Hey there.






Hey Friends.  We have missed you here at THPL!  Well, we’ve been reading our favorite bloggies of course, but it’s been ages since we’ve filled you in on the happenings around here.  Really there isn’t much to report other than we’ve been particularly busy with that crazy little thing call ‘life’.  I’m making a big effort to improve my photog skillz.  Can you tell?  Moo is starting a refresher obedience course in a couple of weeks.  After that she will be going right into an agility course which I am beyond excited for!  Buddy and Tag are wonderful as usual.  The first ever Last Hope Rescue – Jacksonville foster puppy was adopted by a lovely family and is now being spoiled rotten.  The Jacksonville Humane Society recently had its 2,000 adoption of the year – quite exciting.  Aaand I think that’s about it.  Oh!  I finally sold a couple of things from my Etsy shop, which is great because as per usual there is an abundance of dogs that I’d like to help, so every little penny helps.  I’ve been trying to find the time to get some new stuff painted and listed so that I can hopefully sell even more.  Whelp, I think that’s all, folks.  Until next time, xoxooo!


Lately I’ve had multiple friends approach me about helping them adopt dogs.  Hallelujah!  When this happens it feels better than if my birthday landed on Christmas and I won the lottery (okay, maybe not that part) all at the same time.  I’m making a difference.  People are listening.  I am on cloud nine!


“That must be one of those large, slobbery, slow creatures that I hear. Fools.”

And then I see friends that to buy.  I did a little Facebook ranting about those people this morning, and considering I hadn’t even had my coffee yet, I think I did a decent job since it launched a huge discussion and led to TWO friends messaging me to learn more about adopting:  It’s such a sad and defeating feeling to see friends wanting to “buy” puppies. If I can’t even change my own friends’ minds, how will I ever change anyones? There are rescues for literally every.single.breed.imaginable! Pure economics tells us that purchasing from a breeder is a poor decision. By spending your money with a breeder you spending a good 5-10 times what you would spend to adopt the puppy (seriously, that much), and worse, creating “demand” which therefore encourages the breeder to continue creating a supply (breeding the dog.) What those that “buy” don’t consider is the fact that the puppies that aren’t sold, are then dumped at a shelter or handed over to a rescue (the breeder certainly doesn’t want to continue to spend money on the dog as an unsold puppy becomes useless to them after it hits about 10 weeks old.) Now, a shelter must spend tax dollars to care for the dog. Tax dollars that could instead be spent on things like education, new roads, etc. And don’t even get me started on the conditions that most of these dogs live in. It’s really easy to take a cute picture where mom and babies look adorable and well cared for, and sometimes that really is the case, but that is an exception, not the rule. I beg everyone, especially with Christmas right around the corner, PLEASE consider ADOPTING a puppy rather than supporting this practice. Google search “(breed of interest) + rescue + (city you live in)”. There may not be a rescue in the exact city you are in, but I promise you, they can arrange transport to get the dog to you. Now you all don’t have the excuse that “you didn’t know” and if you buy, you’re really just an ass 🙂


Sneaking out to investigate the house.

But almost worse than the friends that want to buy, are my “askhole” friends.  These are the friends that tell me they want to adopt, get me all excited, I spend hours looking for the perfect dog for them and answering all of their questions, and after all that, they end up buying anyways.  They “ask” but don’t really listen.  They are askholes.  It’s happened a couple of times now, and it’s confusing.  Why do they ask for help if they don’t intend to actually follow through with it?  Is it to make themselves feel “like they tried”?  Or did I say something wrong?  Whatever the reason, it’s frustrating.  I definitely make every effort to be kind and not pushy when talking about all the great points of adopting (I totally believe in the old adage that you catch more bees with honey than vinegar) but yet I have failed.


On the other side of the gate!

Do any of you have experience with askholes?  Do you take it personally when people ask for your opinion or help then do the opposite?  Aside from killin’ ’em with kindness, how else to you try to make sure people listen to you about a topic you are passionate about?  (And if you’re one of those people that I’ve been talking to lately about adopting, this is not directed at you, I’m loving helping you!  This is about those that have already purchased a dog.)


Now she’s really getting brave!

