Happy Days Ahead For Sunny!

Oh my gosh. Has it really be three months?! I’m so embarrassed. Time flies, doesn’t it?

But we’re here and now (as we always are) and there is no better time or place to slip right back and pretend as though I wasn’t MIA for far too long.

So, there is a little bit of catch up – some of which I’ve honestly forgotten. Most importantly, Sunny found a home! A wonderful home!!

Sunny with his new adoptive momma.Sunny is in Gainesville now, which I’m sure is quite a shock to his little Tallahassee self, but I don’t think he’s too out of place. 😉 His new mom has a huge yard for him, bought him toys he can have all to himself, and of course has already found him a pack of doggie friends. Not to mention, I can’t say how thrilled I am to have already received some pictures and updates!

Sunny with his foster mom (me, left) and his adoptive mom (right)I will miss his goofy antics and his super sweet personality, but I am happy to know he is going to someone who will also appreciate all of the little things about him. The following are all pictures his mom sent to me of him in his new home. Look how spoiled he is! I couldn’t be happier for him. He finally got the life he deserved, and it makes my heart swell.

Sunny's ride home

He was excited for his new life as early as the car ride to his new home! Smart boy!

Sunny in his forever home Sunny in his forever home Sunny in his forever homeTo all who had been following Sunny’s story, thank you. He is truly a lucky boy to get such a great second shot at life. His is the story we hope all rescue dogs will get to tell. There are a million great animals out there in need of forever families. Please remember: adopt, foster, volunteer, donate, or share to help every one get the happy ending they deserve.

-Kayla and Lana

Shooting Sundance

I have a goal this weekend to get a great picture of Sunny. So, much to his dismay, he gets to spend his days being followed by his own personal paparazzi (puparazzi?). He isn’t the most willing model (he’d much rather be cuddling or playing), but he occasionally forgets to make himself blurry and takes a pretty handsome picture. Then it’s just up to me to not ruin it!

Admittedly, a couple of these images are not my best work. They are really more of a reminder to use an actual camera and not a smart phone. But, it felt like cheating to post just one image, so we have a few that show his personality and a few that show his rugged good looks!

Sunny close up

Sunny helping with make up

Sunny helping foster mom get ready for work – which he now does daily!


Sunny cuddles with his foster dad

Sunny cuddling with foster dad on a cold night

Sunny close up

Sundance shows offSo yes, I have a photo-dodging dog. He’s like an adorable little big foot. But he cleans up nicely! Please feel free to share him if you think you know someone who might want to adopt him!

Challenge 1: Sunny versus Stairs

I had started writing daily updates on Sunny, but realized I just didn’t have the energy to work full time, provide Sunny with the attention he needed, and blog daily as well. If you follow me on Facebook (personally or through Dream Big, Bark Loudly’s official page) or on Instagram, then you’ve been getting daily updates anyway! Adoptable Retriever, SunnyI will, however, still share the big accomplishments, the funny stories, and the incredible changes as they happen. First: the ‘huge’ accomplishment that is going up and down stairs.

Last Saturday when I brought Sunny home, he was what we rescue folks call ‘terrified’. He had to be carried from the back seat of my car, up stairs, and over to my front door. If I hadn’t had to unlock the door and open it, I would have carried him straight into the living room.

Adoptable Sunny's First Day in FosterSunny had a few hours to settle in and sniff around before Michael got home from the football game. At that point, we decided it was time to take the dogs out and feed them. Sunny wore a martingale collar so he could get used to the feeling of something around his neck, and I hooked the leash to his harness.

As always, Lana ran out the door first with Michael, and Sunny and I brought up the rear. About 5 feet from the stairs, our little foster boy dropped to the ground and refused to move. I didn’t think too much about it, just picked him up and carried him down stairs. However, after several more walks where that 48 pound little mess had to be carried up and down stairs, my thighs and back were killing me. No more!

Adoptable Retriever, Sunny, is looking for a forever home in Florida.

