The Journey!

How does a middle age social worker become a published author?  The easy answer is by accident!  It was October of last year and I was settling in after another cross country move.   Emma and Matthew were more or less settled in Montana and I was experiencing the phase of life in which former college kids start real jobs and are no longer home for summers and holidays.  The reality of only seeing them 2-3 times a year had hit me.  It wasn’t pretty.  (What parents did before the age of social media and texting – I have no idea.  This makes long distance at least bearable.)

In any case, moving and empty nesting was exacerbated by losing both our Virginia Rescue Dogs in the same year to a very aggressive form of cancer.  This coincidence is unfortunately not as rare as it sounds in Labradors.  Both Eli and Sully were between 9 and 10 years old and they passed away about 11 months a part.  Bob and I were grieving to say the least.  I decided I needed a project and started what I thought would be a Christmas present for Emma and Matthew.  The stories came surprisingly easy, considering many had happened over 20 years ago.  I found that reminiscing and writing became a balm for what had been a rough year.

In the spring, we adopted an Anatolian Shepard named Abby and a Lab Newfoundland Mix named Cody.  Both are big loveable lugs with hip and knee issues (not so different from Bob and I – Ha!).  Abby is smarter than I am.  In fact she will probably be blogging more than me.  In any case, I started toying with the idea of publishing my stories.  I was fortunate to have a friend named Brianne Brown who agreed to edit my book – and in doing so saved me from the rabbit hole of the editing world.  I also hired an amazing illustrator Shane Watson who understood my vision – and made Rescue Dogs come alive with his magic.  Working with both of them was a gift.

I did a fair bit of research and found out about Booklocker, a self-publishing company that came highly recommended for their integrity and helpfulness.  Angela and her team made the publishing process easy.  And here I am!  A published author who merely had an Christmas present idea for her launching children.

I would love for this website to become a place where big and little people can share  their own stories.  So, if you have something you would like to post – please contact me!

You can also join our Facebook community at Vance Family Rescue Dogs.  It is a great place to share funny pictures, advice and insights in a supportive environment.

Rescue Dogs

A Thanksgiving Puppy Poem

It was Thanksgiving Week and all through the days


New pups kept arriving – shelters had run out of space.


And the Village responded with its usual grace.


A volunteer took Niko hiking the trails.


And walkers came out despite some strong gales.


Pearl was adopted by a family who signs!


And Bella found HER Humans – it was about time.


For Blessing/Lobo its a holiday first – he’s thankful and hopeful his spirit well nursed.


LCAL fosters so special to open their homes


And help the pups heal – so they won’t be alone.


Hey!  Prince got adopted the coup he has flown!


Alana is happy and sad – on her heart he had grown.


So on this day the pups have taken the time.


To write a few words – in a poem that rhymes.


So thankful we are to all be alive.


Thank you to The Village that helps us all thrive.



Montana Mona: The Huskies Have It!

Good morning SOCAL and Happy Friday!  We are coming up on Thanksgiving week and I am stepping up to blog about my favorite subject.  Huskies!  Let me introduce myself.  My name is Mona and I was rescued two years ago from a hoarding situation by my emotional support animal Emma!  Here is a picture of me with Emma.


Before I go any further, let me introduce you to my LCAL Buddies:  Niko and Zephyr.

Every day is a great day if you ask Niko.  He is playful and loves people.  He does great with other dogs when properly introduced.  He is always looking for some fun and if there is not an adventure to be had – he can be found playing in his water dish.  Niko is such a beauty he was featured in the LCAL 2020 Calendar!  Here is his glamour photo!


And here is Niko at the LCAL Halloween Party!  He was such a good sport about putting on a costume for the event!  Thanks Niko!


And Zephyr is a total heartthrob.  In fact, I have a big crush on him.  He has David Bowie eyes and is a smaller Husky closer to my size.  (Hey that rhymed.  I am a poet and didn’t know it!  Emma write that down!)   And he loves running, hiking, and playing.  Here is Zephyr’s glamour photo.


And here is Zephyr enjoying a play date with friends.  He just loves dogs and people.


Like most Huskies, Zephyr is a smart guy and would do best with an active family who has time for training and adventuring.

So why adopt a Husky?  Let me tell you a few things you might not know.  First, Huskies love to nap and cuddle.


We like to howl when fire trucks go by.


