Monday, December 26, 2011

PUP-DATE: Zazu Again!

Zazu and her former foster dad
It's no surprise that I have a constant flow of Zazu (now Tallulah) pup-dates because her family lives right around the corner. One day I saw Tallulah's mom at the train station and heard that Tallulah ate a pair of glasses. Another day I heard about how Tallulah opened all the lower cabinets in the kitchen and helped herself to lunch. But these pup-dates are always followed with solutions they've come up with to keep Tallulah's insatiable curiosity at bay. And then: "She's such a wonderful dog, and we couldn't imagine life without her. Thank you for bringing us to her."

Tallulah is a great dog, but there's no doubt that her hound behaviors require a good deal of patience, lots of exercise, and, as her family pointed out, several trips to Pier 1 to replace household items she has helped herself to. It reminds me that every family has their own tolerance for issues they're willing to work with. For some, they can't tolerate a dog who jumps on the furniture or has an occasional accident in the house. For others, they're willing to work through behavioral issues (Jagger's family also comes to mind) or medical problems.

Today we were out for a long walk on a new trail in town and saw Tallulah herself for the first time since she was adopted in September. She jumped on us and gave us kisses. We'd like to think that she remembered us, but the truth is that she just loves everyone. She's taken to eating the contents of the garbage can, so her family takes out the garbage every day before they leave for work. She's doing great, and they couldn't imagine life without her.

Wishing You a Merry Christmas

From Ariel (who we're foster-dog sitting)
and Missy, of course!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Wordless Wednesday: ADOPTED: Maggie's Journey

Magnolia the golden doodle-ish dog showed up on the Web site of a shelter we partner with in VA. I may or may not have had her forever family in mind when I asked to foster her.

Shaggy Maggie made her way up to NJ with the volunteer transport system. By the time she reached us, she was pooped.

The next morning, we took her for a walk...

and then got her a bath.

Afterward, she went home to her forever family—which just so happens to be my parents! It's the second best thing to foster failing!

And now Missy has a new best friend!

Monday, November 28, 2011

For Shelby

Shelby in spring 2011
Why does the lifespan of man’s best friend last only a fraction of man’s lifetime? It seems cruel that a best friend is meant to walk by your side for only a short while.

Shelby, my family’s golden retriever, passed away a few weeks ago. Sure, being blind slowed her down a bit. Call us na├»ve, but somehow we thought she might live forever. When Shelby was sick one morning, my parents took her to the vet and were told it might just be a bug. “Take 2 aspirin and call me in the morning, Shelbs,” the vet seemed to say. When Shelby’s condition worsened the next day, they took her back. Further tests revealed she had a tumor growing on her heart. She grew weaker and her heartbeat gradually slowed. The vet told us she wasn’t in pain. In fact, it was an awfully peaceful way to go.

As I’m sure many, if not all, of you can attest, the loss of a pet leaves a gaping hole in your life. Coming home to an empty house. Taking walks by yourself. Not having a TV-watching buddy. And because my parents were accustomed to taking such good care of Shelby’s medical needs, there was no longer a reason to run home to give her eye drops or medicine. 

Shelby circa spring 2003
If dogs had eulogies, which they do on dog blogs, Shelby's would go like this: When you consider the 6-8 million homeless animals that have their lives cut short each year, you have to appreciate what a wonderful life Shelby lived. A family with two kids purchased Shelby from a breeder when she was a puppy. When the parents got divorced, Shelby didn't fit into their plans. She found her way into our home, her forever home, via an ad in the “Absolutely Free” classifieds column. (Kids, that’s the old-time version of Craigslist.) She lived to the ripe old age of 12 years with a family that loved her to pieces—even though she wasn’t allowed on the furniture. She really couldn’t have asked for more. We couldn’t have asked for more.

Shelby was a good listener and confidant.  She made us laugh and relieved our stress. She taught us more about ourselves, about life, and about adversity. While it seems unfair that she, like her canine counterparts, was only destined to be with us for a short while, the message is abundantly clear:

In our time, we’re meant to welcome many dogs into our hearts. We’re meant to live and learn from them. We’re meant to cross paths and take their pawprints with us wherever we go. 

Thursday, November 17, 2011


Foster cat Franky and Missy. My mom says it would be animal cruelty to separate these two lovebirds.

ADOPTED: So long, Sophie!