But I cannot say enough good things about Sunny and his desire to please. We spent about 15-20 minutes, treats in hand, going up one stair at a time. And, by Sunday night, Sunny could slowly traverse the stairwell on his own. A week later, he can keep up with the rest of the family! With him, the most important part of training is the praise.

Adoptable Retriever, Sunny, is looking for a forever home in Florida.

If you had asked me then, I would have said it would take Sunny a good week to figure out the stairs. I am beyond thrilled that with just one training session he picked it up. Sunny is treat motivated and smart. And like so many retrievers, he lives to please his handler. With lots of praise and positive training, Sunny is a joy to train. This little boy is amazing and will be ready for a home in no time. Even if his future family lives upstairs.

Adoptable Retriever, Sunny, is looking for a forever home in Florida.

We need to focus on confidence building before we tackle tricks, but this experience has me convinced he’ll be ready for a home in no time. Sunny came to us with so much to learn, and in just one week he has already come so far. I cannot wait to see this boy reach his potential.

Hiatus – O V E R



Goodness, this place is deserted. And who is to blame? Me. Totally me. I may have scared a few people away when I went MIA.


IT’S CALLED A HIATUS! This just means I’m basically like a screenwriter.

But really, did you want me rambling on when I didn’t even have a foster dog? Where’s my credibility? Where’s the excitement? Just me and my perfectly trained angel of a dog – that’s not blog-worthy. Even if I am being a little sarcastic. A smidge sarcastic, tops.

It’s okay though. Because, my friends, WE’RE BACK!

YESSSSMostly. I didn’t get to pull a dog on my own yet. Turns out I get insanely excited about BIG ideas and then panic when it comes time to execute. And the dog I wanted to pull has bad joints and I live on the third floor, which seemed like not the ideal environment. So instead, I’m back with the fabulous Florida-based rescue, Aussie and Me. See Brody, the Aussie I almost stole foster-failed.

I don’t know for sure which dog I’m taking. I put in a request, and specifically begged to not take any puppies. I still haven’t forgotten how awful it was to house break Lana. Therefore, I don’t have pictures yet. But, this entire process was finalized today and I will have the new kid on SATURDAY; sometimes these things have to move pretty fast.

So, I will be back soon with pictures, an introduction, and a little bit of gibberish. You know, the usual.

-Kayla and Lana

Life Would Be Easier Without Dogs. But I Like A Challenge.

A couple of days ago I found myself thinking life would be easier without dogs. Lana ate my work heels – these cute but pretty comfortable black Nine West wedges. I’d been wearing them every day, but when I went to dinner I forgot to pick them up off the ground. By the time I came back, there was no hope. I don’t even think a cobbler could fix them.


So, completely furious, I went to my boyfriend’s apartment. By the time I came home, Brody had gotten sick in his crate. I dragged the crate, including Brody, to my bathroom door so we could bathe him, and as the tub was filling, he threw up. Meaning, that mixed with… well, what wasn’t vomit. Worst. Mess. Ever.

Another brown stain on my carpet and some more vomit on my shoes and keys (I accidentally knocked them on the floor, what great timing), and I was pretty tired of dogs. Now, it’s not his fault he felt sick, that happens. Especially after heartworm treatment. But still, for a while I was trying to figure out why it was I insisted on having a revolving pack of dogs in my tiny apartment.

And then I ran across some pictures from a couple of weeks ago. Brody had been getting his treatment in Gainesville and Lana and I headed to a lake with some of our best human friends and their dogs. It was a blast, aside from the slight sunburn I got.



From this angle it’s a little hard to see, but on the left is Maggie the Pit bull from Temporary Home, Permanent Love and the middle two pups are Circus and Nala from Unsaid Yet Understood!


The dogs had a blast together!


And it was nice to see my friends, too. Though since I’m moving in a week, I’ve hung out with all three of my amazing co-workers/bffs (one not pictured here) more than normal. lately.




And of course the dogs love some human company.



And Lana learned she really loves swimming.




It was a pretty awesome weekend.



