Category Archives: Fun with your Pet

A Full House at the Litt Palace of Puppy Love!


Mike and Carol Brady have nothing on me.  I am up to the same number of kids the Brady’s had plus a few others longer and shorter term guests.  In other words, there’s no room at the inn!

We’ve now divided my home into the LPPL and the MelPPL — my roommate and adopted adopted daughter Mel’s space.  I also have to report that although technically I own six dogs on paper, one of them, my soon-to-be 13 year old lab, Phoebe, has defected from the LPPL and hangs out in the MelPPL.  So here’s the LPPL line up:


On the MelPPL level we have her guy Beauregard Lee, adopted from Mostly Mutts and came to us via a hoarding case in NW Alabama.  We also have Lucy, a beautiful shepherd mix who has been staying with us while her family gets adjusted to live in South Carolina.  And then there is the defector Phoebe.


There are some adjustments that need to be made.  We use a lot more crates now!  Because of temperament we do keep some separation when the humans aren’t home to supervise.  I do not recommend this living environment for the faint of heart!  You’ve got to be very dedicated to keep everyone and everything clean, happy and loved!  But, what they give back to us is worth the hard work.

Adding to Your Family Dynamic

As an adoption counselor and a dog trainer I sometimes see the opposite ends of the family choosing a new companion animal for their family.  Back in the olden days (when I had to walk five miles in a snow storm, up hill to get to school) pets were sold exclusively at pet stores or Woolworth’s (small pets) or just found them wandering around with no collar.  There were some rescues out there but a lot of euthanasia of strays and unwanted puppies and kittens. If there was an animal shelter, it was often just a euphemism for being put to sleep.

Or you went to a breeder to get a specific dog.  It didn’t matter if that was the breed best suited to your family and your lifestyle – you paid your money and got your dog.  If you liked the look, bought into the Lassie phenomenon that dogs behaved because they wanted to please their people or because Biffy down the street had a poodle, you got a dog.  If they chewed on your furniture, didn’t automagically become house broken or just didn’t match your lifestyle in the first place, dogs (and cats) were disposable and no one would blink an eye if you took them to the animal control.

Growing up, I had a plethora of dogs – some acquired from breeders and some rescued.  My first memory is of our Collie, Blaze.  He was my protector, nanny and nap bed.  We also had a sheepdog named Penny whom we acquired for free from a breeder because she was diabetic and they couldn’t sell her. Our black Belgium Groenendaal named Rico Petrocelli came to our home via an aunt who impulse-purchased him from the window at the pet store. And then there was Princess, a schnauzer who just appeared one day. Some of them stayed their entire lives with us and some were disappeared into the night to live

pickright pet

NOTE: this works for other species!

a fabulous life on the farm because it wasn’t really fair to them to have to take a walk on a leash (and I’m pretty sure that farm wasn’t on this dimensional plain!).


In today’s world, that way of thinking should become a relic of the past.  Before you get that Australian Sheepdog, figure out first, is that the right dog for your family. Ask yourself these questions:

  1. What is your REAL activity level…not the one you aspire to but in reality, what activities would you be able to incorporate your dog into that you are already doing every day.  Do you run, hike or even stroll the neighborhood?
  2. Do you need a dog to assist you? Does your dog have a job – does he need to heard sheep or wake up a hearing impaired child?
  3. What size do you want the dog to be?  Should it fit through a cat door or take up a king sized bed?
  4. What type of coat should the dog have?  Are you a clean freak that wears a lot of black?  I don’t recommend a Great Pyrenees for you!
  5. What kind of personality are you looking for?  If a trip to the dog park on a daily basis is on your agenda then you want to find a dog that is confident and social with another dogs and enjoys that kind of interaction.

    Pick right pet

    What? You’re leaving me again?

  6. What is your lifestyle?  Is everyone out of the house for 8-10 hours a day and then scheduled with something every hour until it is time to go to bed?  Maybe fish would be a good alternative for you!  My gentle and loving Phoebe came from a situation where a family wanted a new puppy, decided on a lab and because of how busy this family was, she was chained in the yard all day and then crated all night long with little interaction with the owners.  She was about nine-months old when she came to live at the LPPL and is one of the best dogs I’ve had.  But I knew what I was getting into with the breed, her needs both physical and mental.