We are athletic and like to hike and camp when the weather is cool.  (And most of us should be kept leashed.  We have a pretty strong prey drive and love a good chase.  I am the rare Husky that will not leave her emotional support animal’s side.  Wait for me Emma!)


And Huskies can look a little wolfish and love to pretend they are on a wilderness adventure – even in their own back yard.  Hey Emma!  I need you to clip my toe nails!


Most Huskies are good natured and love to play with other dogs when we have been properly introduced.  This is a picture of me with our summer foster Harley.  Harley was a baby and didn’t have very good manners.  But I taught him the ropes of being an inside dog.


Hey Harley!  Give me back my stuffy!  Patty Platypus isn’t for sharing.


Is there anything a Husky doesn’t like?  Well, yes.  Getting our anal glands expressed at the vet.  That is no fun!  (I didn’t talk to Emma for the rest of the day.)


We are very smart and are known to be a little sassy.  This is me giving Emma a little Husky sass because she is not paying attention to me.  Hey Emma!  Take a study break and let’s go see the neighborhood goats!


So, if you can handle a little shedding and are looking for an athletic, happy family member to take on adventures – consider adopting my friends Zephyr and Niko.  They would love to find their FURever family.  This is Niko saying “Hey guys!  Give me a home for the holidays!”  #lastchanceatlife.org


Montana Mona says “The Huskies have It!”






Zach’s Veterans’ Day Blog


Good Morning Everyone!  Happy Veteran’s Day Weekend.  I am Zach and this is my glamour photo above.  I love playing in the water and if a pool isn’t handy – my water dish will do!

Before I get into all the happenings at LCAL this past month, I would like to take a moment to thank all our veterans for their service to our country!  We are the land of the free because of the brave!  And a special shout out to all our LCAL Vets….especially our active duty service members Eesha and Sean.  You make us proud!  Hey Sean, we can’t wait for you to get back from deployment and meet all the new pups!

Okay, back to me!  I can’t believe it is November already!  October was such a busy month with volunteer trainings, adoption events, holiday calendar creations, and volunteer appreciation night!  Woosh!  Before we knew it, October was gone and none of us pups had written a blog.  So, here I am.

First!  Let me tell you about JoJo!  JoJo came to us a year ago as a puppy with Mega Esophagus.  That is a fancy way of saying that when JoJo eats, food comes back up from her stomach.   It is dangerous because the food can find its way into her lungs.  Plus, it makes her very skinny.  When JoJo came back to us, she had pneumonia and we weren’t sure she was going to make it!  But medical needs are an LCAL specialty!  She recovered and has now been adopted by her veternarian!  What a perfect FURever family for JoJo!   Not only that, but her special chair arrived.  She sits in this after eating so her food stays in her belly!  Doesn’t she look great!  Way to go JoJo!


We also had TWO adoption events in October!  Look who came out looking for her FURever family?  Hey Bella!  So nice to see you greeting families at PETCO.  That is the best way to find your FURever family.  Hee Hee.  This picture makes me think of Little Red Riding Hood.  But don’t tell Bella I said that!


Amanda and the Board also planned a Volunteer Appreciation Night so us pups could say Thank You to the LCAL Village!  Here are some pictures from that night.  We got dressed up in our Halloween Costumes which was so much fun.  This is Niko hoping for a cupcake.


This is me!  Sitting pretty for a volunteer.


Appa (AKA Bubba now) couldn’t make it but his FURever family sent us a picture of him.  He got dressed up to show his support!  We miss you Bub!


Bella has too much dignity to put on a Halloween costume but she chatted with our volunteers just the same!


Thank you to everyone who made this night so special.

Jamie and her calendar committee worked hard on our holiday fundraiser last month too.  I probably shouldn’t tell…. but guess who made the cover!  STEWART!  Hurray!  We miss you buddy!  I heard you are loving life with your FURever family.  (SSHHHH.  Act surprised when you see it.)


OKay, now let’s talk about me!  I was saved by LCAL when they rescued me and a bunch of my friends from death row!  It was a close one.  LCAL volunteers drove SEVEN hours round trip to save us!  All of us are good with Humans and other dogs, walk well on the leash, and have sunny dispositions.  We think I might be part Beagle and part Cattle Dog.  I can be a little camera shy.  Here is a picture of me with Jamie and she is trying to get me to smile at the camera.


Oh alright!  I will cooperate for one more picture.


All the girls tell me I have the most beautiful eyes.


