Tag Archives: Shepherd


I’m done with why. Why did this animal end up at the Wake County Animal Center (WCAC)? Why did their owner surrender this sweetheart? I’m done with it because the stories/reasons/excuses are either going to tear out my heart or make me want to punch someone in the throat.

Monday night I spent a little time with each of these darlings – falling in love with each.

Gladys (136850) – she gave me the Ruby look so I had to take her picture. She’s got a deposit – woo hoo! She’s super skinny and despite having just arrived that day she was all wiggles. She wasn’t looking for pets, just someone to be with her – and get a bite – and sit next to you – and get a drink – and come back to sit next to me.

Socks (136504) – a distinguished gentleman of 13 years looking to be your one and only fur baby.

Nesquick (136588) – a cute little girl just two years old looking for fun in all the best places.

Oh, my, gosh, Scrappy (136601) broke my heart when she pressed herself in the corner and would not come out. She’d gone from living in a back yard with her doggy sister to being alone in this weird smelling, loud place. She’s become a volunteer fav and is coming out of her shell.

UPDATE: Scrappy has gone to rescue!

Dusty (136527) – a lady of 13 years. Won’t you make her life whole again with a fureverfamily?

Sebastian (136855) – too much of a gorgeous boy to be a stray.

And Clinton (136390) is just your typical happy gentle-treat-taking Pittie. And such a handsome boy!

Okay, I will ask “Why?” Why are you still looking at these pics and not on your way to the WCAC to meet your new best friend?


WCAC ID: 103252

Sometimes you just gotta let them speak for themselves.

Rhonda (WCAC ID: 103252)
Rhonda (WCAC ID: 103252)

“Hello, I’m Rhonda and I’m fond of really wonderful people like yourself and wouldn’t you know I’m on the market for a wonderful family!

“I am a lovable, spunky girl just looking to love and get loved back! I KNOW SIT and WALK GREAT ON LEASH! I also APPEAR HOUSETRAINED too! I am treat-motivated, so I see lots of fun-filled days ahead with you as you teach me new commands!

“I have been polite around other dogs I’ve met during my walks, but always proper introductions and adjustment time are very important to me when I’m making new doggy friends!

“Radically, Rhonda”

If you are interested in learning more about Rhonda or to arrange a meet and greet, please email afureverfamily@yahoo.com and we will put you in touch with her foster family.

The WCAC is always full of great animals looking for their furever homes. They are located at 820 Beacon Lake Drive and open daily from noon to 6:00 p.m. You can also check out the adoption gallery to look for your new love.

What ya’ doin’ this weekend?

A new series where I showcase the pups I photographed during the week and highlight local shelter events.

Bitsy (WCAC ID: 96248)

Bitsy is a 10 month old Chi mix with an incredibly adorable under-bite. She is full of puppy energy and high squeaky barks, but she calms right down if you pick her up. A little training and she’s gonna be a real show stopper.

Sergeant Pickles (WCAC ID: 108372)

Another puppy who needs some training and you will have people stopping you in the streets to pet him. He’s just seven months old, but did well during his photo shoot. And look at that nub tail – OMG. And his coat is so luxurious you just can’t resist a snuggle.

Voile (WCAC ID: 109016)

They don’t get any sweeter than this new mom, Voile. At just three year’s old she is the perfect age to be past some of the crazy puppy stuff and still young enough to run and play for hours.

Stormy (WCAC ID: 109116)

Stormy is just 10 months old and ALL puppy. He is so sweet and needs a family who is going to take him on long walks (and even runs), do training (he’d be a good agility pup) and just play with him.

Romeo (WCAC ID: 109119)

Romeo oh Romeo where are ya babe? He’s just two years old and has a wonderfully big blocky head. He as lots of energy, but wasn’t rude about it during our photo shoot. He really just wants to lean up against your legs and get some affection.

Maya (WCAC ID: 109145)

I love Maya. Who could resist that face? She’s just your average Carolina Shelter Dog breed and so very very sweet.

Lady (WCAC ID: 109155)

This one year old is breaking my heart with these pics. She was surrendered just a couple of days ago and is super stressed at the shelter. She needs to find her foster family or a furever home where someone will take their time and show her what love is.

Martin (WCAC ID: 109186)

Martin also needs someone who will understand his skittishness (mostly to noises) and help him gain confidence. A two year old Shepherd mix who was surrendered last wee, he’s still getting use to life in a noisy shelter.

