It was a dark and stormy night. No really, it was dark and raining so hard I couldn’t see the roads my GPS was telling me to turn on.

Lucky 13 Rescue had asked me to write a profile on Cooper, a dog that has been in his foster home for a year. One year. 365 plus days. It’s a long time for a dog to languish in a shelter, but Cooper hit the jackpot when he wound his way through the streets of Drexel, Missouri, leaving a trail of spent people, and found himself in the care of Sheryl and her son, Alex. This last has undoubtedly been the best of his five years.

While Cooper would be perfectly happy to never leave the Greene’s, Sheryl longs to see him in an active home with lots of active people to keep Cooper busy. Because Cooper is very, very busy. At the time of our interview Sheryl had ten dogs; seven personal dogs and three long-term fosters.

When I arrived, the dogs were all kenneled, or in Alex’ room. She let Cooper out and he hit the kitchen like a cyclone. He sprang (Sheryl says he can leap a 4 foot fence, and I believe her) at me, at the treats on the table, his body vibrating with unbridled energy. I’ve never seen strength like his; Sheryl keeps a harness on him at all times so she has something to grab on to.

Like so many dogs with boundless energy, he’s not bad. He’s looking for that special someone who has the time, knowledge (or willingness to learn), and ability to meet Cooper where he is. Where he is . . . he’s crazy. Crazy-good. But still crazy. He also loves to snuggle and wants to be right with you.

Sheryl slowly let the other nine dogs out so I could meet her personal dogs, as well as Ziggy and Rylan, her other fosters. Cooper’s energy faded and was absorbed by the initial chaos; squirming bodies everywhere, all ready to sit for treats. While there’s no time for individual training, all sit calmly on command, looking to Sheryl for affirmation.

When Alex’ Dad passed away about five years ago, Sheryl fostered to adopt a puppy with Lucky 13 Rescue. Since then she’s fostered many dogs. Like most folks who foster, the most rewarding thing for Sheryl is seeing the dogs heal. “Every one has a story.” She’s seen a lot of healing, as she takes on hard cases. Gus was thrown out of a moving car; Ziggy’s mom was a junkyard dog. For those who’ve never opened their hearts and homes, you really can’t imagine the joy of seeing a dog relax for the first time, or run for the first time, or initiate play as an adult.

I asked Sheryl if she has any regrets. “Look at my house.” I did and don’t see what she does. The kitchen is clean and tidy. How does it not smell like dog in her house? Granted, when I peeked around the corner, the living room is blocked with a gate and the dining room is full of kennels, but had I not seen the ten dogs for myself I wouldn’t have believed there were any dogs living there.

The only dog not rescued was purchased as a gift from an ex-boyfriend. (Dudes, know your audience. Seriously.) When asked about the ex, Sheryl froze, clearly not her favorite topic. I gently poked and she said, “He said, no you can’t. And I said, Oh, yes I can!” Then we both laughed maniacally in mutual understanding.

“Are you going to be able to let him go?”, I asked. “Oh yea.” Sheryl will be picky about who adopts him, but with her own personal dogs and the constant flow of pets in need of a stepping stone to the next soft spot, Sheryl wants to see Cooper settled with his own family.

“It’s a lot, isn’t it?” Sheryl says. I ask if she’s reached her limit . . . “not in an emergency. To keep one from being euthanized.”

I’m finally home and Sheryl sends me a message . . . “I have a not so fun part of Fostering so many..... Having to leash walk them in the rain and freezing cold Lol That part is little miserable. But once they're adopted it was of course worth it

Cooper loves to chase cats, jump fences, and excitedly throw his body around. He snuggles, kennels very well, and wants to please. He is unbridled potential. Want to meet him? Fill out an application at Lucky13Rescue.org.

When your loved ones can’t, please help them care for their companion animals.