But my friend Zephyr is the real heartthrob around here.


The Marines like to say Adapt and Overcome.  I think that is especially significant for all of us at LCAL.  Us pups have found resilience through our adversity.  And we are so thankful to the LCAL Village for giving us a chance at life and to meet our FURever families.  So if you or someone you know is looking for a FURever family member, stop by and say Hello!  This is Zach saying Over and Out!




The Village Prince


Good Morning Everyone!  Happy Thursday morning!  The weekend is almost here!  Hurray!  Let me introduce myself, I am Prince!  Blessing mentioned me last month when I was just starting to recover from my surgery.  My Foster Mom, Alana, is taking such good care of me.  And keeping a 100 pound Dobie like me sedated is no easy job – let me tell you.  This is a recent photo of me in my yard.  Don’t I look the part of a noble prince in this picture?  Mom says don’t let this picture fool you because I am really a big goof ball.  I am showing more of my goofy personality in my Glamour Photo.


So, as my buddy Blessing mentioned last month, I had a Boo Boo on my toe.  The LCAL volunteers took good care of me and put medicine on it twice a day.  (This was not fun for any of us.)  But it just didn’t get any better.  Then I started getting kennel stress.  Us Dobies are working dogs and being cooped up in a kennel is torture!  That is when Alana, my Foster Mom came to my rescue.  She took me home and I settled right in with her.  (I actually went to Foster Mom Lisa’s house first – but I was a little too interested in her cat.  I swear I wasn’t doing ANYTHING!  But they were having none of my shenanigans.)

Once I settled into Mom’s house, I went to the Vet and got the news that no one likes to hear.  I had Spindle Cell Carcinoma.   These are connective tissue tumors which luckily grow slowly.   But Mom was still devastated for me, I am only four years old after all!  At first it looked like I might lose my leg.  Mom advocated for me, and since it was a low grade tumor, the Vet decided to just take my toe.  Whew!  Then came the Cone of Shame.


As you can see from this picture, I was feeling a little depressed.  Mom felt bad for me, so when I snuck up on the couch, she just let me stay there.  My buddy California Cody sent me pictures of his Cone of Shame to try and cheer me up.  And it did help.  Doesn’t he look silly? IMG_1433

And this is Cody now, 8 months post TPLO surgery.  This gives me hope because hard times do eventually pass.


Okay, back to ME!  Mom takes such good care of me, that I am embarrassed to tell you the next part of this story.  But do you remember when Cody was sad and shredded his bedroom carpet?  Well, one day my Mom found me like this.


I am sorry Mom!  I was sad and lonely and Bed was bothering me!  Mom understood.  I am a good boy after all.   This is me giving hugs and saying sorry for my mischief.  Mom says it’s hard to keep a good Dobie down.  We are busy boys.


Now Mom says that she knows I am feeling better because my true personality is coming out.  I love kids and other dogs.  I love to play!  And I take my Watching the House job very seriously.  If you come by, you might hear my belly growl or even a warning bark.  Then I run around and grab Stuffies to make things a little more fun.

Here is me hanging outside.  What a beautiful day!  Wait, do I hear someone approaching? “Hey who’s there?  Present yourself Human!”


Last week, Mom took me for a ride in her car.  I love Car Rides!  The simple abundance of the wind in your ears is such a treat!


I am healing up nicely and Mom told me I might have a FURever Family waiting for me!  I am trying not to get my hopes up too high because you never know how things will work out.  But I am keeping all my other toes crossed.  (Gotta remember to laugh in the face of adversity!)  Some people ask Mom how she can Foster and then give us up.  “Isn’t is just too hard?”  They ask.

Well, that is why Foster Families are so special.  They love us for a little while.  Often at times when we are not at our best.  They give us space to heal emotionally and physically.  And then when we find our FURever Families they let us go.  And that is true love?  Don’t you think?

Counting Our Blessings


Good morning everyone!  What a beautiful Saturday!  My name is Blessing and I joined the LCAL Village all the way from the Philippines!  It is quite a story – but before I get to ME – I want to give a shout out to my friend Prince!


