Tag Archives: healthy

Spotlight on Wezzy

OMG, how can this boy with his flair still be in the shelter after 112+ days!


Wezzy, WCAD ID: 91971, is a male Pit Bull who is going on four years old and a solid 61 lbs. He was a good boy during his photo shoots and the photographers said he was very attentive, which is great for training. He already knows “sit” and takes treats very gently.

He has also had the opportunity to play in the Dogs Playing for Life® playgroups. Wezzy is what they call a “rough and rowdy” player – and with his strength he’s going to need a strong playmate. This also means he’ll need careful supervision and proper introductions to other dogs. From experience, I can tell you that when they find the right playmate they are a joy to watch.

He has tested positive for heartworms – not as scary as I used to think. It can be treated and there are different methods with different cost structures. Be sure to ask the Wake County Animal Center (WCAC) staff about this when you go to visit him.


Look at those ears – how can you resist? Visit Wezzy and all the great animals at the WCAC any day of the week from noon to 6 p.m. And if you hit it off, Wezzy’s neutered and ready to go home with you today!

Yes, Becoming a WCAC Foster is a Process

The call goes out from the Friends of the WCAC that the shelter is full and there are sick and scared pets that need your help. You click on a photo that pulls your heartstrings right into the computer – and you decide then and there that you have to help and that you want to become a foster.

My post on November 19 talked about what fostering won’t be, but we also need to talk about what it takes to become a foster – be patient, it will take some time and effort. I recommend your first step be to review the Animal Foster Program FAQs. It’s your first insight into what it takes to be a foster and some of what to expect. All the animals at the WCAC belong to Wake County. The staff is responsible for the welfare of all these animals. And I can tell you that they take their role as seriously as if they were their personal pets.

You need to fill out the foster application (click here to start now) that asks some key things such as whether you own or rent your home and if you rent, what the pet policy is, including any breed restrictions. This information will help the foster coordinator find the right fit for you and your lifestyle – she’s a rock star at this! One of the most important pieces of information to provide is your Veterinary Reference – WCAC staff will contact them and will verify the vaccination status of your current pets. It’s vital to the health not only of the WCAC foster animals, but that of your pets as well.

Once your application has passed through the initial review you will be contacted to sign up for one of the weekly group orientations. At the orientation you will be given a foster manual – read it from cover to cover when you get home. It is full of detailed expectations, guidelines, and rules that would bore you to tears if Joanne were to go over it from cover to cover in the meeting. She will highlight the most important bits and tell you some of the stories that led to these rules. You’ll find Joanne easy to talk to and questions are welcome but you may want to save some of them for your personal consultation. Besides, you’re gonna want to get to the tour and see the animals that need you.

Following that group orientation you’ll set up a one on one consultation time with Joanne. This is where you’ll have a very open and frank conversation about your lifestyle and how fostering fits in. And – the best part – you’ll finish that meeting by going out to the floor and finding that special little animal that needs you to help them on their way to finding their very own forever home.

Welcome to the family!

I can’t stress enough about reading over the manual when you have a chance. There are a few other tips I’ll pass along. If you’re on Facebook you will be invited to the WCAC Foster Family group page, which is a great place to get to know your fellow fosters and pick their brains for insights and advice. Another great resource is the Facebook group’s Files page – it has all kinds of useful documents – one of the most useful is the General Foster FAQ.

Some “secret” insights to Joanne:


  • If you’re having or think you’re having a foster pet emergency, call her (919-427-2107).
  • Email and texts are a non-emergency communication option with Joanne ‘cause she gets a ton of them.
  • Don’t use the Facebook group or Facebook messenger to ask Joanne questions – with all the running around the shelter and meetings she has, she is not on Facebook that often.
  • Joanne turns off her phone on her days off. If your call goes straight to voicemail, call her backup Cindy at 919-368-5422.
  • Joanne is a hardcore Hurricanes hockey fan – we have season tickets – which means that from October thru April she will be unavailable during the home games. Leave a voicemail or text or if it’s an emergency, call Cindy.


You’ve joined a passionate group and I hope that you are looking forward to getting to know your new family as much as we’re excited to get to know you.

Charo in the Spotlight

Charo is a lovely brindle brown and white Pittie mix who has been at the shelter since early July of this year. She’s about a year and a half old – a rambunctious pre-teen in dog years.

Charo (WCAC ID: 90561)
Charo (WCAC ID: 90561)

She is a spunky and outgoing pup who wants to be the center of everything and the life of the party. She would do great in a home that had a yard for her to romp in – note, she’s not going to be a candidate for dog parks as we’ve found her to be rather picky about her playmates in the Dogs Playing for Life play groups. But when she finds those guys she plays well with she is all in and has such a glorious time playing that you won’t be able to keep yourself from scheduling more play dates for her.