Remember, adorable Daisie, featured throughout this post, is available for adoption!  Email me at morganrivera518(at)gmail(dot)com for more information about her.

Happy Endings: Adopt a Senior Pet

One by One, they pass by my cage. Too old, too worn, too broken, no way. Way past his time, he can’t run and play. Then they shake their heads slowly and go on their way.

 A little old man, arthritic and sore, It seems I am not wanted anymore. I once had a home, I once had a bed, A place that was warm, and where I was fed.

 Now my muzzle is grey, and my eyes slowly fail. Who wants a dog so old and so frail? My family decided I didn’t belong, I got in their way, my attitude was wrong.

 Whatever excuse they made in their head, Can’t justify how they left me for dead. Now I sit in this cage, where day after day, The younger dogs get adopted and driven away.

 When I had almost come to the end of my rope, You saw my face, and I finally had hope. You saw thru the grey, and the legs bent with age, And felt I still had life beyond this cage.

 You took me home, gave me food and a bed, And shared your own pillow with my poor tired head. We snuggle and play, and you talk to me low, You love me so dearly, you want me to know.

 I may have lived most of my life with another, But you outshine them with a love so much stronger. And I promise to return all the love I can give, To you, my dear person, as long as I live.

 I may be with you for a week, or for years, We will share many smiles, you will no doubt shed tears. And when the time comes that God deems I must leave, I know you will cry and your heart, it will grieve.

 And when I arrive at the Bridge, all brand new, My thoughts and my heart will still be with you. And I will brag to all who will hear, Of the person who made my last days so dear

 -author unknown


As most of you are probably aware, it’s “Adopt a Senior Pet” month.  I wanted to share this poem because I think it does a beautiful job of shedding light on the plight of senior dogs who have found themselves dumped in shelters.  Despite their graying muzzles, or failing eyes and ears, or slower trots, these are the dogs that are the most deserving of a happy ending, in my humble opinion.


Stray dogs are usually picked up by animal control long before their snouts have a chance to turn gray.  This means that sad, older face you see staring through the bars, is very likely accustomed to living in a home.  He knows what it means to have a family, and regular meals, and a warm spot to lay.  And he now knows what it means to be abandoned by the family he devoted his life to loving.


The fantastic Mr. and Mrs. and Nola Kisses recently adopted a senior gentleman and I think they are shining examples of the fact that “senior” dogs make wonderful family members and are full of life.  In fact, my own Buddy at roughly 9 years old, is now considered a “senior” dog.  His muzzle has always been white, but lately I have noticed just how much his brown spots have lightened, and the appearance of new, white, speckles that never used to exist.  Despite the color of his fur, he is still happy, energetic, and as goofy as the day I adopted him.


To think that a dog could go his whole life, loving a family, and then be discarded at like yesterday’s rubbish, is one of the saddest things in the world to me.  To abandon a loved one is quite possibly the lowest of lows.  But to be the one that is able to give that dog a happy ending, well that would be the highest of highs.  “I may have lived most of my life with another, But you outshine them with a love so much stronger.  And I promise to return all the love I can give, To you, my dear person, as long as I live.”

Adopt a Senior Pet.  Give them the happy ending they so deserve.


Gracie Gets a Home.

Last weekend I got to do one of the most exciting adoptions I’ve done in a long time.  My in-laws had mentioned a while back that they would be interested in adopting a dog, if the right one came along.  She would need to be past the puppy phase, cat friendly, low maintenance, and their biggest request: cuddly!  I kept the idea in the back of my mind, but no dogs were really jumping out at me as a good fit for them.  Then I got the news about Gracie.

Pit Bull adoption Gracie was found over a year ago in a ditch with her 6 puppies, so weak she couldn’t even walk.  Her puppies were adopted but Gracie ended up in a boarding facility due to lack of foster homes.  Then Last Hope Rescue was able to get her moved over to Pet Paradise where she at least got more interaction with humans.  An employee fell in love with her and ended up adopting her.  We were all ecstatic because Gracie has always been a favorite due to her exceptionally sweet nature and we were so excited for her to finally be in a real home.  Sadly, the adopter experienced some personal problems and Gracie landed back at Pet Paradise.  As soon as I heard, I sent a picture to my mother-in-law and asked if they would want to meet Gracie.