Prince is a big lover – totally goofy – and easily makes friends with dogs!  He LOVES butt scratches and bringing toys to his Humans.  He is a Big Boy weighing in at 115 pounds – but needs to lose about 15 of those.  Prince came to LCAL with a Boo Boo on his toe.  When it didn’t seem to be getting any better he went to the Vet and we found out it was Spindle Cell Carcinoma.  We were so worried!  Prince lost his toe.  BUT the good news is that the radio graphs came back clear and it looks like he is going to be just fine.  Prince doesn’t seem to be missing his toe – he has other toes after all.  And just this week he was out riding around with his foster mom, Alana and his furry foster brothers.  We are truly counting our blessings with Prince and know he will make a wonderful addition to a lucky Rescue Family.


Okay guys!  Back to My Story!  My best friends Nicci and Rebekah went to the Philippines to do some volunteer rescue work.  Rebekah had deployed to the Philippines several times in the Marine Corps and had met a bunch of Rescue Ladies there.  Here is a picture of the kennels.


I started my life as a stray on the streets and then was picked up by the City Pound.  These pounds don’t provide any resources for us – but it is better than the streets.  Eight years ago, the Rescue Ladies bribed a pound employee so they could go in and help take care of us.   They would come in on Saturdays and Sundays and for awhile that was the only time my friends and I were getting fed.  Man, those were hungry years!  Unfortunately, people in the Philippines don’t adopt dogs very often – so I spent 7 long years in this kennel.  Things are a little better now, but there is still no money for treats, beds, or toys.  None of us really know how to be dogs.  Here is a picture of me while I was living there!


If you think I look happy, you are right!  I was thankful for every new sun rise!  I have quite the resilient nature.  And then, one day EVERYTHING changed for me.  Originally, Nicci and Rebekah planned to raise money for a spay and neuter clinic but then they met ME and decided I needed to join the LCAL Village!  They started fundraising and Nicci donated money from her business BGPhoDOGraphy.com.  Nicci’s wonderful portraits help get us Rescues adopted!  In fact, here is a picture she took of me!  Isn’t she talented?


They worked hard and finally they came back for me!  I always knew they would!


The Ladies named me Blessing.  But really Nicci, Rebekah and the LCAL Village are the true Blessings.  They have brought such support, good will and protection to us Rescues!  And then there is my foster mom, Colleen!  She is a wonder!  She opens her home to us and provides a safe loving place for us Rescues to heal and learn to be dogs again.   Here is a picture of Mom with Princess Lucy at a Petco event!

Lucy and Colleen

Mom says I am full of joy and curiosity, easy to train, and walking better on a leash every day.  I love dogs, cats and even birds!  And I barked for the first time last week and I surprised Mom with a deep throaty “Good Morning Mom!  What’s for breakfast?!”


Amazingly,  I seemed to have sloughed off the memories and experiences of my early life quite easily and have quickly adapted to being a pet.  Mom says I am never less than gentle and love my toys and treats!  I have learned to sleep in a bed and play with my furry foster brothers.  I have decided that couches are an amazing invention!  And I even give kisses – but just to Mom.  So, on this beautiful Saturday morning I leave you all with this thought.  There is nothing better than giving and receiving love.  That is the Blessing for all of us.  Don’t you agree?  So, in a world where we can be anything, let’s all be loving and kind!


If you or someone you know might be interested in adopting Blessing or Prince contact Last Chance at Life Rescue.  Or consider making a donation or checking out BGphoDOGgraphy.com so the LCAL Village can continue their important work.

Last Chance at Life
3308 Mission Avenue
Oceanside, CA 92058
Phone: (442) 615-7437
Email: Info@LastChanceAtLife.org


How Sweet Stein Learned to Trust


Good Evening and Happy Tuesday everyone!  September is in full swing and this past weekend we had our monthly adoption event at Petco!  Let me introduce myself, my name is Stein and that is my glamour photo above!  It was a really Big Deal for me to be a greeter at the event this weekend because I am very shy.  I have been working with Robin on trust and it is really paying off.  I actually came out from behind the table to say hello to people on Saturday!

Now before I tell you more about myself, let’s share some good news stories!  Guess what?!  Stewart found his FURever Family at the National Dog Day event!  It made our hearts so happy for him.  Way to go Stewart!


AND Clooney went on a sleepover this weekend with a wonderful lady who thought he was her perfect match!  Hurray for Clooney!


Not only that, but BOTH Fluffy and Lilly were adopted this past week!  Puppy Power!  So, there has been lots of good news in the LCAL community.