And that’s why I love my revolving pack of dogs. Days like that more than make up for my disturbing familiarity with stain removal techniques and my sad lack of shoes.


So this week in between stressing about packing and finding an apartment for Mike (that I will share when I come back from my internship in six months), I will count on my dogs to keep me laughing. And I will continue to be grateful for the friends I’ve met and/or grown closer to because of our shared passion for rescue.

I’d Like a Mother’s Day Gift or Two…

Yesterday I ran across an article in the online dog-lovers magazine, Keep the Tail Wagging, talking about Mother’s Day for “fur-moms”. This fur-momma gave a list of the best gifts her boyfriend could give her for Mother’s Day, as a way to say “thanks” for taking such great care of their pets. She ended it with the question: what would you want for “Fur Mother’s Day”?

Anything I want?! Well there’s so many things, I’m not sure where to begin.

No. I am sure.

Number 1: A few more pictures where my dog(s) and I BOTH look nice.

Kisses are nice, but a good picture would have been nicer!


Yes, I want a few more of these!

Number 2: It would be nice to hear how my previous fosters are doing.

sierra goodbye

I know they’re in happy homes, but I want a picture of them and their favorite toy, or them playing with their new siblings, or them “smiling”, because dogs do smile (Sierra was all smiles). Because I still love them.

Number 3: I’d love for Lana to not destroy something or go through my garbage, for like a week.

04-20-11 lana makes a big mess

Yeah. I miss the days when it was just stuffing I had to clean up. Now it’s whatever I call “trash” but she decides is “treasure”.

Number 4: Maybe she could be a little less obnoxious at dinner, too.

005 (4)

I love her more than anything, but I don’t share food. Ever. Just ask my boyfriend. He nearly lost a hand when he stole the first cookie out of a box. THE FIRST COOKIE!!!

And number 5, the one I want more than all the rest combined: A home for Brody (maybe even someone I know?!).

brody at the vets

A picture of Brody after finishing his heartworm treatment. He is still under observation at the vet’s office.

If you’re on our fan page, I’m sure you’ve already seen this image of Brody. The amazing Karen, the head of Aussie and Me, posted it on my Facebook wall on Friday. The vet’s office wrote the caption: Brody has gotten through his heartworm treatment and he will be staying a few more days at the vet’s office for monitoring. He had a visitor stop by to spend some time with him today and it is said that Brody just wasn’t his happy self. It was evident that the treatment has taken a toll on him. Feel better Brody and get some rest. You deserve to take the time you need.

Karen reiterated: Brody is having a tough time with his heartworm treatment but will be ok. He misses you very much. … He is really sad.

My poor baby boy. I’m not there to comfort him when he feels sick and alone. He misses us, and we miss him, too. And that’s just not a good thing to hear in time for Mother’s Day. Even if I’m not a “real” mother.


We miss this smile.

What mother doesn’t want the best for her kids? Of course I wish my home could be his forever home. But this is Mother’s Day, not Christmas. There are no miracles that would make that work. There are just long-awaited “thank you”s for a lifetime of love and devotion. Or, in the case of a foster mom, enough love and devotion to make up for the bad parts of their lives we weren’t able to fix and last until long after they are gone.


Brody Boy

They need us mothers and fathers. They are always thankful. They show us every day. Though Brody won’t be back until after Mother’s Day is over, every day will feel like Mother’s Day after he returns. Because that’s the kind of dog he is. He looks at you and you know he is grateful. You know he is devoted. He immediately finds a place in your heart and stays there. So next Mother’s Day, when he has a real “mom”, I’ll still think about him, just as I think about the others.

And I’ll also be grateful to the family who takes them into their home, to love him, to dote on him, to care for him until he dies.

What I really want for Mother’s Day is for Brody to find a family, and to thank each and every “mother” (and “father”) who has adopted one of my previous fosters. They may not be able to say Happy Mother’s Day, but I can.

Happy Mother’s Day to you, the women who love and cherish the fur-kids I used to raise.