Pit Bull tricks

Look at this impulse control. Such a smarty pants!

Pit Bull tricks

Pit Bull tricks

  They said, “Yes!” and I got to work coordinating getting Gracie from Tallahassee to Jacksonville for the meet-and-greet.  Lucky for me, the woman that originally fostered Gracie, who knows the most about her, and undoubtedly has the most love for this sweet girl, now lives in Jacksonville too and was able to come with me to get Gracie and bring her to the meet-and-greet.  Our only concern was with Gracie and the cat.  We knew that she had lived with cats without incident in the past, but because Gracie can be picky with the dogs she does and does not like, the possibility that she might not like their cat was in the back of our mind.  We got Gracie to their house on Friday evening and it was pretty much love at first sight for everyone involved.  We made the decision to keep the cat separate the first night to let Gracie relax and get comfortable.  On Saturday I went back over and did the introduction.  And wouldn’t you know it, everything went better than planned!  Seeing Gracie and the cat at ease with each other (okay, so their cat is still trying to figure out exactly what Gracie is, but she will be comfortable soon) was all it took for the adoption to be finalized!

Pit Bull and cat

Gracie with her new human and feline sisters. Cat? What cat?

Gracie has had one of the roughest lives of any dog I have encountered, yet she is truly the sweetest, happiest dogs on Earth.  All this girl wants or needs is someone to love her…and to cuddle!  She is the epitome of a pit bull: smart, resilient, forgiving, and loving.  I am thrilled to now have her in my family where I know she will experience nothing but love and happiness from here on out.  Welcome home, Gracie!  We love you!

Gracie came from a terrible background but now she lives every dog's dream.


I know the whole Charlie Sheen “#winning” thing is like so two years ago, but it still cracks me up and it just feels appropriate right now.  So here’s the deal: remember how I kept pathetically begging asking for you guys to “like” Maggie’s picture and help her win a spot in a calendar?  Well, she didn’t win.  Dude, it’s cool though!  You know why?  Because her and I have both already #won!

Happy Pit Bull

I #won the day I agreed to foster her.  I never, ever wanted a third dog (that spot was meant to be permanently reserved for fosters!) but here came Maggie and she became one of the biggest, but hands down most rewarding, challenges I have encountered.  She has single pawdedly (get it, like “single handedly”?) changed my mom’s mind about pit bull type dogs as well as many others.  She turned Rich into a mushy-gushy dog lover and pit bull advocate.  And she makes my heart swell with pride on a daily basis.


And Maggie #won the day she came to my house.  She was terrified and cowered behind corners at first, but quickly learned that I would never so much as raise my voice to her, let alone hurt her the way other people had before.  She almost instantly bonded with my two dogs and learned that being part of a pack is pretty much The Greatest Thing Ever.  She lives in a big house with an even bigger back yard that remains permanently full of lizards for her hunting pleasure.  She gets to sleep under the covers right between Rich and I every night.  She has food in her bowl every morning and evening, and Kongs full of peanut butter when she gets crated.  She is loved like no other.

Pit Bull awareness

And Maggie and I aren’t the only #winners from this contest.  Of course there are the 12 dogs that made it in to the calendar, but really every single dog whose owner took the time and cared enough to enter them in the contest has already #won.  How lucky are these dogs to have owners who not only love them but care so much about them that they seek out avenues for learning more about how to care for their dog and provide them with wonderful lives?  I’d say they are #winning all over the place!  And among the other #winners are my friends Rebecca and Oscar from Tails of a Foster Mom.  Oscar was even closer to winning than Maggie, but at the very end a couple of other dogs pulled ahead and he didn’t quite make it.  But if you’ve ever read Rebecca’s blog, you already know Oscar has #won!

Pit Bull

How have you and your dog(s) #won lately?  I’m trying super hard to see everything in a positive light these days, and I’d love to hear about how others are #winning so spill the beans, friends!