Okay, back to me.  I have a story to tell – so let’s get started.  I began my life in an abusive home with owners who were cruel.  Luckily, I was saved by a shelter and eventually found my way to LCAL.  The Village knew I wouldn’t do well at the kennel because I was so nervous.  Every strange sound made me startle and relaxing was impossible.  LCAL found a foster home for me and the nice lady picked me up and brought me to her house.  But Humans were very scary to me back then and as soon as I arrived in her driveway – I leaped out of the car and ran away.  I really thought I was running for my life because I hadn’t learned to Trust yet.

The LCAL community sprang into action and tracked me for about a week all over Oceanside.  They would field calls from the neighbors and try to guess where I might be headed next.  It was a long week out there on my own – running from everything and everybody.  But the LCAL Village finally found me and I went to live with my foster parents Karen and Martin.  This is me on my bed.  Don’t I look content?


The compassion and consistency Karen and Martin (AKA Mom and Dad) have shown me – has made a real difference in my life.  And Robin has worked hard with me – so that I can be my best self.  Little by little I am learning to trust Humans and my anxiety is being replaced with a sweet, sensitive and gentle personality.  I have formed a strong bond in my foster home and Mom tears up when she tells the story of how far I have come.  I even play with my furry foster brother!  Who knew I could learn how to play?

Finding me was a very important Milestone for LCAL – it gave our community the strength to continue our important work!  Rescuing is a calling that can often result in Compassion Fatigue.  It is hard to connect empathically with people and animals who are suffering…without taking some of that suffering on yourself.  And no matter how many of us are saved – there are many more who keep coming.  It is like a bottomless ocean of animals who need to find FURever families.  Feelings of hopelessness and helplessness are common.  The key to managing Compassion Fatigue is good self-care and taking it one Rescue at a time.  LCAL likes to remember the Starfish Approach.   When we start to wonder if all our efforts will ever make a difference – we remember for that one Rescue – we are making ALL the difference.  And LCAL made all the difference for me.


And this gives us the strength to continue our work.  Over 1300 animals have been rescued by LCAL and most of them have special medical or mental health needs that would otherwise be disastrous for us.  So, thank you for all your efforts LCAL Village!  I am an example of the difference you make!

I do love Karen and Martin but I hope I can find my FURever family.  I will do best in a quiet, low traffic home.  I am fine with other dogs, in fact being part of a pack is beneficial for my anxiety.  I love to go walking, hiking and jogging and I walk very nicely on a leash.  Now that I have learned Trust, I form very close bonds with my Humans and feel safe enough to show my sweet side.  At four years young – I will be the perfect companion for many years to come.  If you think you might be interested in a 50 pound Dobie mix with a heart of gold – come check me out at LCAL!  Have a good week everyone!

National Dog Day – The Dogs’ Night Out


Good Evening and Happy National Dog Day! According to NationalDogDay.org, yesterday was a day that celebrated all breeds of dogs and helped motivate the public to recognize the number of us who need to be rescued each year, from shelters and rescue organizations.

We had so much fun celebrating at The Compass last night in Carlsbad. All the proceeds went to LCAL so that they can continue to save lives! Lots of people came out and even brought their own Fur Babies.


Oh! Let me introduce myself! My name is Fluffy. That is my glamour photo above. (Now that I am stretching out a bit – I don’t look so fluffy anymore – and it will be okay if my Forever Family gives me a more grown up name.)

I was one of over 25 puppies who were rescued from the desert this summer by the Angel of Route 62. Why humans insist on leaving us in the scorching desert without water – and easy prey for the coyotes is something I will never understand. It is so simple to drop us off at a shelter where we will be safe. But I digress. This is about National Dog Day and I want to keep things upbeat. Here is a picture of me last night at the event! I was sitting very pretty.


And here is a picture of my sister Lilly! We used to live together but we don’t any more – so it was nice to see her! She was being a little nosey because she wanted a treat.


“Helllooooo. Do you have a little something to share? Anybody interested in giving me a FURever Home?”


And here is Lilly playing in the garden at her Foster Mom’s House. Lilly loves to play outside.  She looks like she is missing me a little bit.

Lilly and I are most likely a Shepherd Hound Mix. I look like I have some Beagle in me -maybe. We are playful and athletic.  Once we warm up to you, we show our cuddly side too. We were giving out lots of kisses at the event last night! We will need a patient family who realizes that we are just babies who like training and consistency. We would both do well in an active home – ready to put in the time and love to help us be the best dog we can be.