Charo will need some training – her previous life and time in the shelter has left her with some bad habits. She just needs a little etiquette training. May I suggest Teamworks Dog Training LLC – I’d love to see her in class.

Charo also had the opportunity to be one of Shannon Johnstone’s Landfill Dogs. Here are some of the great photos from Miss Charo’s private photo shoot.

Photos by Shannon Johnstone
Photos by Shannon Johnstone

Shannon tells me that Charo loves to play with toys and has a special affinity for tennis balls.

So, if you’re not afraid of a little work for the most terrific lifelong companion – stop by the Wake County Animal Center (WCAC) any day of the week between noon and 6 p.m. to meet this terrific girl. You can also check out all of the available pets on the Adoption Gallery (click here).

Do you have what it takes?

There are always pets in need – you see them everywhere you turn. Within the WCAC one of the ways you can help is to become a foster family. Granted, being a foster family is a tough gig (for obvious reasons) and not for everyone, but the rewards will make your heart grow three sizes every day.

But we need to talk about a few things, like …

  • You will most likely not be fostering cute fluffy small dogs or puppies. The reason is obvious once you hear it – they are the quickest to be adopted or rescued. It’s the big dogs and pit bull types that have spent months and months of their life in the shelter that need some time in a real home.
  • Itty bitty bottle-feeder kittens are not easy to foster. They’ve usually been turned in without their momma, which may mean that she abandoned them. This happens in nature for a reason. You will lose many of them and you won’t know why. They will seem happy and healthy when you go to bed and the next morning they will pass over to the RainbowBridge in your arms.
  • Special needs animals need you. There are always sick dogs and cats at the shelter, more than there is room for, and they need someplace “bug free” to get healthy and strengthen their immune systems. They have to be taken out of the general population to minimize the impact of illness on all the other animals. Let’s face it, if you’ve ever been in a shelter you know the noise and chaos quickly wears on your nerves – but you get to leave and go home. The same is true for many of the animals that come through the WCAC – it’s too much for them and they start to shut down or act crazy in the kennel. They need the love, comfort, and stability of a home and family to make them adoptable.

These are the shelter pets who need you. Next week I’ll talk a little bit about the process of becoming a foster for the WCAC and why it’s not an instant approval type process.

If you’d like to get started on becoming a foster click here and fill out the Foster Application.

It’s a tough job, but they need you!

Shelter Dog Play Groups?!?!

What a concept – bringing together groups of pups with different backgrounds and the baggage that comes from being strays or simply thrown away. It’s called “Dogs Playing for Life” and it’s a program developed by Aimee Sadler of the Southampton Animal Shelter Foundation. This program is being taught around the country to shelter and rescue groups who want to take the next step in exercising and socializing the dogs that will one day – hopefully – be a part of the larger community.

So, why am I talking about this program? Because the Wake County Animal Center (WCAC) is taking this step and as a volunteer I was able to join in the training this past week.

The classroom training was full of useful information about the benefits of play groups and the different play styles, so I just have to share some of these insights here.

  • 30 minutes of play group offers the same mental and physical stimulation as a two hour walk.
  • Dogs teach each other much more effectively than we as humans can teach them.
  • Healthy contact can help reduce Barrier Reactivity and On Leash Reactivity.

And the stuff about play styles gave me insight into how my own dogs play.

There are no “gentle and dainties” in my house… or is there? As I reread the description about this play style being relatively quiet with frequent stops and starts I noticed it describes Ruby when Khayla is trying to play with her in the living room.

Now “rough and rowdy” definitely describes my Khayla and the pure joy she gets out of grabbing, holding, chasing and tumbling, and if they’re out in the yard Ruby will join in the fun. I think Khayla actually likes being thrown to the ground by Ruby.

I guess the reason we don’t have any “push and pull” players in our house is the lack of herding breeds in our mutts, although Ruby does love to chase squirrels (what dog doesn’t?) and cars driving through the neighborhood. Or maybe that might be better described as “seek and destroy,” which is a prey drive style. To some it may not look mutual and will tend to require a little human intervention to keep it even.

As play yard monitor I thought one of the best lessons they taught us was to make this the dogs’ play group. We need to hang back and let them teach each other and work things out. This requires many of us to retrain ourselves – even in my own home I find I need to refrain from sticking my nose in all their business.

We also spent time learning when and how we need to step in – funny, a lot of this stuff seems like it should apply to the school yard as well. The human needs to step in when the play is no longer mutual or one dog is having fun at another’s expense. Also if a dog’s response is disproportionate to feedback from the other dog. And definitely when a fight breaks out – we’ll talk more about this in a future post.