Notice, not one of the questions above had anything to do with the cuteness factor.  Dogs and cats, puppies and kittens, all give us the same chemical reaction as a baby does.  It’s incredibly hard to not go with the cuteness factor but at the end of the day, if you do this exercise before getting a new companion animal, your chances of successful guardianship increases dramatically!

So what if you are less worried about the breed and really want to focus on rescues?  Good news on that front! Paws Like Me is the for companion animals!  Once you fill out the profile, Paws Like Me then applies a pet matching logarithm based on the following personality quadrants:


Energy measures physical as well as mental energy. A dog with high energy tends to be very motivated and active. A dog with low energy prefers the lazy life and won’t go out of his way to keep himself entertained.


Confidence measures the dog’s level of security. A dog with high confidence will confront new situations and people with no hesitation. A dog with low confidence will need more guidance and reassurance in their daily life.


Focus measures a dog’s ability to concentrate on a given task. A high focus dog is not easily distracted and is well suited for advanced training. A low focus dog is spontaneous in play and easily distracted.


Independence measures a dog’s level of affection. A very independent dog is happy with minimal physical contact; a glance or kind word makes him happy. A dog with low independence thrives on petting, giving kisses, and being in contact with someone as frequently as possible.

Paws Like Us then pulls results from local rescue and online resources and matches you with a potential companion.

A few weeks ago, we had a great couple come to us ready to adopt their first dog together. You could tell they were going to be great doggy parents!  One half of the couple gravitates toward one of our gentle giants, Ranger, while the other half fell in love with a mini, Lenny.  This was a huge decision for them and you could see the gravity of them wanting to make the right choice.

I sent them home with no one and asked them to fill out the Paws Like Me application.  As much as we loved them and wanted them to adopt from Mostly Mutts, perhaps there was another companion out there better suited for them.  Yesterday, they came back and adopted Lenny.  He was their #1 match!  I can’t wait to see the updates.


Torture is six weeks away from the royal family…


See mom? Everyone can learn a new trick!

I’m leaving on Saturday to drive up to New Jersey for a six week dog training extravaganza!  I’ll be staying in a dorm which will be different.  I stayed in a dorm overnight and then went and got an off campus apartment way back when I was still considered a teen.  My training program is being held at St. Hubert’s Animal Sanctuary and we will be using shelter dogs which is great.  I’m hoping I can utilize some of the logistics of the program to set up our own volunteer training program (i.e., teaching volunteers to train the dogs).

Staying in a dorm means no residents of the Litt Palace of Puppy Love (LPPL) can attend with me.  My previous dog training hands-on classes had you training on your own dog.  I’m glad to be able to help shelter dogs but six weeks without one or two or five bed warmers is a long time!!!! I think I will have terrible withdrawal issues from not having a dog curl into the curve of my sleeping body.

Because I’m staying in a dorm, I’ve had to think of a plethora of items I’ve got to take with me from bedding, towels, shower shoes to items that I can’t live without the comforts of like how do I watch my shows, Outlander and Game of Thrones, in a dorm?


Sophie carries her clothes in her own backpack!

But mostly I think, how can I smuggle a dog into the dorm room?  Oscar would be hard to camouflage but surely I can come up with a plan for Sophie?  She’s little and if I can travel with a dog, she’s usually the one I bring.  She even has her own luggage!  And her pup tent folds down and fits into my luggage.

I’m sure I’ll have lots of snuggle time with the residents of St. Hubert’s but I’m really going to miss my prince and princesses from the LPPL!

I’ve got a Bosjin Fieloxer!

I love fostering! Sometimes I’ll only get a dog or puppy overnight until they go to a new foster. Sometimes my fosters live in the IMG_1696Litt Palace of Puppy Love (LPPL) for several months. Then there is Oscar, a young Lab/Pit that came to the LPPL last year right after tax day 2014. I had him for about a week and then due to a family emergency, I had to give him back to the Mostly Mutts Animal Rescue shelter and head up to New York. A month later, I was back in Acworth and Oscar was still in the shelter. He had a few behavioral issues and hadn’t shown well at adoption events.