Throwback Thursday

This new job is draining my brain.  I apologize in advance if my posts are, errr, of less caliber than usual for awhile.  But fear not!  I have a plan: cute pictures.  (I guess my brains aren’t too fried after all because that’s just plan smart, right?)

Sweet dog and catAbove is an old picture of my sweet boy and a cat I rescued.  Stumbling across it reminded me of when I adopted Buddy and all the shenanigans we got in to when it was just the two of us.

Fun Fact: Of all the too many dogs I have owned, Buddy is the only one I have adopted from a shelter.

Do you have any fun facts to share about your pooches?  Check out the Facebook page for even more “throwback” pictures of Buddy!

Buying Your New BFF?

Yesterday I met up with my brothers for lunch.  There is this awesome dog that keeps getting the short end of the stick (no pun intended) and I was asking them if they knew of anyone in the market for a super easy, laid back dog.  My brother Nic, you remember him from my all time favorite rescue, said, “You should just take him to J’s house.  They wouldn’t notice another dog!”  “J” is one of the guy’s Nic lived with when he first adopted the girls.  (He has since moved into a new house because there were already three dogs at J’s house, and with his new girls, five was just too many.)  “What do you mean?  Did they get more dogs?!” I asked.  “Yea, they just bought two new puppies.”


Wait a second.  They bought two puppies?  What the what?  They obviously know and love Nic’s two rescued girls.  So I know they know about rescues and how awesome the dogs you can get from them are…..so that begs the question: Why?  Why in the world did they BUY two puppies?

Obviously I was like “What the heck?!  Why did they buy them?!”  Nic didn’t really have a good answer and seemed almost ashamed.  He basically just said, “They didn’t really know any better.”  Ugghhhhhhhh!  Hearing things like this sends me through a whirlwind of emotions: sad, frustrated, and angry being at the top of the list.  I want to immediately hate the buyer and assume that they are horrible, evil people without a soul–but I know these guys, and they are truly good, nice guys.  So why, when they have seen firsthand what great dogs you can get from a rescue, did they choose to buy?  You better believe, I fully intend to ask them next time I see them.  Nic, if you’re reading this, I promise not to nag them or be annoying!  I just truly am curious as to what their thought process was.  What is the driving force behind their decision?  Maybe if I can understand their logic, I can learn a better way to go about educating other people.

It’s absolutely gut wrenching to know that there are amazing dogs like Rocky that end up rotting away in a shelter while people are going out and buying dogs.  And for what, a lack of education?  A lack of empathy?  Plain old indifference?  If it’s a lack of education, we can all work to fix that, but you can’t force people to care.  And that essentially is what this boils done to in a lot of instances, isn’t it?


How sad is it that I can only get my hands on ONE picture of this amazing dog?           He deserves so much more.

 To watch a video showing just how awesome Rocky is, click here.  If you are interested in this sweet, mellow, so deserving boy, please please please email me at morganrivera518@gmail.com

Awards, Puppies, and Weddings.

What do they all have in common?  They are totally in season!


I got nominated twice in the last few days for the Blogger Family Award.  I was getting ready to start a post about it and, while looking back through old comments and stuff, realized that I have actually been nominated for a few lately….and totally ignored them.  Wow.  I’m a bit of an arse, aren’t I?  I swear, I missed them by accident and I am so sorry that I didn’t collect!  It is so flattering, and it makes me all warm and fuzzy inside every time it happens, so thank you to those of you that nominated me!!!  Rather than pick and choose which ones I “collect”, I’m not going to do any of them.  That, err, makes sense, right?  Seems better than leaving someone out.

MiaNoticing the cute puppies throughout this post?  If you have ever spent any time volunteering in a shelter or with a rescue, you know that this is the dreaded time of year: Puppy Season.  Yes, puppies are dreaded.  Why?  Because they are dropped off faster than you can say, “spayandneuter!”

PaisleyEveryone is left scrambling to secure a safe spot for them outside of the shelter.  Even though it’s super heartwarming to see how hard everyone works to save them, it makes you want to scream and shout and cry because the solution to this problem is so simple: spay and neuter and never get here in the first place.  There is no good reason for this problem to even exist; we have the tools to prevent it: education, low cost clinics, and vouchers, just to name a few.  But for now, I digress.