Dogs, for those who love them, are an important, integral part of our lives. I know I can’t live without them. When I’m old, I’ll need them more than ever and it is my hope that my son, or whoever becomes my care-taker in my old age, will help me keep the dog that’s right for me. And by “keep the dog that’s right for me”, I mean keep the dog that’s right for me safe and healthy.

My current foster is Luke.

He’s pretty cute, right? I’m his vacation foster because he’s bitten one of his caretakers, and the one he’s most bonded with needs to leave town for a few days. So Luke, Max, and I will hang out for a few days getting to know one another.

After just 24 hours, here’s what I know about Luke:

He has a collapsed trachea. A common problem for chihuahuas and similar small breeds. Well done, Selective Breeding! Well done! A collapsed trachea means that Luke leads a fairly miserable life, pacing around chuffing and horking up the water he’s just drunk. He sounds like a seal.

He’s missing his person. I feel it in my bones. He doesn’t trust me enough to let me massage him under his collar, but he does nestle next to my feet when I’m still. And he sleeps in whichever room Max is in.

He needs five different medications that I can’t convince him to take. I don’t know what they’re for. We didn’t talk about it when his real foster dropped him off. But how many of his issues could have been avoided if Luke had enjoyed regular vet care? If someone was paying attention to whether or not he was receiving adequate nutrition and exercise?

Luke bites. He’s getting better, but this tells us that he was not well-socialized. And now the person he was devoted to is gone. Luke misses his person and knows no one else. His trust is hard-earned and tenuous thus far.

After his person passed, with no plan for Luke’s care, he went to animal control where he languished for four months. Until Lucky 13 Rescue pulled him into their foster program.

I know Luke will recover. I’m already seeing glimmers of his personality beyond the fear, distrust, and physical challenges. He loves walks (strolls to Max and me). He’s gaining confidence and has just curled up in a bed, rather than his crate. He loves meatballs, and other snacks he’s never discovered a pill in (he’s discovered a pill in everything). He’s bitey, so I’m not yet ready to lift him on the sofa to snuggle, but he craves closeness. When I sit on the floor he nestles and nudges when I stop petting.

If you, or someone you love, can open your heart and home to a lonely little guy, you know what to do. Apply at www.lucky13rescue.org. With time, Luke will be a little love sponge.

Can’t take Luke on? We get it. Instead, check in with your family who may need a reminder about their faithful companions next checkup.

Species: Mostly Dog Breed: Muttalicious Name: Hondo Nickname: Hondi Hondo

Please rate the following on a scale of 1 – 10, with 1 being the absolute worst, and 10 being absolutely perfect.

WFHomie Companion – 10 Potty trained – 8 . . . so close. Handsome – 11

Cute – 10 . . . I can’t explain it. He’s both cute and handsome. Fun – 9.5 Snuggly – 11 Barky – 9.5 Talky – 10 . . . so expressive. Playful – 10

Leash walker – 8; who doesn’t aspire to catching that squirrel? Cat Cohabitation – 11 . . . they’re so scary. Dog Cohabitation – 10 . . . yes, please. Softness – 10 Sleeps in bed – 10 . . . he’s a perfect gentleman. Crate trained – 6; only if there’s already another dog in it.

Chewer – 10; he loves hooves, antlers, bull sticks, beef bones, and squeeky toys. Rides in car: 8

Total score: Perfect 10

Please. Everyone. Please stop trying to adopt Daisy. Yes, I know she’s pretty. In fact, she’s beautiful; inside and out. But she’s so much more than just a pretty face, and You Can’t Handle Her.

Got a fenced yard? Daisy don’t care; she’s not staying in it. Daisy is a long distance sprinter, so your yard isn’t going to satisfy her exercise needs. If you’re counting on your yard, you can’t handle Daisy.

Is your job flexible? Good! Because if you oversleep, Daisy don’t care. She needs a long, long walk. A run would be better. Hungover? Daisy don’t care. Get up and take her on a long, long walk. If you can’t be late, or walk (run is better) when you feel puny, you can’t handle Daisy.

Got lots of money? Good! Daisy actually does care about that. She loves doggie daycare.