Missy and Sophie
Sophie wasn't an easy post-foster-failure dog. She was well-behaved, friendly, cute, and the perfect dog. She made it hard not to fail again. Truth be told, if she had come along first, we probably would have adopted her. (Don't tell Missy this!) But there's no room in this inn and thankfully a super nice couple adopted Sophie on Saturday.

Missy and Sophie and all the other dogs that came before them are testaments to the absolutely wonderful dogs that crowd shelters in the U.S. My blood boils when someone tells me they have chosen to buy a dog instead of adopt one because they "don't want to deal with a shelter dog's issues." Many dogs—like Missy and Sophie—end up in shelters not because they have issues but because their people have issues. Both Missy and Sophie's original families moved away and decided not to take the dogs with them. Look into those brown eyes and tell me these girls don't deserve a second chance. I dare you!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

More Tricks Than Treats

Missy dressed up as a bee for Halloween and greeted trick or treaters at our door. She has such a great temperament that she didn't blink an eye when young trick or treaters shrieked in her face. She also didn't care when the ridiculous parents of said children screamed (in all seriousness), "Don't pet that dog! She might bite!" However, Missy did find it funny that I replied, "She won't bite. She'll just sting you."

Now would you believe me if I told you that this is not Missy? In fact, it's our new foster dog, Sophie! We couldn't resist taking her in. She's a really sweet dog—more cocker spaniel like than Missy and about 10 pounds lighter. The two of them are just so cute together. Both are easy-going girls who just love being around people.

Okay, now how about if I told you this was Missy and Sophie's long lost foster sister? Well, you'd have to believe me. It's Karina (now Winnie)! Her adopters bought her the same bee costume and sent me this picture! Doesn't she looked thrilled?

Friday, October 28, 2011


Zazu is living the life! Her people sent us an email saying Zazu (now Lulah) has been a wonderful addition to their family. She and the other dog are best buds. Just look at this picture!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Wordless Wednesday: Interspecies Love

Missy and Franky: Who Said Dogs and Cats Can't Get Along?


Cuddle time!

"No, I love you more!"

 Franky loves playing "Frank in the Box" with Missy.

Franky and Missy have a shared love of chasing the red laser.

Franky has taken it upon himself to give Missy a nightly bath.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

What Is She?

This is a question I’ve been asked numerous times over the past two weeks while out on walks with Missy. My answer is always the same, “She's a purebred dog.” But seriously, what breeds came together to make this super cute, medium-sized love of a dog?

Missy is about 30-35 pounds. Her legs are short, and her body is “stocky.”  She has long, soft fur, small triangle ears and a big, fluffy tail. Her head is pretty small in proportion to the rest of her body.  (Okay, disportionately small.)

In the end, she’s just a mutt, and I love that. Will I do a DNA test that reveals her “true” heritage? Maybe if I’m curious enough and have extra cash to blow on something like that. But in the mean time, I’ll go off of your thoughts—what do you think Missy is?

Saturday, October 1, 2011

The Year of the Dog, or ADOPTED: Missy

One year ago, we said good-bye to Chance. We walked around our town's annual street fair on the first Saturday in October and hid our tears behind sun glasses. 

In turns out it's not just dogs that deserve second chances; us people do too. In the year since then, we've fostered (or helped to foster) 10 dogs—Wookiee, Jack, Karina, Bella, Jagger, Chloe, Lucy, Bentley, Zazu, and Honey. We've met wonderful people in the process (both volunteers and adopters) and have come to believe what Margaret Mead said: "Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it's the only thing that ever has."Without a doubt, this has been The Year of the Dog.

We've taken in the dogs and transformed them from unwanted underdogs to pampered pets. We’ve given them baths, filled their bellies, taught them manners, and then found them forever homes. It's never easy to say goodbye to a dog, especially one who you've seen through some of their most vulnerable hours. Perhaps it’s even harder because we don’t have a pet of our own to cling on to when a foster dog leaves. But we’ve been able to let go when we find them better homes than what we can offer them. Upgrades, we've come to call them. (Copyright Jen at Inu Baka)

We knew we'd foster fail miserably at some point. I suppose it was only a matter of time before one came along that would fit seamlessly into our lives, and we couldn’t let go. 

Enter Missy, the black, fuzzy mutt that came into our home as a temporary houseguest last weekend but has claimed a place all to herself on our sofa, on our bed, and in our hearts.