OnyxAnd last but not least, it’s wedding season!  My own wedding is the reason my blog is barely in existence this days.  But now that it’s over, we’ve moved, are getting settled into our new house, and I’ve landed a job, I should be able to get back to the important things in life, like volunteering and blogging!  I’ll leave you with a couple of my favorite pictures from the wedding:



Ok, I promise no more wedding talk.  That’s not why you’re here!  If any of the puppies shown here catch your eye, please comment or shoot me an email!

A Word From Maggie:

Hey there everybodies!  Moo here.  Has you heard the news?  I got ‘dopted!


I have a little confession to make though.  I already knew I was with my forever family, it just took foster momma a little longer to figure it out (she’s slow like that, ya know?)  Oh, and that’s another thing!  I can finally stop calling her “foster” mom now.  She insisted that I say that before, and I was like, “Ok lady, but you know you is my mom.”  Sometimes you just gotta let them have their way.

IMG_3277 Mom has been really slacking on the bloggy lately and I knows you all have missed hearing bouts me so I thought I should tell you a little about my new house.  Really, the only important thing to know is that it has the biggest, most wonderful yard ever!  It is so awesome, we can run and run and run and…well you probably see where I’m going with this.  And we hasn’t had to wear our leashes at all!  So cool.  The picture below is of me and my most favorite thing about the yard: the big chewy tree.


Yup, I gets to tear of the pieces and chew on them!  I know, I really do have a pretty cool momma, huh?  While I has been doing important things, like chewing, and running, and sunbathing, mom has been doing what she calls “improvements” around the house.  I don’t see what there is to improve though, the yard is already awesome.  Despite that, she has been spending a lot of time with these roller thingies putting stuff on the walls.  Looks about the same to me, but she says the color (what’s color?) is more her style.  Whatever lady.  And she has been doing this other project that keeps making dad go somewhere called “Home Depot”.  (What’s a de-pot anyways?)


The “before” picture. Fingers crossed I am able to channel my inner “Martha” and turn the guest bath into something a little more snazzy!

I sure hope she knows what she’s doing.  I guess she has pretty good taste though, she did pick me after all.  Well, I guess that should just about catch you all up on everything you missed.  Oh!  I almost forgot.  Mom says we get to go to the beach this week!  Since the beach is pretty much The Greatest Place Ever, I’m pretty excited.  I’ll make sure she gets some pictures so you can all admire my pretty face.  Ok, bye for now friends!


Maggie has been ADOPTED:

FUR 006 edit-(ZF-1860-91697-1-001)Our more astute readers probably picked  up on my oooh-sooo subtle clues that the family was in fact mine: the experience with pitties, the willingness to continue working on obedience training, the two dogs, and as of two days ago when we moved into our new house, the big backyard.

FUR 007-(ZF-1860-91697-1-002)To be completely honest, I never ever wanted a third dog.  My two are so easy and wonderful that I wanted the third-dog-slot to be permanently reserved for foster dogs.  And if I was going to pick a third dog, it most certainly would not be a little 40 lb. one.  But what Maggie lacks in size, she certainly makes up for in personality.

FUR 035-(ZF-1860-91697-1-007) With us moving from Tallahassee to Jacksonville, and no other foster home available, Maggie would have been placed in boarding until she was either adopted or another foster home became available.  My long term readers know that Maggie went almost an entire year before the first person expressed interest in adopting her–and they weren’t even approved.  How could I, in good conscience, allow her to be sent to a boarding facility for what likely would be a very long time, when she had a perfectly good home already, right here with us?  After all, my responsibility as a foster mom is first and foremost to do what is best for my foster dog; my personal wants are secondary.  Don’t misunderstand me, we all love Maggie dearly and she really is part of our family, I am just a little sad because with this adoption I think my fostering efforts will be halted, at least for now.

FUR 039 edit-(ZF-1860-91697-1-008)

So, we made the decision that Maggie would stay with us forever.  We moved the day we got back from the honeymoon from a little apartment into a home that is nearly triple the size and, to all of our relief, a nice big fenced in back yard.  I’d say Maggie is a true rags to riches story.  She is home, permanently.