Besides being a neutral yard monitor, you can start your group off right by keeping the yard free of toys and treats, making sure collars are properly fitted, and ensuring all Halti’s, slip collars and scarves are removed. Later, once you’re comfortable with their group interaction, you can also remove their dragging leashes.

Here are a few pictures of the fun we had …

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Remember, stop by the WCAC any day of the week between noon and 6:00 p.m. to meet some wonderful animals and potentially your newest family member.


Rescue Only

rescue, pittie, pit bull, dog, shelter pup
Khayla (WCAC ID: 79856)

I’ve been off my game when it comes to blogging about Kay-Kay, but then again in some ways Kay-Kay has been off her game.

It has become apparent that she will always have skin issues. What I thought was an anal gland problem that needed attention was really just a just a bug bite (or something) that stays aggravated because she keeps licking it. Every few days we have to wipe her paw pads down with some medicated shampoo because when she gets itchy she licks her paws until they get a yeast infection. As you can see here – Kay-Kay’s infected foot – that wasn’t pretty.

Currently we’re trying to control her general itchiness with Benadryl and it seems to help some, but I feel so bad when she stands up and scratches and scratches.

With all this going on the vet at the shelter decided to put her on “rescue only” status. They are hoping we can find a rescue organization that’s a little farther north so she can get away from some of those things that make her itch. Plus they could more thoroughly evaluate potential adopters to make sure they realize what they are getting themselves into.

If you are or know a rescue that would be interested in this sweet girl, email me at afureverfamily@yahoo.com.

What a Wonderful Time of Year

Yes, I love the Christmas season. The lights. The decorations. All the great food. This year has been extra special as foster poppa graduated from NCSU and got a job with IBM. Woo hoo! And during all of this, Milton found his furever family. We are so tickled we can hardly stand it!

Sweet Milton
Sweet Milton

Milton had healed from his leg amputation so nicely over the weeks he was with us. The way he was running, jumping, playing, and smiling made us realize that parting with him when he got adopted was gonna make us cry. Although we loved, and still miss, all our foster dogs, we always knew that we were not their perfect furever home. Yes, there is Ruby and if we are going to continue fostering she will remain our only permanent doggy family member although Milton could have easily joined our family.

Milton's frog impression
Milton’s frog impression

We met MB at a Wake Animal Advocates Group (WAAG) adoption event in Knightdale and we knew this was Milton’s perfect match when he rolled over and asked for a belly rub from her shortly after they first met. We’re also excited for Milton about the big back yard he’ll have to run in with his new four-footed brother and sister. We can hardly wait to see all the photos from MB, but in the meantime we’ve relished the updates she has sent us.

He’s doing just great and couldn’t be happier.

Now, do we bring home a new foster immediately or let Ruby revel in being the center of attention in her first Christmas with her furever family?

Who’s got a clean bill of health?

Mr. “I’m Healthy as a Horse” Bubba Rex (a.k.a. Dexter #66007)

Oh, yeah, baby – it’s me!

Foster Momma dropped me off at the WCAC this morning, where doctor Jen gave me another soothing bath. Dr. Jen was doing a happy dance and when I asked her why she said I was mange free. Best of all, no more medicine on my dinner plate. Foster Momma said she’d still give me a scoop of Alpo with dinner just ‘cause she loves me and thinks I need to gain a bit more weight.

Foster Momma asked the nice vets to neuter me the first time I passed my mange test (you have to pass it two months in a row to be considered cured). That happened three weeks ago – so – so that means that as soon as my furever family and I meet we can start being a family immediately. Well, as soon as we go to the WCAC and take care of the paper work.

Foster Momma gets all teary eyed when we talk about it, but that’s okay ‘cause I know she really wants me to find my family.

She said I should probably talk to you all about my perfect home …

    • I need somebody who is strong and confident to lead me and give me guidelines to live by.
    • I would love a couch and bed to sleep next to you.
    • I need someone who loves to go on walks or runs or hikes in the woods.
    • I would LOVE a fenced in yard to run and zoom and play catch in.
    • And it would be just too cool if I had a dog buddy (or two) to play in that yard with and teach me all about doggy manners.
    • Momma says no cats, as I find them just a little too interesting (if you know what I mean). She also says that small kids would probably not be a good idea as I need to learn to play properly first.
    • I need an unending supply of treats and Kongs filled with peanut butter and frozen bananas.

Foster Momma just looked over my shoulder and said she thought my list was getting kind of long – she did say “perfect” family. Quite frankly, I’m a dog and all I really need is good food, regular vet visits and lots of love and I’ll be so happy I’ll just about bust.

Ready world – here I am! Email foster momma at afureverfamily@yahoo.com right now to set up a play date and see if we’re meant to be together. I know we are.