We’re told she had a “family” in South Carolina who moved away and left her behind. A kind neighbor noticed the poor dog alone and fed her for two weeks. When it became apparent the family wasn’t coming back, the neighbor brought Missy to a shelter. In that shelter (the same one Honey came from), Missy had five days to find a home. Luckily, in that time, our rescue came across her and agreed to take her.

A few days later, Missy made her way to New Jersey with the help of the wonderful volunteer transport. Up the eastern seaboard, volunteers each drive an hour leg of the trip. The dogs are handed off from driver to driver until they reach their rescues and foster homes. As soon as we saw Missy, her big, brown eyes begged us to love her. And love her we will.

How anyone could move and leave a dog behind is beyond us—let alone a dog like this. Sweet and affectionate, smart and well mannered, she’s a mutty-mutt mix of who knows what breeds. Her size and energy level fit perfectly into our life in a condo, unlike most of the dogs we've fostered. She's good with dogs, cats, and people of all ages. You couldn’t ask for a better dog. And we believe she couldn’t ask for a better home. We are her upgrade. 

So Missy is here to stay. 

Thursday, September 29, 2011


Here's a way to search for an adoptable pet in your neck of the woods!

Find and help adoptable shelter dogs, cats, puppies, and kittens

Monday, September 26, 2011

Dogs v. Cats

Well, folks. We've crossed over to the dark side. We took in a foster cat. My better human half is good with cats, and he figured a cat would be lower-maintenance foster animal.

I, on the other hand, was a little unsure. I've never had a cat before; in fact, I was pretty certain I'd be allergic. I've also been under the impression for the last [insert how old I am here] years that cats are slinky little things with ulterior motives and shady personalities. Nevertheless, like dogs, they too deserve warm homes, so we thought we'd give a try when someone asked for our help.

When sweet kitty Franky came to us, I immediately posted his picture on Facebook thinking I would be inundated with comments along the lines of Oooh, Ahhh, and I want him! What I heard was the exact opposite—things like Dislike and We're not friends anymore. Then there were the people who told me they wouldn't dare come over my house again for fear of going into anaphylactic shock. (To their credit, some kind-hearted cat people defended the feline race.)

But I was still left thinking—what have I done!? 

Within a few hours of bringing Franky home, I realized what the cat people were talking about. Not only are cats low-maintenance, they have their own way of showing affection. By mid-week, I was convinced that all of my life, I actually have been a cat person and just not known it. (At one point, perhaps after a couple beers, I might have also convinced myself I was a cat in a former life. Might being the key word here.) 
  • Loves to just hang out at home and doesn't really see a need to go outside? Check.
  • Generally would rather hide when the going gets tough? Check.
  • Requires only small doses of human interaction? Check.
  • Obsessively clean? Double check. 
Then, a couple days after this hypothetical realization, I started to see some of the drawbacks of cats. The litter pan started to stink up the whole house. The sweet kitty went crazy kitty on us when we tried to get him out from under the bed. And who ever thought it was a good idea to keep a nocturnal animal in your house? But the final kicker was when I came home from a long day at work and just wanted an exuberant, I'm-so-happy-to-see-you ball of energy to greet me at the door. 

Instead, Franky hid under the bed. He only came out when I brought him food and to use my legs to scratch his side. Sure, he didn't need me to rush home from work to keep him company. He didn't need me to walk him in the pouring rain. In fact, I generally get the feeling he doesn't need me aside to fulfill his sporadic needs of hunger or play. 

So my verdict is this: There are moments for both, and there might (again, the hypothetical might) even be a place in my home for both. Since you've read this far and are probably throwing your hands up at the fact I'm taking the easy way out by calling this a tie, if I had to make a final ruling, in more moments than others, dogs still rule and cats semi-drool. 

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Giveaway Winners!

Jen, Vicki June, and Ashley are our giveaway winners! Please email me at kim [dot] greene [at] gmail [dot] com with your mailing address, and Purina will ship the products to you. Thanks for participating!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Last Call for Purina Giveaway

Today's the last day to enter the Purina Giveway. All you have to do is follow the blog publicly and leave a comment on the product-review post from Saturday.

Good luck!

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Honey's Five Days

Five days. That’s how long animals have to find a home when they enter one shelter in South Carolina. If you know about the overpopulation of pets that fill these shelters, you know the odds are not in the their favor.

Things were not looking good for this sweet Lab, Honey. We’re not sure how this lovable girl found herself in such a horrible circumstance. All we know is that she was an “owner surrender,” a mama who recently had a litter of puppies.

