• Devin’s a Dog Who Lives For Weekends (Just Like You).

    17 March 2014/ No Comment / by Suzy

    Active, Sporty, Adoptable Dog From Red Hook Rescue: Meet Devin.

    I see them all the time at Harriman State Park, about an hour north of New York City: groups of adults hiking and camping together, setting up dinner at one of the lean-tos along the Appalachian Trail in Orange County, New York.  Happily, comfortably busying himself in their midst, a dog.


    Confident, almost noble, Devin shows off his true beauty from the back of a truck. His face and markings reminded me somewhat of Petco’s Chairman dog, Buster.

    So, what does your typical weekend look like?  A little shopping, a little puttering, a visit from the grandkids, and then the USGA US Open for the rest of the afternoon, until dinnertime and Downton Abbey*?  Devin (and he would be the first to tell you this) is probably not the dog for you.

    On the other hand, if your weekend has you up at dawn filling the cooler or the backpack and hitting the trails in Harriman State Park with some friends, throwing the frisbee in the dogpark or running the Aqueduct trail in Westchester County, Devin might just be your next trail buddy.

    A Many-Colored Mixed Breed Mutt Looking for a Family (or Buddy) to Call His Own.

    All that is known about Devin’s former life is that whoever owned him saw fit to tie him to a pole in Brooklyn on the hottest day of the summer, without water — and abandon him there, to whatever fate had in store for him.

    But when I met Devin to photograph him for Red Hook Dog Rescue (our Rescue of the Month), the first thing I thought was, Great manners!  He sits on command.  He holds your gaze, and offers a paw.  He stays, and stays.

    But show him a toy, and it’s ON. 

    Not in a rambunctious, full-on, clear-the-decks-cuz-Devin’s-playing way.  Just: this is a smart, athletic dog, and he likes to work. 


    Devin, a multi-colored, mixed breed mutt dog, jumps high in the air as a frisbee comes toward him.

    What a dog! Devin is an active, sporty, VERY well-mannered mutt living in boarding in the Bronx. This guy needs a home with people who love the great outdoors as much as he does.

    Harriet tosses a toy in the air, and Devin brings it down with a deftness that makes us both think of those athletic frisbee dogs, or dock dogs that gracefully launch themselves into the lake in pursuit of a ball.  We watch him frolic around a squeaky toy, and in some ways, I’m sure we’re thinking the same thoughts about Devin: how does a dog like this, so eager to use his body and his brain, do in boarding, waiting for the family that we’re sure will eventually come?  What does Devin think when he’s led back to his kennel again? 

    Tweet this story to help Devin find a family.

    He’s not hyper, and he’s not a barker.  He’ll sit when you tell him to sit, and when you throw the frisbee, he’ll actually turn briefly while he’s in the air, and wink at you.

    Devin’s not a big dog, but he is enthusiastic when it comes to his toys and full-body hugs, so Red Hook Dog Rescue would like to find him a home with no children and no other pets.

    And though he has nobody to bond with right now, when he does, that bond will be strong, and it will be forever.  You can tell that Devin wants his someone, and he wants to bond for the long haul.

    Cute dog offers a paw to his friend.

    Even as I photographed Devin in the Bronx, nothing about this dog says “Concrete Jungle” to me. Dude’s a nature-boy.

    Devin is available for adoption or foster immediately, from the reputable, long-established Red Hook Dog Rescue.  He’s located in the Bronx, New York, but can be transported locally or in the Northeast.  You can read more about him on Devin’s PetFinder page.  And if you do decide to rescue this guy, please let us know how he’s doing with you!


    Tip: Do you hike with your dog? Don’t forget to pack the frisbee when you hike!  It’s one of the best “double-duty” things to bring on a dog hike, because it fits easily in your pack, can be used as a water dish, and when the ground is wet you can sit on it without making your butt soggy.  And — oh yes — it will keep you both entertained at break time.

    *Confession: I love Downton Abbey.





  • 14 March 2014/ No Comment / by Suzy

    Jeffrey had one last chance at getting out.

    So, Jeffrey came from Animal Care and Control in New York City.  That’s where Michele got him.  He was on what they call “death row”. Something in his picture, his description, got to Michele, and she went and picked him up before they ended his life.  New York City, two years ago.

    The thing about Animal Care and Control, or ACC, is that it’s just about what you imagine.  Imagine you get your car towed in New York City.  Where you would go to get it back, the worst kind of Department of Motor Vehicle-like, uncaring bureaucracy, is sort of exactly like the New York animal pound in Manhattan.  Except instead of cars, there are dogs.  Lots of them. You wouldn’t think a city could hold so many strays, abandonments, old and ill, crippled dogs and cats. 


    A blue pitbull and therapy dog sits on the wet pavement.

    Jeffrey at work in New York City. Part of Jeffrey’s charm, as I see it, is in those eyes. He’ll hold his body perfectly still, but follow you with his eyes. He doesn’t want to upset anyone.

    When you go in there, and walk past their cages, it is impossible to to look at them without thinking of where they have traveled, what they have experienced in the big city that is New York.  It is a wonder that any of them survived in our world.  There are so many things that can go wrong. (more…)

  • Jan Goes To Foster: A Pittie Rescue Story!

    13 March 2014/ No Comment / by Suzy

    A small, serious-looking pit bull mix terrier with large wet eyes and a cute, protruding lower lip, part of the pittie rescue work of Twenty Paws Rescue

    Jan is an adorable, adoptable pit bull mix, a pittie rescue through the hard work of Twenty Paws Rescue, and living in foster care in Providence, Rhode Island. She’s available for adoption!

    How Did This Puppy Survive the New York City Winter?

