post #2:Foster Dog Lady – Still Missing

Post #3: Little Lady Lost – The Latest

Post #4: Thanksgiving Gratitude Despite Little Lady Still Being Lost

Post #5: Little Lady Lost – Chasing the Wrong Things

Post #6: A Sunbeam of Hope? The Latest on Little Lady Lost

Post #7: Little Lady Lost – The Saturday Update

Post #8: Little Lady Lost – Latest Update & Do’s and Don’ts

Post #9: Little Lady Lost – A sense of peace

Post #10: Little Lady Lost – HOME AT LAST!

Post #11: Little Lady Lost and How She Made It Home Again

From a foster dog’s mouth – Lady speaks

November 11, 2011 26 comments

Hi everyone

My name is Lady. I’m a foster dog (F.D. for short) and I live with the blogger who writes this blog.

Tonight Mel, my F.M. (that’s short for foster mom), said I could take over the reins and write a little about myself. I was a bit nervous about writing a real blog post, after all it’s not easy typing with all four paws! But, after some serious doggie deep thinking (and a long nap), I decided that I was up for the task.

Since I’m looking for my forever home, it only makes sense that I would want to write about me. It’s very important that my new mom and dad know what I like and dislike. Being cute, I knew I would be irresistible once everyone saw my pictures and videos. They show me at my cutest and most adorable.

So, here goes!

My best feature – My swish (I know. It WAS hard to break it down to one thing.)

My least favorite moment – when F.M., Mel, dressed me up in a sequined skull shirt she won from Something Wagging This Way Comes (So wrong!)


Me at my most adorable – (I know. I can’t help it. It just comes naturally for me.)

How could you resist me?

Me sleeping – (Yes. I pretty much do look this adorable all of the time.)

This is my sleeping pose

My favorite activity – Sniffing. Pretty much anything.
I sometimes get so busy sniffing that I forget to keep up with the group at the dog park. Luckily, my F.M. always makes sure she knows where I am and calls for me when I am getting behind.

Nope. Definitely not food.

Meeting new friends – I love to meet new friends.

He's kind of cute isn't he? He just found his forever home.

Sometimes friends have to help you sniff

My favorite place? The dog park.

I love this place!

I am constantly on the move at the dog park.

Me and my foster brother, Jasper.
Jasper and I love to chase one another around the house and then play wrestle. It always makes my F.M. laugh to see us during our “silly time.” She thinks it’s cute when we play – usually in the mornings and when she first gets home from work.

Jasper and I are best buds.

My foster brother can't go anywhere without his stick.

Me and my foster sister, Daisy (She likes to sniff too).
Daisy is kind of the big older sister I never knew I wanted. She always checks on me to make sure I am okay and even lets me play with her squeaky toys. Isn’t she nice?

Sniffing is best done with a friend. Don't you think?

My favorite picture of me (Mel says that she loves this one too).

The sun really does highlight my beauty.

After all that I can tell you are thinking that you want to adopt me. I don’t blame you. I would too if I were a human. To find out more about me go here and scroll down to Lady (that’s me!).

I’ll leave you with one more video of my adorable self. It’s Mel calling for me to come (I tend to get distracted by smells so she needs to remind me to keep up sometimes).

Welcome to the Saturday Pet Blogger Blog Hop. I encourage you to check out some of the other awesome bloggers out there. Much thanks to our most generous and interesting hosts, Life With Dogs, Two Little Cavaliers, and Confessions of the Plume!

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Top 10+1 Favorite Blog Posts

September 6, 2010 10 comments

I’ve been finding some great blogs lately. Most I found through other bloggers who shared a list of their favorite bloggers on their blogs.

All I can say is there are some really awesome people out there doing some really great things!

I thought I would take a twist on this common practice (of sharing favorite blogs and bloggers) and share my favorite blog posts (not all animal related). Each of them was chosen for the powerful message they had to share. I hope you find them to be inspirational, thought-provoking and informative.

Top 10 Favorite and Most Powerful Blog Posts:

1. A Social Media (and Life) Lesson I Learned From My 12-Year-Old: This one comes via Brian K. McDaniel (@bkmacdaddy on Twitter). I love this blog post because of the universal message it has for us all (whether you are a social media person or not).

2. Passage: Dr. Jessica V is a vet who writes from the heart. This blog post left me thinking – how often do we make judgements about others without knowing the whole story. Read and find out.

3. Fear of shipping:Seth Godin is known worldwide (if you haven’t heard of him you will want to check him out). This post spoke to me because as a small business owner, I often have to face my own fears and overcome them. I think his insight applies to everyone and anyone who has let fear stop them from doing what they were meant to do.

4. Magnet word poetry pulls a family together: Kakie Fitzsimmons is a mom, an author, a blogger and social media expert. This post was more visual, but the message was powerful. Another great post on her blog is Is your home a soft place to land?

5. Let’s be fair: Mary Doane is a dog owner, turtle expert, and nature educator. She also created and runs Project Nature. Mary took in her first foster dog, a fearful dog named Aaron, this year. Her commentary on shelter dogs and purebred dogs is powerful and yet reads like poetry at times.

6. Last Night I Dreamt of Snow Anyone who is a pet owner knows how hard it can be when they get sick or it is time to say goodbye. Jasper Roo and his Dad are blogging about his journey through cancer and dealing with the inevitable moment when it will be time to say goodbye. It is powerful and raw and worth reading. Make sure you also check out Jasper’s professional photos as taken by SaraBeth Photography. Stunning stuff.

7. Just a Dog: This is really a video, but it was posted on Life With Dogs and moved me so much it brought me to tears. Powerful enough for me to include it as a blog post. Enjoy.

8. Your Dog Won’t Hate You. This I know.: This post comes from Edie Jarolim at Will My Dog Hate Me. It struck a chord with me not only because how sad the woman was in the e-mail Edie shared, but by the comments left by the people who read this post. There is compassion in this world. I read it here.

9. Breeding Dogs vs. The Horrors of Inbreeding: This post opened my eyes to the world of dog breeding and dog shows in a way it had not been before. I was so amazed at the information Kim Clune shared in this post that I had to go out and watch the whole BBC series: Pedigree Dogs Exposed. I think every dog owner should read this post and watch the videos before getting their next dog.

10. The Richest Man I Knew: I don’t know much about the blogger of In The Boat, but I like the positive message he is trying to share on his blog – Human Beings And Be-ing Humane. I like that. Given the economic turmoil our country continues to experience, this blog post was one of my favorites this year.

11. I lied there’s one more. Life is One Continuous Mistake Patricia McConnell is a wise animal behaviorist and dog trainer. Her willingness to share her own knowledge and experiences with her dogs is amazing. This post is powerful because it had a message for me. I hope you will find your own message as you read it.

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