Harley (WCAC ID: 109401)

And finally, Harley. I can’t tell you much about this 10 year old sweetie as he was surrendered just minutes before I started my pawparazzi shift and they didn’t leave an info sheet on him. He seemed very sweet and accepting of me climbing in the kennel with him. And he absolutely LOVED the butt scratch I gave him – got that tongue flicking like nobody’s business.

So there you go, what are you waiting for? Put that coffee in a to-go cup, run those errands this morning and stop by the Wake County Animal Center anytime after noon today to meet these pups and so many many more.

You can check out my Flickr Pawparazzi gallery and the WCAC adoption gallery to see all the available animals. I hear there is even a red tailed boa going in to foster today.

Event Round-up:

Tomorrow is World Rabies Day and the Rottweiler Hearts Rescue is having a low cost clinic at the new Phydeux’ in Cary today.



Spay and Neuter – the Good and the Bad

Today is my third post during Spay/Neuter Awareness Month and I want to say something about the medical debate that is ongoing when it comes to the health risks and benefits of spaying and neutering. Every dog or cat adopted from the Wake County Animal Center (WCAC) is spayed or neutered before going to its new home. When I first started volunteering, there was a voucher policy where you could put an extra deposit on the pet and have it refunded when you provided proof of spay/neuter. I have seen statistics from the ASPCA that says that only about 40% of these vouchers are actually used. And as my concern is for shelter animals who are having to be euthanized because of random pregnancies and backyard breeding I firmly believe that a policy of 100% spay/neuter is our current solution to stop the influx of animals to our shelters.

The Benefits

  • Decidedly the number one benefit of neutering is fewer unwanted and thrown away animals in this world.
  • In addition there is the added benefit in some male dogs of a decrease in their humping and marking behavior.
  • And a decrease in “spraying” by male cats.
  • Because of the removal of the reproductive organs there is no chance for the development of uterine cancer, ovarian cancer, or testicular cancer.

The Risks

  • The main risk in spay/neuter surgeries is the potential for surgical complications. These risks are considered to be low where healthy dogs and cats are concerned.
  • In cats there is an increased risk of obesity, but we as their human caretakers have control of this.
  • There is evidence of increased risk for certain bone, urinary tract, and blood vessel cancers.
  • There is only weak evidence of spaying causing urinary incontinence in female dogs.

The ASPCA has a great overview article about spaying and neutering including citations for research on each of the potential risks.

It’s Decided

Yesterday I volunteered to help transport a dog to Suite Paws for the duration of the WCAC renovation project – be sure to stop by here tomorrow for a picture story of it. Okay, back to the real story. I went in a little early to do some pawparazzi work. It had been too long and just the little time I spent with each of these sweethearts has brought me to rededicate my efforts. Monday mornings are now for sweatpants, volunteer t-shirts, and my camera.

Arkansas (WCAC ID: 99628)

A three-year-old Boxer mix currently on stray hold. He was sweet and a little camera shy.

Isn’t he beautiful – that lovely brindle brown – and those ears!

Harrison (WCAC ID: 99637)

He had just arrived that morning. A stray pup, just ten months old, thrown into crazy new world.

He expressed his fear with a growl to the empty world outside his kennel, but was a happy boy when I got in there with him.

Bronco (WCAC ID: 80420)

You can’t resist a happy face like this. I admit to being briefly concerned upon stepping into the kennel. It was based on some past experiences with big blue and white boys like him. It was unfounded and a good lesson on looking at each dog for their individual personality.

He’s currently in foster care, but is ready to find his true furever home.

Charice (WCAC ID: 99495)

Such a sweet, sweet girl who came in as a stray and has yet to be reclaimed by her owners. Maybe it was a snowmageddon thing and she’ll be home by the time I post.

If not, how can you not want to take this girl home and cuddle her up?

Gibbs (WCAC ID: 81596)

His database record seems to be a little “messed up” – hint, hint, J – the whole “came in to the Center on 2-15-2014 and available for adoption on 11-30-2012” was my first clue. ‘Cause otherwise he is one BIG boy for just nine months old.

Hopefully his family will have come for him by the time I post this, but if you’re looking for a conversationalist, Gibbs is the boy for you.

Fab (WCAC ID: 99607)

Fab is an energetic schmedium size dog – you know, you wouldn’t quite call him small, but he’s not big enough to be a medium.

He’s just eight months old and is full of that wonderful puppy energy without being over-the-top crazy.

Bailey (WCAC ID: 99509)

This beautiful boy needs you. He’s heartworm positive, which makes him harder to adopt out.