Speaking of puppies, Lennox and Hendrix joined us last night too. They are still little, not big like me and Lilly. So, they stayed in the puppy pen unless they were getting cuddles. These guys were rescued by Angel of the Desert too! Look at the size of their feet! These guys are shepherd lab mixes who will probably be medium to large size dogs when they grow up.


This was a big night out for them and they got a little sleepy towards the end.


Okay – enough about puppies! Let’s talk about Blessings! Blessing is so new to LCAL, he isn’t even on our website yet. Blessing came all the way from the Philippines! One of our volunteers does Rescue Work there. Here is a picture of Blessing at The Compass last night.


Blessing spent seven years in a kennel. That is his WHOLE LIFE! When our volunteer was working in the Philippines, she fell in love and realized Blessing needed to come to LCAL. She arranged everything to get him here – and now he lives with his Foster Mom Colleen. You would think that Blessing would have some special needs – but he is very adaptable and gets along with his foster siblings just fine! He has learned what a bed is (very comfy) and he enjoys his regular meals, and occasional channel surfing on the couch.

Blessing has even learned what AFFECTION is. And not only does he accept affection from humans….he gives it too! Last night he showed us all what a wonderful boy he is and greeted all the humans with a big smile. Even the little humans. Makes you realize everything happens for a reason and Blessing was meant to be here with us. Welcome to the family little guy! We will help you find your FURever home!


Let’s see, who else was there tonight? Oh! Appa! Appa is a pure bred yellow lab and his prior owner developed a medical issue and needed to rehome him. He lived with two other large breed dogs and a cat. So, Appa pretty much loves everyone. He is a year old and about 50 pounds but needs to put on a little weight. Like any young lab, Appa has lots of energy and is curious and interested in everything.


He has training—sit, stay, lay down, place—but forgets that he knows this when he gets excited. He loves people and kids. Appa would do best in an active home. Someone who hikes or likes outings at dog parks and such, and is looking for a best bud. Here is Appa at Compass hanging out with Eesha and her friends. He is sitting pretty enjoying a beautiful evening out.


Here is Appa’s glamour photo.

And we can’t forget about Old Stewart. He was his distinguished self…quietly taking everything in last night. Sometimes Stewart can be a little nervous, but he is getting the hang of these adoption events and taking everything in stride. He still likes to stick his feet in the water bowls when no one is looking. He loves the feeling of the cool water on his tootsies. Nothing bothered Stewart last night, not the crowds, strange dogs, or loud music. He left a little early to get his beauty sleep but it was great having him around.


Oh!  And Frida was there too!  But truth be told – National Dog Day excitement was a bit much for Frida.  All the people and music had her a little shook up.  She stayed for a bit and then headed home with her Foster Mom.   Since we didn’t manage to get a picture of her – here is her glamour photo!


Ok Guys! That is about all you’re going to hear from me tonight because I stayed up WAAYYY past my bedtime to meet with everyone for National Dog Day! When you go to sleep tonight, let’s remember all the dogs that work selflessly to save lives and bring comfort to their humans. Some of us even put our own lives on the line every day – for law enforcement partners, for blind companions, and for humans needing a little extra help due to special needs. We are real life super heroes protecting our humans’ safety by detecting bombs and drugs, and even finding victims of tragedy and pulling them from wreckage! We are pretty amazing if I do say so myself. And deserve way more than being dumped in the desert. Eh? Good night Lilly! It was great seeing you Sissy!  Fluffy is out!


Last Chance at Life
3308 Mission Avenue
Oceanside, CA 92058
Phone: (442) 615-7437
Email: Info@LastChanceAtLife.org

Tarzan and a Match Made in Heaven!


Good Evening and Happy Tuesday Everyone! July is almost a wrap guys! I want to introduce myself. I am Tarzan! King of the LCAL pups! That is my glamour photo above. I was 10 months old when I came to LCAL and now I am little over a year. Which means I still have a lot of puppy energy left – but my manners are getting better every day. I am probably a lab mix, but I look like a small Anatolian Shepherd with a black muzzle, tan coat and floppy ears. In pictures, I actually look bigger than I am.  In real life, I am only about 45 pounds. I have a big bark for a mini lab and you can hear me greeting shoppers at the Petco adoption events. I make sure I am standing right at the front door! Helloooooo Huuumans!  This is me…Tarzan the Petco Greeter!