The day I got home, I called the Mostly Mutts director and told her I was taking Oscar back. I had just left my husband up in New York for who knows how long. I was sad and lonely for him and Oscar was so comforting. He was happy to come back to the LPPL. That was May 2014 and he’s still with me.

Enjoy this video I’ve prepared called Black Dog. I made this last summer after having him for a few months.  He had so many strikes against him – big, black dog that has Pit in him.  But I really thought he had more Boxer in him.

I have Labs and I’ve had Pits and Oscar did not seem like either to me so this fall, I decided to give Oscar a DNA test.  Guess what? No Lab and no Pit in him!  His DNA profile was extremely unusual for a “mixed” breed.  I love genetics and if you’ve followed me for long, I’ve written before about DNA tests.  Bailey, my All-American-Mixed Breed, did not have any specific DNA sets for her parents, grandparents or great grandparents but she did have trace DNA of a Boston Terrier, Belgium Tervuren Shepard and Rottweiler.

Oscar however had a very specific DNA reading for his Great Grandparents and therefore his Grandparents and his parents.  Bottom Line is his Great Grandparents were Boston Terriers, Korean Jindo dogs, Field Spaniels and Boxers.  This means he is 25% of each…a Bosjin Fieloxer!

Oscar - BoBoFielJinFor a black dog up for adoption that has the dreaded “Pit” in his description, this DNA report is very important.  Since we’ve updated his profile, he’s had a lot more interest in him.  I don’t bring him to adoptions every week but he’s been really good when I do.

Knowing his DNA make up makes me understand some of his behaviors and needs.  It helps me to understand what kinds of doggie sports we should focus on and he’s a quick learner too!  At this point, I can’t imagine my life without Oscar but I’m willing to consider all homes.  He needs a place that will challenge him, keep him occupied through training protocols and activities but most of all he needs a place that will love him!

If you are interested in fostering or adopting any of our dogs, please check out our website:



The Ecosystem of the Dog Park

Kibbles the foster pup

Kibbles the foster pup

Kibbles, my foster dog, did not get adopted today.  He was very patient waiting for someone special to come and fall in love with him.  How can you not love that face?  He’s an incredibly sweet puppy with lots of energy.  I did not work the adoptions today so when I came to get him, he was very excited to see me.  So I told him we could get a toy (our adoptions are at PetSmart).  We walked down the toy aisle and he immediately went for a fuzzy fox that had the recycled water bottle in the body so it made a crunchy noise.  He proudly walked it up to the cash register where it was scanned and paid for and then he promptly lost interest in it once we had the receipt! Of course I didn’t even think to get the phone out to take a picture of him carrying the toy or holding it for the cashier to scan.

Knowing he was a pent up ball of energy from his day of adoptions, I took him to the dog park.  This pup loves all dogs – big or small!  He immediately introduced himself to all the dogs in the dog park.  For some reason all the dogs were on the small dog side.  Sometimes, I think we need to take a lesson from the dogs — have a sniff, run around and make no judgements of each other.  But boy, at the dog park, you meet all kinds!

Like the guy who thought it was OK to bring an eight-week old puppy to a dog park…”I haven’t heard of any issues with this dog park BUT you know a puppy that young you really shouldn’t expose to dogs you don’t know in a place like a dog park because you don’t know what the other dogs could be carrying that could really harm your puppy.”

Or the lady who has a five-month old poodle she just bought from Petland…”Such a cute pup but you know there’s a great application called Petfinder that you can look for rescues if you have a particular breed you are looking for!”

Then there is the lady who knows all the dogs’ names and tells the other dog owners that her dog is “just playing” when he makes the other dogs yelp.

Kibbles didn’t care where anybody came from or if anyone should be there or not.  He greeted and played with every single dog in the park. No judgements Just pure doggy fun!

If you are interested in adopting Kibbles, please go to our website,

Sophie and I at BarkWorld

Sophie and I drove down to Atlanta yesterday to attend BarkWorld a conference for Social Petworkers. So far we’ve met Norman the Scooter Riding Dog and now I am waiting for a lady from HGTV to come and show us how to make Dog friendly gardens. This morning I learned some basic differences about social media and how we should be using it.

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