There’s a Place for Us

Rita Hayworth loved Marlon Brando so much that it almost killed her. During their torrid 8 year affair, she suffered his philandering, his emotional abuse, and a botched abortion. Keeping that in mind, I am not a fan of Brando. I recently pulled two gorgeous 1 year old dogs from the shelter named Brando and Rita Hayworth. It is unclear if they are siblings or just pack mates. They were surrendered together when their owner passed away just before Thanksgiving. They were scared and depressed and not adjusting to the shelter. Who can blame them?

Another foster that I know had just asked me to keep a look out for a young yellow lab female for her. Voila, Rita appeared. The shelter thought that Rita had recently had a litter of puppies, it appeared that she was leaking milk. The man that surrendered her said there were no puppies. It seemed suspicious. Rita seemed sad. So did Brando


Rita was picked up by her foster-fail momma and I kept Brando here. He wasn’t answering to that name. He completely ignored it, so I began to call him Teddy. He looks just like an enormous Teddy Bear. Rita has become Roo. It turns out that this girl did not have a litter of puppies. When taken to the vet to be checked over and spayed, we discovered that she had a massive Uterine infection. Poor girl was feeling miserable. Thank God we got her taken care of. Had she remained in the shelter, the infection would have spread and it could have been much worse for her. She is now in her forever home and healing nicely.

In the meantime, everyone is falling in love with Teddy, with the exception of my foster Artie, who would rather Teddy leave us. These two do not get along. Teddy went almost immediately into a wonderful adoptive home with a woman and the 15 year old dog that she rescued after it was thrown from a moving vehicle. I did the home visit and little, senior Sophie seemed cautious, but friendly towards Teddy. I think she was fine with him until she realized that he was staying, and not just there for a visit. Little Sophie went on a hunger strike in protest and was hiding in the crate all day, and although the woman loved Teddy and he was completely calm, after several days of this, we decided that it was too much stress for Sophie. Teddy came back home with me. We always want every member of the family to be onboard with an adoption.

Teddy is still sad. His tail wags, we cuddle, but he is sad. That’s why I had an idea. Roo’s foster fail momma said that she would be interested in a playmate for Roo. What better than to reunite Teddy and Roo? At the shelter, they brought her to him when he was depressed and it cheered him up. So, paws crossed, Teddy will go to Roo’s new home tonight and I’m hoping for a 2nd foster fail. If not, there is plenty of interest in Teddy, but I think they would heal better together. What if Rita Hayworth and Brando had a second chance at happily ever after?

It would make a good story…



Home is where Henry is

Today was the day. I woke up at o-dark-thirty, grabbed a large coffee, put Henry in a harness and we headed out towards Jackson, MS. His rescue has a volunteer transport lined up and he needed to be dropped off at the vet for his health certificate. Henry, who has been with us since last March, and was not successfully adopted, would be going to a new foster home in California.

I’m still not sure why this darling beagle was not adopted. One look at those big brown eyes and he owned me.

Its nearly a 3 hour drive to Jackson. I only made it an hour. Henry, who loves car rides and and stands on his hind paws with the wind in his face, was curled into a tight ball in the back seat, whining. I told him I loved him and he was going on a long trip to a new home. He whimpered. I swear that they understand what is happening. Maybe they don’t understand my words, but they understand my emotions. He knew. His favorite stuffed Moose was on the back seat next to him. He looked at it. Looked at me. He knew it shouldn’t be there. He alternated between quiet and whining. I rolled down the windows. He stayed curled in a ball.

I recently drove Tres all of the way to Ohio, and I didn’t cry until I had handed him over and got back into the car. I knew he was going to a good home. He was happy the whole trip. This wasn’t like that. Henry was scared. I was crying. I was crying enough that I had to pull over. I was crying enough that I had to call my husband. I had to turn around and drive Henry home. He is home. We love him and he is staying. It wasn’t planned. I thought I could say goodbye. He couldn’t. I couldn’t.

A lot of people say that they can’t foster because they would want to keep them all. I was ready to let Henry go. He was nearly adopted in New Orleans. It didn’t work out, but it was a good home. I would have been happy for him, happy for the family. I can do that. It just wan’t meant to be with Henry. He was meant to be with us. We got home and he was so happy. The other dogs were so happy to see him! So, now I have four permanent residents. Pen, Ollie, Bailey & Henry.

That was all before 9am…

Meet Artie! Artie is a highly unexpected guest, (because I am getting Brando on Thursday afternoon).

Mr Artie was abandoned and found himself at the Jefferson Parish Animal Shelter. He was rescued to a foster home a few weeks ago. Unfortunately, his little foster brother vetoed him (and picked a fight), and Artie vetoed apartment life. He is active, and needs a yard to run around in. Artie needed a place to stay, immediately. So, here he is. I have chased him with a camera all day. He was in constant motion. Anxious, but happy to run and play. Tonight, he is cuddled up on the couch with my husband. Calm. He is playful, and gentle, and loves car rides and being outside. Artie is a 4 year old Springer Spaniel/Collie mix. He is very sweet with my kids. He will sit for a treat. I don’t know how this darling lost his family, but he deserves only the best in life. He is 50 lbs of fluff and love.