Everyone at LCAL is very surprised that I haven’t been adopted yet because I am such a beautiful boy. I love Humans and bigger kids who won’t be knocked down by my exuberance. I adore playing fetch and tug-a-war.


And I bet I would love swimming if given the opportunity!  I am also good with other dogs when we’ve been properly introduced. In fact, Diva and I play a lot together.  Diva is back at LCAL because she and her furry brother did not get along. This happens from time to time.  Between Humans too of course! What is most important is to find the right fit for all of us – even if it takes some time. Welcome back Goddess! I heard there were some extra belly rubs and butt scratches coming your way. Your Furever Family is still out there looking for you!  Let me give you a little kiss.


Really, discovering the right rescue dog is like finding the right roommate or partner. It is important to take the time to get to know each other! Because the more you know – the better the chances the relationship will work! If you add furry family members and tiny Humans to the mix – it can be even trickier! LCAL’s adoption system includes sleepovers so that everyone can be sure of a successful experience when the adoption is finalized. That is very important because all of us Rescues have been through some tough times. And FURever Families are so wonderful to open their homes to us – we all deserve the best chance at success!


So! Let me play cupid and give you some hints on how to have a match made in fur ball heaven! One thing to think about is how much time you spend at home. Younger pups like me need A LOT of exercise. When we get bored we tend to get into mischief. And we are pack animals. We want to be with our Family! Anatolian Abby was much happier when California Cody came to live with her. She needed company during the day so she wasn’t so lonely and anxious. Those two are older – so while they LOVE their daily walks and weekend romps – they are also content to snooze all day waiting for their Humans to come home. More active dogs might need someone home with them.  This is me taking a little nap after playing!  Naps don’t last long at my age.  Hee Hee.


Another thing to consider is can you afford to take care of us? I am a young healthy boy but I will still need vaccinations and checkups just like Human Pups. The cost of puppy chow, treats, toys, vet trips, and kennels can add up! (Especially when you eat as much as Cody and Abby!)

Are you willing to play with us? Socialization is as important for us as it is for our Humans. I was so lucky that Nate took me home for a play date last weekend. I needed some quality time and a visit to Nate’s house was just the ticket!  This is me just stretching out doing Frog Pose after an afternoon of play.


Oh! And training! Are you willing to train us so that we can be our best selves? Jen, Robbin, and Pam spend so much time teaching us how to behave. Diva has learned to be brave! Stein has learned to follow directions! Stewart doesn’t bark as much and can attend adoption events now! And I am learning to control my puppy impulses! (Truth be told, Abby and Cody could use a little work in the training department. I heard they walk around the neighborhood like hooligans looking for a fight!)  Seriously though guys, you have to decide on your house rules.  For example, at Nate’s house I can get on the couch!  But at Cody and Abby’s house the rule is “No Dog Butts On Furniture!”  (I like Nate’s rules better.  Ha!)


Well, if after all these tips you are still looking for a Furever Family Member, then check out the LCAL on-line dating service for dogs! (Just kidding…that was a little puppy humor!) It is an on line application that asks some simple questions. Then, the fun of finding your match begins. There are glamour photos with amusing descriptions about us. If one catches your eye – then it is time for a Meet and Greet! Hurray! Meet and Greets are the highlight of my week because if that is successful – then it is time for the SLEEPOVER! Woot Woot! (Or should I say Woof Woof?)  See, not too different from finding a life partner. We are just the furry version. (More puppy humor on my part!)

Ok, back to me guys! If you are looking for a smart friendly puppy with lots of love and fun to give – then look no further than ME! I would love to see you for a meet and greet (no strings attached) and work up to a SLEEPOVER if you agree that I am a match made in heaven.


Beautiful Bella


Good morning everyone!  I would like to introduce myself.  My name is Bella which is Latin for beautiful and I am a four year old German Shepherd.  That is my glamour photo above – have you ever seen such an enormous tongue?  Before I tell you more about myself, I would like to update you on Diva!  Diva went on a sleepover this week with Mike and his family fell in love with her.  She has enjoyed playing in the yard with her furry brother and is so happy to have found her forever home.  This is a picture of Diva with her brother.  They have matching ears!


Oh!  And let me update you on the renovations!  Robbin applied for a grant with Home Depot a few months ago and LCAL was approved!  Renovations started a few weeks ago.  Let me take you on a tour!


The space is so open now and will be the perfect room for Meet and Greets and Puppy Playtime!  I can’t wait to see it when it is all finished.  Thank you to The Home Depot Foundation in Encinitas!  You have given us a wonderful opportunity.