His owners surrendered him saying he was housetrained, good with dogs, and good with cats – so ask staff about heartworm treatments options and for more information.

Goober (WCAC ID: 99605)

Another happy boy surrendered by his owners.

Not just your basic black Lab mutt, but a happy boy with love and smiles for days.

Brutus (WCAC ID: 99626)

Frankly, Goober was supposed to be my last shoot of the morning as it was time for the Suite Paws run, but I had spotted Brutus earlier looking sad in a dark corner kennel. He looked sad and the kennel next to him being out of commission for a three day bleaching made him seem even lonelier. So even though I was out of treats I popped in and FELL IN LOVE.

Such a sweet boy just looking for some love. He would hang his head and reach for my hand with his paw each time I stopped petting him.

So there they are – the sweethearts that are the reason I volunteer and write this blog. Please stop by the WCAC at 820 Beacon Lake Drive Raleigh, NC 27610 any day of the week between noon and 6 PM to visit all our wonderful pets. You can also see them and those in foster by viewing the online adoption gallery here.

No Room at the Inn

Big doings going on at the Wake County Animal Center (WCAC) for the next 90 days. The county approved a remodeling project for the older section of the shelter and they will start full swing on December 29th. The big part of the project will be turning the Dog Stray (DS) room into the Dog Quarantine (DQ) room.

So what are these two rooms and why the change? Currently DQ has about 30 kennels to house bite-case and protective custody dogs. Protective custody cases can take a while to resolve – just ask Boots and Quinn who were born and grew up in DQ; now in foster and available for adoption. And when there is a raid by animal control on a hoarding, cruelty, or fight ring and there isn’t enough room in DQ, then room has to be found elsewhere in the shelter – no matter what. When the renovations are complete the new DQ room will be able to house 52 dogs, accommodating more than 20 additional dogs.

Next, the old DQ will be refreshed and become the new DS, which will then stand for Dog Sick room. The foster program does a lot to get sick animals out of the general population. The new DS would be strictly dedicated to these dogs. And the increased space in DQ would allow dogs awaiting rescue or behavior assessment to be housed there away from those nasty germs.

Preparations for this project has been an all-hands-on-deck affair because for the renovations to begin all the dogs currently in DS have to be relocated. Because these dogs are sick or awaiting rescue they will be moved to Dog Room E (DE) … which means all the dogs in DE need to be relocated and the WCAC is already at capacity with more dogs arriving daily. Joanne Duda has been feverishly processing new foster families. Please consider applying, if you haven’t already, by clicking here. And, in addition to working with our rescue partners, Cindy Lynch has been in contact with local boarding facilities to see what kind of space and deals she can find. She’s found space for at least 40 dogs at this point.

Staff have been given direction from above that no dogs will be euthanized for space during the construction, but those of us working for the animals at the county shelter live with a constant, troubling fact – dogs are always coming in whether they are picked up as strays, seized in cruelty cases, or just plain surrendered by their owners. It’s been a lot this year and there has been no easing up. Room has to be made for these incoming dogs no matter what, no matter how hard staff tries to find other options, no matter how much it tears out their hearts. We estimate that during the coming days of construction we will need to move on average 11-18 dogs PER DAY out of the shelter – that is what keeps us up at night.

You can help; each little thing adds up to a whole that can make miracles happen, and this is the season of miracles. As I mentioned earlier you can foster animals, and you can encourage your friends and family to adopt from the WCAC (just not as a surprise Christmas gift) and donate to our WCAC Boarding volunteer run fund raiser at YouCaring.com (click to donate). Additionally, repost or link to bios on afureverfamily.com and Friends of WCAC FB page.

Spotlight on Midnight

On Saturday I had a couple of hours to help some of the volunteers with a holiday photo shoot. Alicia brought in this beautiful boy, Midnight WCAC ID: 90605. Apparently he doesn’t show well in the kennel, but he was a good sport and a real sweetie.
He’s such a beautiful black Shepherd it’s hard to believe he’s been at the WCAC for 84+ days. He’s a little over two years old and a great size at 53 lbs. He has enjoyed Dogs Playing for Life® playgroups but he can get overwhelmed by more aggressive dogs, even though he plays a little rough with the girls. Proper introductions and small playgroups will be the most successful for him. He thrives on human attention and affection and has become a volunteer favorite despite his kennel attitude. He needs a home and a family of his home.