The Cecchine Hotel for Dogs is full again, just the way we like it.

I may never go to the bathroom alone again…



This dog is home – Iffy Foster Fail








Dogs have big personalities. You can research a breed and get a general idea of their general disposition, but there are no guarantees. When you have a lot of dogs coming through your hotel, you realize that some dogs fit your family better than others. There are easy-going, chill dogs, high-maintenance, needy dogs, and everything in between. You never know what you are going to get, and you can’t judge a dog by its breed or its looks. I have met the sweetest, calmest pit bulls, and the meanest little yorkies.

Whatever kind of dog you think you want, there are certain dog faces that make you fall in love at first sight. You can’t help yourself. My Facebook feed is filled with rescue dog posts. I see a lot of dog pictures.  Did you know that some people sell and or/give dogs away on Facebook? It seems like a reasonable marketplace for dog lovers to find available dogs. One big problem comes to mind – dog-fighting. It is unbelievable to me that this is a thing, but it is. It involves fighting dogs and bait dogs and I’m no expert, but I have become aware that there are dog-fighting rings and they are looking for free or cheap dogs. That is why I am a member of several Facebook Groups for people who are looking to “rehome” their pets.  See that puppy up there, that picture in the middle. I fell in love. Mom is a lab-mix, she had an accidental litter, and puppies were being given away on Facebook. I NEEDED to save this one. I had to make sure that it got a good home, a great home. OMG, look at that puppy face. In love.

I drove out into the country to meet the owner and see if I could help her with her puppies. She couldn’t afford to keep them. They hadn’t had any immunizations. She was doing her best, but was worried that the momma dog was already pregnant again.  I talked to her about how to make sure the puppies all went to good homes. (Ask for a potential adopter’s vet’s phone number. Call them. Make sure their dogs are up to date on vaccinations and are well cared for. Ask for personal references that you can call.)  I gave her info on local low-cost spay programs. I brought home this gorgeous little foster puppy.

I named him Bailey.

Bailey is my perfect dog. He like to snuggle on my lap. He gets so excited about food that he bounces across the floor like a bunny rabbit. He has these super, short daschsund legs, but he bounds across the room and launches himself up on my lap. We call him a flying squirrel. He is an adorably silly-looking, iffy dog mix of Labrador Retriever, Chow, English Bulldog and Dachshund. (I know, because we DNA tested him out of extreme curiosity.) Bailey is my personal therapy dog. He drops my blood pressure and makes me smile so much that it hurts. It didn’t take me long to realize that he was home. Everyone who saw us together knew I was going to foster fail. I know, I know what you are thinking. 1. You can’t keep them all, and 2. how do you not keep them all?  So, here’s the thing. I love ALL of these dogs. I love having them here. I love watching them heal and I love seeing them go to their forever homes.  Some of them are easier to say goodbye to than others. Some dogs are fiercely independent, and they are easier to send off than the needy ones. Some are really needy, and it can get tiring giving them all of the attention that they deserve. A 90lbs lap dog is not so much my thing. Some of these dogs fit my family just right. Bailey was different from the others somehow. I got a message that he could be added to a transport to New York and I cried. No. No! I’m not okay with Bailey leaving, just no. I had to convince my family, who love him, but hadn’t thought of him as anything other than a temporary foster dog. We had, in particular, drilled the word temporary into the kid’s heads. I failed. I foster failed and I’m so glad that I did. We adopted Bailey and he is my little best friend. I cannot imagine my life without him.

All of my foster dogs wear a little bone shaped tag that says ADOPT ME on one side and has my contact information on the back. I let my family know that I was not giving Bailey up (after lots of discussion) by going to Petsmart and buying him a tag that says BAILEY. It was my $7 way of making him a permanent member of my family. He serves as our hotel butler. He buttles. He is at the door to greet you and will walk you out when you leave. If your feet get cold he will lay on them. If you are stressed, he will jump up in your lap and you will feel the stress melting away.

Some of the local rescues have programs where you can check out a dog like you check out a book. You can borrow them, take them home, see how they fit your life, and then decide if you want to make an adoption commitment. I think that’s great. If you don’t want to try foster-to-adopt, where you agree to foster with an option to adopt, then the next best option is to borrow a rescue dog for a weekend or a week and see if that’s your dog. You will know.  The difference between getting a dog straight from the shelter and getting a dog through is a rescue may seem minimal, but in some ways there are advantages to going through a rescue. A rescue will make sure that the dog is fully vetted, meaning its been to the vet, has all of its shots, has been spayed or neutered, and is on flea, tick, and heartworm prevention, and has been micro-chipped (invaluable for getting a lost dog returned to its owner). That is what you are getting when you pay an adoption fee . A rescue foster has also spent time assessing each dog and can tell you if a dog is well suited to a house with children, cats, or other dogs. Rescue volunteers take time to call adopter’s personal references, their vet, their landlord. We visit the home and make sure that it is safe and appropriate for the animal. I wouldn’t recommend a large, active 1-year-old Labrador Retriever for an older couple who have had hip replacement and have an unfenced yard, but I’m sure that everybody has their perfect dog out there somewhere. If you haven’t already, I hope you can find yours.


Bailey - fostered and adopted - 2 March 2017 - forever