Volunteers with our rescue saw Honey on the shelter’s Facebook page. Lab lovers, they immediately knew they had to save the dog.  When a rescue pulls from a shelter, the rescue pays a fee to have the dog vetted (spayed/neutered, up to date on vaccines, etc.) Then, transport is arranged to get the dog from the shelter to the rescue.

Honey arrived in New Jersey last weekend into the loving home of the volunteers. We ended up taking Honey mid-week because they had their hands full when a nasty groundhog bit one of their personal dogs.

As soon as I posted Honey’s Petfinder profile, interest started to come in. I contacted one family in particular who was interested in Karina back in the spring, but they weren't able to take her because the timing wasn't right. (And it just seemed to fit because Honey is a blond Karina.)

Can you guess how long it was between the time Honey stepped paw in New Jersey until the time her new family’s application was approved? You got it—five days.  

Don't get me wrong; they're all not that quick and easy to adopt out as a sweet yellow Lab. Had she been a bully breed or a BBD with the same disposition, it would have taken longer. But they all deserve more than five days—they deserve a lifetime. 

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Purina Giveaway!

The folks at Purina were kind enough to send me some product samples to try out with our foster dogs. I told them I would review them here, and, in exchange, they're going to give free Purina products to 10 lucky readers! 

All you have to do is read this post, publicly follow this blog, and then leave a comment with which of our foster dogs you've enjoyed reading about the most. There are no right or wrong answers; 10 winners will be picked at random. Winners will be selected and announced on Thursday, September 22nd, so please comment before the end of the day on Wednesday.

First, I have to disclose that the box of these items was in the basement when the flood waters of Hurricane Irene started to rise. So the wee-wee pads, well, I couldn't salvage them, but I can vouch that they absorbed water—and lots of it.

But I was able to save the stain and odor eliminator spray. We got good use out of this with Zazu. We usually use the orange Nature's Miracles for accidents in the house. In contrast to the orange zest smell of that spray, the Purina spray has a fresh linen scent. I followed the directions by soaking up the urine, spraying the carpet heavily, and then scrubbing. It seemed to do the trick. I checked back a few days later and did not detect a urine smell. (But after all these foster dogs, we've decided it's time to rip out the carpet and put in a hardwood floor!)

They also sent along this giant pet hair roller. My family has a dry-cleaning business, so I know the value of these things! I had fur on my black pants, and the brush picked it quite easily. I'm not sure I noticed a difference between this and a regular lint brush, but it definitely took up the fur.

Remember—you must publicly follow the blog and leave your comment between now and Wednesday to be entered into the giveaway! Good luck!

Friday, September 16, 2011

ADOPTED: Zazu the Gymnast

Zazu turned our home into the floor of a gymnastics competition—vaulting off the sofa, flipping over chairs, making the coffee table into a balance beam. While she was lovable and affectionate and sweet, it was apparent that this dog needed exercise. She needed a yard and another dog to tire her out. She did not need to be cooped up in our condo all day long.

Because we can usually make good estimates of how long it will take for a dog to get adopted based on its age and breed, we figured Zazu would be doing back flips through our home for several weeks.

We were at our first adoption day for only about half an hour when a dog-loving couple came looking to add a third dog to their pack. They knew right away that Zazu was the one. They had a yard, a wealth of dog experience, and plenty of canine friends to tire her out. Zazu, who sat in a Virginia shelter for three months, was adopted within a week. Sometimes things just work out that way. 

And what’s better than that? Zazu (now Talula) lives right around the corner from us and her people have granted us full visiting rights to see our Olympic-champion foster dog. 

Monday, September 5, 2011

Zazu's Ears

Take a look at Zazu's left ear. (Her left, your right)
A warning: This is not my usual warm-and-fuzzy post. Its content may be disturbing to sensitive readers.

Our next foster, Zazu, has arrived. But before she even got here, my colleague, Amanda, pointed out something in Zazu's shelter pictures. She seemed to have slits cut into her big, floppy ears. 

We started to put the pieces together. First, Zazu was from a rural shelter in Virginia. Second, she is, without a doubt, a hunting dog. (Although I don't know what she is for sure, I'm labeling her as a Treeing Walker Coonhound mix.) With that, we started to Google terms like "ear marking" and "ear tagging."