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Shannon Johnstone took him out for one of her Landfill Dogs photo shoots. Besides some great photos of this beautiful boy, she also found him to be great on a leash – she said he would make a great running partner as he matched her pace – speed up or slow down, Midnight adjusted pace accordingly.

He’s so special he was one of the stars of a local news story.

Midnight’s TV Debut

Stop by the WCAC at 820 Beacon Lake Road, Raleigh, NC any day of the week between noon and 6:00 p.m. to meet Midnight and all the other wonderful animals. Give this shy pup a chance to warm up to you and he’ll curl up in your lap and revel in head skritches.

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A failure of the very best kind

I’ve been remiss in posting to afureverfamily.com and I’m afraid it may continue to be that way for a little while, unless of course I decide to write about things other than fostering. You see, I’m planning on putting my fostering on hold while I take Ruby through some training classes and get her fully established in our pack.

Yes, this is Jewel, our most recent foster. I changed her name to Ruby – full name Ruby Jewel – and fell in love with this gangly girl with the white socks and the perpetual concerned look on her face.

It was no easy decision to decide to keep her as I knew I would want to take time away from fostering and right now the Wake County Animal Center (WCAC) needs foster families more than ever.

If you’d like to help out some very grateful little – or big – pups, click here and contact the WCAC for more details and to fill out an application for the foster program.

Quite frankly, Ruby doesn’t look like the next dog I saw myself with. I was looking for a cutie pie blue and white pittie type, not a malinois, boxer, whippet mix. But I really should have known better; it’s what’s on the inside that counts the most. After all, my first love is chow chows and yet after Snips was gone I brought home a big black lab.

Apparently it was pretty obvious to my friends that Ruby was going to be a permanent part of our family. After all, not only were there no fliers, calling cards or blog posts, but her WCAC website entry has no bio and only her intake photo. And although it’s been on my mind the last week it solidified this weekend when a friend’s dad, who is looking for the perfect dog, asked to take her on a short walk. Oh no! What if he wanted her?!

Well, that was that. Yesterday I signed her up for a Canine Good Citizen class at Teamworks and I took care of the paperwork this afternoon.

Now to talk Charlie into letting me bring home another foster soon rather than later …

Seeing the Real Sookie

Sookie is sweet, cute, healthy, a wonderful size, and previously spayed so I’m expecting her to be adopted before we have time to see her true personality shine through. I think I’ve captured a little of it as she plays on the bed.

Click here to see Sookie playing a little with Tic Tac.

What I’m really trying to say is that Sookie is going take a long time to get used to her new home and completely relax. Actually, according to her previous family she may not ever be COMPLETELY relaxed – the patio furniture was rearranged once and Sookie wouldn’t go out the back door; she had to sniff each piece of furniture before she was good with it again.

We are seeing little glimpses of playfulness. Tonight I even got her to play a little game of catch and chase with a pink bunny stuffie that I got for her at the dollar store. It was so fun to see the little prance in her step as we ran from the dining room to the living room. Up until this point I’ve only seen this when she’s in our bed first thing in the morning.

Beautiful Sookie

Sookie is the extreme case of timidity in feeling happy and relaxed in a new situation, but I think it is something that every adopter (and foster) needs to consider when bringing a new animal into his or her home. It can take more than a week or two for everyone to get comfortable. There may be “accidents” even if they’re house trained – after all, they’ve spent some time in the shelter where there isn’t as much of a choice to “go outside” AND the schedule you set for him or her is probably quite different from the schedule in their previous home. Even the sounds of your neighborhood will be strange to your new family member.

It seems like we’ve had quite a few quick returns at the Wake County Animal Center lately. I think we’re all expecting an instant bond, appreciation, and settled family routine. It will come, but it’s not going to be instant. It’s just another aspect, like the lifelong commitment, that needs to be taken under consideration when deciding to add a dog or cat to your family.

If you have thought it through, check out the gallery at the WCAC or stop by any day of the week between noon and 6:00 PM.

Check out Tic Tac messin’ with Sookie. http://www.flickr.com/photos/suziqred/7647992968/in/photostream

Getting comfortable

Sookie is settling into life with us well. She is a wonderfully sweet girl and we’re really enjoying her. Well, I should say foster poppa and I are enjoying her. Her foster bro, Tic Tac, not so much. And just to be clear, that is ALL Tic Tac. Sookie has been very good with him despite Tic Tac’s constant ambushes, ear biting, and muzzle gnawing.

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Sookie put Tic Tac in his place only a couple of times – once when the ear biting was getting out of hand and then again when Tic Tac didn’t take the hint from all of Sookie’s signals to leave her food alone.