    Because she’s so tiny, the first thing you think is that she’s still a puppy.  And if you give it some more thought, you wonder how a puppy survived this viciously cold winter as a stray on the streets of New York.

    We’re driving to Rhode Island, Jan and me, toward her new foster home outside Providence.  Tiny dog, with the strange name that would better fit your high school friend.  She’s working a bone on the dog bed in back, and I look at her in the rear-view mirror and think, Was she afraid of people, this little New York City stray?  Did she blend in with the feet of the crowded streets, or run away to quiet alleys?  Was she cold?  Did she find a warm place at night, a grate, a box in an alley, a basement door?  Did a family bring her inside on those cold nights, for an hour or a day or maybe a week, until the novelty of a little puppy wore off and they set her down outside?  And then did she wait there, wait for an hour or maybe a day, for them to open the door to her again?  Or did she walk away, eventually, nose to the sidewalk, hungry?


  • When Neglect Rises to Animal Cruelty: Lili’s Story

    12 March 2014/ 2 Comments / by Suzy

    Lili Deserved Better.

    For a decade, the little cocker spaniel lived with a kind of neglect that amounted to cruelty.  She had to wait until the end of her life — and a rescue to save her — to find the kind of love, care, and respect she deserved.

    It was Abandoned Angels, a cocker spaniel rescue in New York, that stepped up for Lili.  I found her biography on PetFinder, and wanted to share her story.

    “Lili is a 15 year old severely neglected Cocker Spaniel who comes to us from Animal Care and Control of NYC, where she was turned in as a stray.

    A soft, but neglected and unhealthy Cocker Spaniel reclines on the floor after being rescued in New York by Abandoned Angels Rescue.

    Lili came to Abandoned Angels after being surrendered to New York Animal Care and Control. She’d been there before — ten years earlier, NYC ACC had let her go to a family who neglected her for ten years.

    “Lili’s life has come full circle. She was adopted out by Animal Control to a member of the public back in 2002 when she was just a youngster. This was such a “quality” home that she found herself dumped on the street 11 years later in such horrific condition that it brings tears to our eyes. Our vet sees no evidence of Lili having received any care in a decade or more. In his words, “This did not happen overnight.”


  • Run. Love. Dog. Repeat.

    03 March 2014/ 2 Comments / by Suzy

    A grid of colorful, energetic dog pictures, including puppies and heeler-mixes, from the Instagram account "Run_Love_Dog"Take Some Photo Tips From a Little Red Heeler

    By pure chance I came across Run_Love_Dog, an Instagram account starring a little red heeler mix named Sophie, and managed by the talented artist Lauren LaBeau Steadley.

    And, so far, I haven’t found another dog-centric Instagram account that’s as good, as consistently, breath-takingly good, as Run_Love_Dog.

    What makes Lauren’s pictures so good is her compositions, the way her dog Sophie and, often, her foster pups, take center stage against a backdrop of (usually) Oklahoma sunsets, snowy fields, naked trees. 


  • Lilly the Pitbull’s a Hero (and Our Newest Pocket Pittie)!

    02 March 2014/ No Comment / by Suzy

    Some dogs are just born to do great things. 

    I think I can say that I’ve met a few dogs who fit this description, dogs who you can look in the eye and know, here is a friend who will throw himself in harm’s way to save you if it came to that. (I’m pretty sure it’s not my dog Charlie but, hey.  That’s what makes Lilly’s story exceptional).

    It can probably be said of Lilly in 2009 that she was just like so many unwanted pets — especially pit bulls — in American shelters, when David picked her out. (What is it that makes us choose one dog over another, knowing that this relationship can possibly last fifteen years or more?  And faced with so many equally-agreeable dogs in need of a home?)



    David, a Boston police officer, was In search of a companion for his mom. Probably he looked at a lot of dogs that day, and if they were pit bulls (almost surely they were, because most shelter dogs are), they came in all different shapes and colors.

    How do you choose?

    “It was love at first sight for both of us, and after a walk, she knew she had to do something to show us how she felt.”

    When they stopped at his car and David opened the trunk to get her a treat, Lilly immediately jumped in.  This was her car, her family, and she was going home.

    As David tells it, the time would come for Lilly to repay David.  Three years after Lilly came home, David’s mom was walking with Lilly when the woman fell unconscious on the railroad tracks, in front of an oncoming train.  Lilly pushed and pulled her to safety, but Lilly wasn’t so lucky. She was struck by the train, critically injuring her rear pelvis and suffering the loss of her right front leg.

    She underwent a long rehabilitiation process, while her story and courage earned her the media nickname, “Lilly the Hero Pit Bull”.

    David says, “There’s nothing she can’t do now that she couldn’t do before.  She spends her days as a breed ambassador to help dogs like Lilly get adopted, and to educate the public on responsible pet ownership and the importance to adopt and not shop!”

    While we don’t know what happens in the mind of a dog when she decides to put her own life at risk.  But these stories make me wonder, over and over, at the startling connection between people and their pets.  They make me a little sad for the dogs, homeless and alone, who are capable of this kind of extraordinary devotion, but haven’t been given the chance.

    LILLY_hero_pitbull_CATALOGUE5_loI love this dog.  She has warmth and good humor in her eyes, and she wears her scars as proof of that love.  Forget the daring and loyalty part.  A dog willing to do what she did is pure love.

    Lilly is a hero, and she’s also the latest Pocket Pittie from CharlieDog and Friends.

    Every purchase of a Lilly Pocket Pittie will send a $4.00 donation to Lilly’s Fund, a foundation set up by David and volunteers to raise money for pit bull and homeless dog-related causes.  You can purchase the Pocket Pittie version of Lilly here.