Got a dog already? Good! Daisy needs companionship and a playmate. Is your dog confident enough to tell Daisy when he doesn’t want to play? No? Your dog can’t handle Daisy. Do you have the leadership skills to tell her for your dog? No? You can’t handle Daisy.

Got cats? Good! Daisy loves cats. They’re so fun to talk to and run amok with. Are your cats super-chill? Daisy don’t care. Unless your cat loves being chased and joyfully yelled at, your cat can’t handle Daisy.

You know the tiredness in your bones after a grueling day at the office? Daisy don’t care! She’s ready for another walk. A run would be better.

Don’t like dogs on the furniture? Daisy don’t care. Neither do I. Don’t like dogs in your bed? Daisy don’t care. She’s a full-body snuggler and we think you’re weird. You can’t handle Daisy!

Are you an active and engaged human looking for an active and engaged dog? A dog that can be included in all your daily activities? Do you have a solid plan for when she can’t be? Are you not threatened by girls who are smarter than you? Will you take Daisy to a trainer and learn her love language? Are you a confident leader for Daisy and the other pets in your home?

If you answered yes to this last set of questions, I’m giving you the side-eye and wondering if you might just be able to handle Daisy.

Daisy currently resides at a boarding facility in Cleveland, Missouri. Request to meet her at www.lucky13rescue.com.

After her social media debut on Thursday morning, just four short days ago, I’m pleased to report that Nancy has an application. Lucky 13 Rescue is in the process of checking references and doing a home check. If all goes well Nancy will soon rest well in her forever home.

So many people have asked about Nancy, shared her, and want to adopt her that I thought a little explanation as to how Nancy came to me might be helpful. Especially since I obviously love her and actually want her for myself. Seems counterintuitive to tell everyone to adopt the dog you want, right?

I am actually Nancy’s vacation foster. Which means there was a foster before me who wanted to take a vacation. But she had this broken dog. Loretta, the first foster, got Nancy from a boarding facility that received Nancy, along with several others, from a breeder release. This means that a breeder has used up the dog and is benevolently giving it to a cash-strapped rescue to rehabilitate and find a home for. * insert eyeroll *

The boarding facility held onto Nancy until Loretta came looking for a small dog to foster and potentially adopt. Loretta is a sucker and when she saw Nancy, just had to take her home. We’re not laughing at you, Loretta! We’re laughing with you. Seriously. My dog Max ruined my life for eight solid weeks before I gave in and just adopted him. Best poor decision I ever made.

Loretta did the hard work. When she brought Nancy home Nancy was unresponsive and would just lay there with her eyes closed. Loretta pampered and loved her and Nancy slowly started to come out of her shell; just a teensy bit. When Loretta dropped Nancy off at my house, she had to full-body wrestle Nancy up the three stairs into my apartment. Loretta is tiny and I will forever regret not recording that.

At this point, Nancy wasn’t listed on the website, as she was too shut down to consider adopting out. But she did so well learning from Max, observing my cats, and being with the neighbor dogs coming to liven things up . . . Nancy is a total love. And I knew she would be ready for the right family.

There’s only one Nancy to go around. She’s getting adopted, and it’s probably not by you. But listen. There are enough Nancy’s to go around. You can find your Nancy the same way I found Nancy. And Max. And Herschel Holstein and Molly and Jake and Serenity and Arnold and Daisy and Schmidt and those puppies that almost killed me.

Become a Foster.

If you can’t commit to a long-term foster be a vacation foster! Fostering is so rewarding . . . until you need to travel for work or to save your marriage (no, not because you’ve got too many dogs) or for a reunion or a funeral. You’ll be helping saving two lives; a dog and another human. Vacation fostering offers a short-term commitment way to help.

Walk shelter dogs.

OK, so maybe you have legit reasons for not fostering. I get it. * insert thought bubble that says whatever * You can still help by volunteering to walk dogs at the closest shelter to you. Or, help transport dogs from foster homes to adoption events. This is where we take foster dogs to meet random strangers in the hopes of making a love connection. Not because we’re desperate! OK, fine. We’re desperate and need a little help.