The notch on her left ear went straight through;
the notch on the right ear is in the same location,
but didn't seem to go all the way through the skin.
Now I've heard of tagging animals to track their migration. I've also seen tattoos inked into the inside of laboratory dogs' ears. But I've never seen slits like this before. From my research, I believe this is what hunters call "ear notching." It's used to identify dogs of a particular hunter's pack. (It's more commonly used with pigs. It's also used to identify feral cats that have been spayed/neutered.)

If we were talking about piercing/marking/tattooing a dog's ears under sterile conditions where the animal feels little to no pain, this would be a different story. But I happened upon web sites and message boards where hunters discuss ear marking/notching/branding, including this board from about branding. I hope they are the minority, but I fear they are not. 

One poster said, "Microchips may be state of the art, but a brand can be seen by all and a theft deterrent in itself. At the very least, if a branded dog gets stolen the sorry SOB gets a reminder every time he looks at the dog that the dog isn't his." 

Another poster asks if other hunters sedate the dogs at the vet, themselves, or just hold them down. One reply says, "We've always just held them down without sedation, they'll whine a bit, but it isn't too bad." 

Another reply puts it bluntly: "I 'juice' them, and cut nuts at the same time if they need it. 'Juice' makes things much easier, for branding and castration." (By juice, I'm assuming he means liquor.)

And then there's the site in which a hunter describes in detail how he brands his dogs. His message to "animal huggers" seem to be written just for me: "You animal huggers can already quit your whining about how much it must hurt, and that's why they struggle when they are being branded, and all of that whiny baby garbage. If you were going to PM me about what an a$$ I am to do that to a dog, and it ought to be done to me, save it. I'm telling you from experience that it don't hurt. I wear the same iron as my dogs - I belong to them as much as they belong to me. They'd give their life for me; to return the favor is the least I could do."

Well, I have a few responses to the conglomerate of posters I have quoted here. First off, I'd like to see YOU merely "liquored" up, have a brand scolded into your ear, then have your nuts cut off. Then I'd like you to tell me that "it don't hurt."

Second, sir(s), I am the "SOB" who "gets a reminder every time he looks at the dog that the dog isn't his." You're right. Zazu isn't mine. In fact, she was found sleeping in a roadside ditch with her sister nearly starved to death. After that, she spent 3 months in a shelter. Perhaps you could have claimed her then if she was such an important member of your pack. 

And now she is currently napping next to me on my bed in suburban New Jersey. I look down at her ear and I'm reminded she's not mine because I would never do such a thing to a dog. She's not mine; I'm taking care of her because I care about dogs, and I care about her. She's not mine; I'm just glad she's no longer yours. 

Saturday, September 3, 2011

PUP-DATES: Calendar Photo Contest

My love of pup-dates can not be understated. It's so rewarding to hear how these near-and-dear-to -my -heart dogs are doing. Luckily, pupdates have been plentiful during a week when I've been in desperate need of pick-me-ups.

Why this week? Our rescue is holding a photo contest for adopted animals to be featured on a 2012 calendar. Many adopters have sent in photos of their pooches along with some quick updates of how the dogs are doing.

Wookiee (now Chewie) sounds like the world's best dog. He is one mellow, hairy dude who loves playing with his brother, Zeus. He's gained about 10 pounds since November, which he desperately needed because he was all fur and bones with a case of whip worms when we had him. His adopter says Chewie is a real nature lover who stops and smells the roses outside.

Karina (now Winnie) is really settling down in her home. Her separation-anxiety and dog issues seem to have abated. Her adopter sent me a bunch of pictures to browse through in an effort to pick the best ones for the photo contest. In all of them Winnie is either at work with her adopter or commuting to work. (Sounds like my own life!) Regardless, they were all adorable, but this is my favorite one.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Life Lesson #3: Making Room for More

This post isn't about dogs; in fact, you'll be glad no canines were involved.

Hurricane Irene rolled into New Jersey late Saturday night. We worried about downed trees on our quaint little town's tree-lined streets. We worried about not having electricity. We worried about trains being cancelled and roads being closed.

What we didn't worry about was a basement filled with a foot and a half of water. And that's exactly what we got. We were awoken at 5am by a horrible crashing sounds in the basement. We ran down to find 3-4 inches of water. The power had failed and, accordingly, so did our sump pump. We spent the next hour grabbing the essentials like contestants on Supermarket Sweep—important documents, electronics, scrapbooks. We grabbed and stacked as fast as we could, but the water kept rising. So then we started bailing water. With two small buckets, we ran up and down the stairs dumping the water into our bathtub. It was useless, but you can't helplessly stand by and watch all of your belongings go under.