On Monday we figured out the whole “potty in the yard” thing. I finally realized that not only was she not used to going on a lead, but she may have had a big yard previously and was able to get farther away from the house than what the lead was allowing. I got the 20’ training lead out and followed her around the yard at the full distance – voila, success! We used it for a day or so and now she’s using the short lead off the front porch like a pro. Next step: convincing her it is okay to go outside after dark.

Other than her timid nature, she’s a super easy dog to take care of. Please shoot me an email (afureverfamily@yahoo.com) if you’d like to meet her.

Sookie (WCAC ID: 74447)

One more thing before I post – she likes to hide/nap under our bed (a new experience for me). It’s very funny as I’ve never had a dog small enough for that and Sookie isn’t necessarily small enough to do it. Only once did it not seem like a good idea – it was 2 AM and Tic Tac decided he wanted that spot. Other than jarring us awake, their little kerfuffle knocked some electrical plugs out of their wall outlet. Is “My dog and cat unplugged my alarm clock” a valid excuse for being late to work?

Along came Sookie

The phone conversation went something like this …

Suze: “So there’s this pocket Pittie with mange and a little Shepherd mix that is good with cats. What do you think?”


Charlie: “I thought you were going to the shelter to take pictures.”

Suze: “I was. I am. But the Center is over flowing and someone needs to come home with me tonight.”

Sookie’s bio said she was housetrained and good with cats – pretty much a no-brainer for Charlie. She was sitting at the front of the kennel with a pitiful look on her hangdog face. I stepped inside to greet her and was captivated by the timid little girl as she flicked my hand with her soft tongue.

Sookie (ID: 74447)

Yep, she needed to come home with me so we could work on building up her confidence, and I have the best mentor for this: Ivy Ohana at BorderCollieBlonde.com.

I had J make a copy of Sookie’s surrender form (the sheet where the former owner answers questions to give staff and potential adopters an idea of personality and any special needs) to take with me so that I could expand on her extensive WCAC Web bio …

My name is Sookie and I am a 2 year old spayed female shepherd mix. My previous family could not longer care for me but left lots of good information so I could find a great new home. According to my previous family I am mostly HOUSETRAINED, good with KIDS, good with other DOGS, and even good with CATS. My previous family also said I have been clicker trained (please ask staff if you’re not sure what that means). I Know “SIT” and I take treats very nicely. My previous family said that I can be a little shy in new situations so a calm low key household would probably be best for me. I seem like a very sweet girl with a gentle soul. Sine I’m already spayed my adoption fee is only $45 and I can go home with you today!

Highlighting the word “housetrained” worked on me ‘cause I completely missed the word “almost”, which is why I cocked my head like a dog hearing an unfamiliar sound when I read her sheet and it said that Sookie had spent most of her time outside. Apparently she spent her days outside and came in when the family got home at night. I’m thinking she had a fenced in yard to run in, as I was having absolutely no luck getting her to go the bathroom on walks or while on the lead off the front porch.  Unfortunately she waited until we left the house (her previous family said she was afraid of crates so we let her have the run of most of the house) and relieved herself in the dining room. Fortunately we had just recently gotten rid of the last of the carpeting in the house, replacing it with hardwood flooring.

Check boxes indicated she was “very active” and a “couch potato” – more head cocking by foster mamma. The “likes to chase small animals” box was also checked – apparently she lived with lions and tigers in her previous life.

I was excited to see that she had been “clicker trained” because I’ve started assisting a fabulous new trainer, Robin Barrows, at Teamworks Dog Training. I decided to go ahead and “charge the clicker” since that was everyone’s homework for class on Saturday. I got her food and the clicker. She sat politely in front of me. I clicked – she about jumped out of her skin. I fed her a piece of food. I clicked – she jumped again. We did this for a dozen or so bites of food. She did eventually not jump as much.

She does know “sit” and is very good about doing it for treats and the like. She is extremely skittish and jumps at strange noises. After three days with us she is getting less so – she just needed to gain trust in her new surroundings.

Tic Tac and she are working out their relationship – working on it might be a better way to put it, but they’re getting there. Tic Tac keeps “attacking” Sookie and has even started biting her ears. Sookie finally had enough this afternoon and snapped at him. I think Tic Tac has gained just a touch of respect for Sookie’s personal space.

Or not …

If this sweet girl sounds like she would fit in your family, click here and send me an email (afureverfamily@yahoo.com). We’ll arrange a meet and greet date.