Work. It gets in the way of everything, right? If you can’t volunteer your time outside your home, volunteer from home. Manage databases and the website, handle social media, write content, perform home checks, or process applications.

Procure Supplies

Leashes, peanut butter, ropes, toys. Beds! Host a toy drive at work, church, or book club. Look for bargains, and pounce!


You know what I hate more than giving money? Asking for money. Lots of people have thanked me for helping Nancy. Called me an angel and good human and such. But I couldn’t foster without the rescue. And the rescue couldn’t rescue without volunteers. And funds. When making up your budget (yes, please budget so you don’t end up needing to surrender your own furry) please consider your favorite pet rescue amongst your giving.


Buy a cool t-shirt! Who doesn’t need more t-shirts?

If you’re still with me, I hope you find your Nancy and that you’re wearing a Lucky 13 shirt when you do.

~ Peace All

PS We’ll know more after our morning walk, but I think Nancy ate half a sponge today.

Adopt Nancy September 2021

Who wants a broken Golden Retriever scraped from the bottom of the discount bargain bin? While Nancy is currently fractured in a million places, she will soon be like a Kintsugi pot, more beautiful for her history. And her adopters will be rewarded ten times over.

A breeder surrender, Nancy has lived her entire eight years in a kennel, birthing as many litters as her owner could force on her. Today, she has learned that outside isn't such a bad place, with lots of things to look at and smell. If you enjoy stopping often to smell the roses, you'll love walking with Nancy.

Nancy is housetrained and has no desire to soil her home ever again. She has discovered the joy of chewing bones and bully sticks. While doesn't carry things around as goldens typically do (remember, she's broken), she does move things around, often times hoarding them in an unused dog bed. Kinda like a racoon. Last night she dug my bra out of the laundry basket and slept with it.

She falls back on the familiar. For example, with great effort, she's learned to use the three steps to the patio. She finds the front door very suspicious and refuses to consider coming or going through it. But she knows the back, so we just always use the one she knows.

Getting in and out of a car would be traumatic for everyone. Maybe someday soon Nancy will learn the joy of hanging her head out the window and letting the wind blow through her hair and catch in her jowls. Meet and greets will need to be in her foster home and transport to a new home will need to be very thoughtful and intentional.

For today, we're not making Nancy do anything she doesn't want to and she's getting a little more comfortable every day. She'll do best in a home with no stairs, another do to show her the way, and with people who enjoy leisurely strolls through their own neighborhood.

Nancy currently resides in a foster home in Overland Park, KS with @lucky13rescue.

Deep, Dark, Hole

Sometimes I feel like crawling into a deep, dark hole and dying.

Problem is just because you’re in a hole doesn’t mean you get to die.

In the hole it’s cold, dark, cramped and lonely.

So you claw your way out, dust yourself off, and go to work.

Things I Didn’t Understand

Traded for an antique free-standing, full-length mirror,

she lives in a kennel, her cage, lined up

with an unfinished section of privacy fence so she can see her family

through the sliding glass door

while swarms of flies worry her. She stands in piles of her own excrement.

Barks to drown the sound of her own loneliness.

At the next house she attracts suitors. Her chain denies her escape.

When she and the neighbor stud are stuck together I judge her,

like my good Catholic upbringing Dictates.

I never dwell on the fates of those eleven puppies nor my own culpability.


When asked where her son is, my Grandmother will say to jail if he doesn't knock it off, as if he couldn't possibly be doing anything boring or uneventful – as if his sole existence requires she be put out, decades after the last infraction.

3 Weeks Sober

I'm three weeks sober today.

I thought I would have been miraculously transformed into a better friend a better employee a better colleague a better daughter a better sister a better mother a better neighbor a better human.

But I'm still just me.

Only with a little more clarity regarding my shortcomings.

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