The water won 16 inches to 0. That was yesterday.

Today was clean-up day. I hope you never have to wade through water with your life-long memories floating by—photos, books, each carrying a specific significance. (But maybe you have and you can relate.) Sure, we lost things of actual monetary value, such as big ticket appliances, and that hurts the wallet. But it was the little things that hit me hardest. They fall into a few categories...
  • Things that survive despite the odds (and thank goodness they do):
Our extra wedding invitations were sealed in a dinky envelope. Finding some of these intact made my day.
  • Things that deserve to be destroyed but are in perfect shape:
Why do I have these Pogs that went out of style 20 years ago? Even if they were in style, they didn't deserve to survive when my precious belongings did not. I hope they have survival's guilt.

  • Things of $0 monetary value that are irreplaceable:
  • This Golden Book wouldn't sell for $0.01 on ebay, even if it were dry. Sure, I could go out and buy a copy of this same title and it would stir the memories of reading with my mom as a child, but my signature (4-year-old style) can't be replaced.
  • Things you never knew you had and are glad you found (even if it took a massive flood):
Photos of my husband as a child

  • Things of emotional importance you should have let go years ago:
This was my favorite doll as kid, but she's been musty and mildew-y for years. Also included in this category are just anything to do with exes.
  • Things that remain as connections to loved ones who have passed:
  • As a kid, I took this suitcase to grandma's house for sleepovers. It's soaked through and through, but you better bet I'll be drying it with a hair dryer all day tomorrow. Letting go of this means letting go of her memory.
Sure, we've held on to some things in hopes of preserving them. But we've thrown out 60+ bags of "trash"—all things that once held significance to us. It makes me terribly sad, but it also makes us feel like we're starting fresh, especially as we begin our lives as a married couple. We're making more room in our home and in our lives for something more. What that "more" is, we're not sure, but you can bet a dog of our own and many foster dogs will be part of it. 

Sunday, August 21, 2011

PUP-DATE: Karina

I received another pup-date from Karina's family. (And by Karina, I mean Winnie, which is what her people call her now. Does anyone else have problems with calling their old fosters by new names?)

Karina continues to make progress settling in. Her separation anxiety has dissipated. Her people are working with her dog-to-dog interactions. They sent along this picture of Karina on her union-mandated lunch break. I miss that dog, but I look into those eyes and know she is loved.

The Dogs of Pompeii

I'm back from hiatus from our wedding! As we await our next foster, I thought I'd report back from our honeymoon...

Dogs weren't far from our minds. The south of France seemed to be full of people that loved their small, un-neutered dogs—specifically Yorkies and Westies. And then there was the USDA beagle that sniffed me out among hundreds of people at the airport for "smuggling" cookies from Spain.

Above all else, there were the stray dogs of Pompeii. If you've ever visited, you may have seen this famous mosaic of one of Pompeii's guard dogs, which warns "beware of the dog."

I'm sure you also noticed the more modern dogs sleeping in the shade of ancient columns. There are more modern signs that tell visitors not to approach or pet any of these dogs that call Pompeii home. I obeyed and snapped photos of them from a distance—thinking that the photos looked like they belonged on Petfinder.

Luckily, the Italian government is a few steps ahead. Or maybe they had to be. There were isolated reports of dogs attacking visitors at the popular tourist attraction, as well as recurring problems with the dogs fighting over food and females in heat. With an estimated 50 stray dogs at the ruins at any given time, there were also problems with local gangs recruiting (read: stealing) the animals for dog fighting. 

So, in 2009, Pompeii's administrators started a program to promote the adoption of dogs. The dogs were given medical attention, spayed/neutured, microchipped, and outfitted with Roman names. Then, they were put up for adoption. In the program's first six months, the Times reports 22 dogs were adopted. 

As we noticed, the issue has not been solved since the program was handed over to local volunteers last summer. Many dogs are still abandoned in Southern Italy—particularly by pilgrims who visit the area each year and by those who know that their dog will likely be fed and cared for if deserted at Pompeii. Overpopulation knows no boundaries and has no easy solution. But at least someone is doing something to help these dogs stand a fighting chance.

Visit the project's website, (C)ave Canem, for more information. Then, check out these articles from Discovery News and The New York Times