Okay, back to ME!  I was surrendered by my Humans because they felt they didn’t have enough time for me.  Sigh.  At least they dropped me at the Shelter so I would be safe.  Like many German Shepherds, I can be a little anxious.   I love people and I am not a jumper – so I am most likely good with Little Humans too.  I also like dogs as long as we are properly introduced but I would probably be happiest not having to share my family with other fur balls.

German Shepherds are very intelligent and loyal.  We can learn just about anything.  Which is good, because truth be told, I could learn to walk better on a leash.  I am strong and I pull, so I need an experienced dog owner to make the decisions for me.  Here is a picture of me with Nate an LCAL volunteer.  Nate says I am wonderful – I just need my Human to be a Leader – so I don’t have to worry about that stuff.  Nate is here to take Tarzan for a play date.  Aren’t our volunteers wonderful?  “Hey!  Where is that squeaking sound coming from?  Who’s there?  Luna!  Is that you?”


Luna came for a visit with Amanda.  She is just a puppy so I am not allowed to play with her.  Luna’s mommy, Harper, is still looking for her Furever Home.

0720191319 (1)

Here is a picture of Harper.  Isn’t she sweet?  If you are more of a Little Dog Human – Harper would be a wonderful addition to your home.  Harper and her puppies were dumped back in the spring and LCAL rescued them.  Her puppies have all been adopted but she is still waiting.  “Hand in there Mama!  Your Furever Family is out there looking for you.”


Okay, back to me.  I would love an active family who would take me on long walks and hiking.  Exercise helps a lot with anxiety – and I am a healthy and athletic girl!  I am not much of a fetcher.  This is me saying “Yea Lady, I am not going to go running after that ball.  I have too much dignity for that.  You want to play fetch – go get Tarzan or Kuma.”


I do sit very pretty for a snack though.  Just remind me to take it gently!  Sometimes I can be a little bit pushy about my snacks.


Hey everyone!  Are you paying attention to me?  Is it time to go for a walk?  What?  The interview is OVER?  I’m heading back to the clink?  I protest!


Okay!  Looks like they are telling me to wrap it up.  If you are looking for a beautiful pure bred German Shepherd who is as intelligent as she is loyal.  Then look no further than ME – Bella the Beautiful.



California Cody’s Op Ed: Big is Beautiful!

Good Evening! Monday is a wrap everybody! California Cody (and LCAL alum) here to discuss a topic near and dear to my heart! But first some shout outs! I will start with ME. I have passed the 16 week mark post TPLO surgery and I am almost back to being my normal self, galloping around the house like a big black pony. It was tough being cooped up for four months but I am in less pain and enjoying my daily walks. Hurray for me! Even my fur is finally growing back on my leg!

Cody 1

And here is my big sister Abby. Mom says that Abby is built like a torpedo but I love all her chunky curves. Can you tell from this picture that she’s had enough of my celebrating – and would like me back in The Room? Be patient with me Abby – I am so happy to be feeling better!

Abby 1

Princess Lucy went on a sleepover this weekend and we are very happy for her! Way to go Princess! And Milo was adopted by a wonderful family who wanted a sibling for fur baby Maggie. Yay for Milo! Max found his forever home in June and last time we saw a picture he was snuggling up on the couch surrounded by pillows. Silly Max. Don’t you know the rules? Mom says no dog butts allowed on the furniture.


Back to my Big is Beautiful OP Ed. In a state known for Teacups and Pocket dogs hanging out in celebrity’s purses – we Bigs can feel a bit overlooked. But when it comes to dog sizes, I say Big is Beautiful! Bigger dogs tend to be a little more laid back. The exception might be puppies like Tarzan. Tarzan is still in that wiggly, jumpy, talkative stage with a big personality. He loves being active with his humans and is motivated by food and affection. Tarzan is an LCAL favorite and we can’t quite figure out why he hasn’t found his Furever Family. He is the fun Big that is for sure. Here are some pictures of Tarzan from this weekend playing tug of war and being the Petco Greeter.



This is a picture of Tarzan greeting his friend Diva with a big kiss.


Big pups also tend to be smart and easy to train. Goddess Diva is a perfect example. When she first came to LCAL she was afraid of cars, dog beds, and just about everything strange. This weekend she came to the Petco event and she was better behaved than Tarzan and Princess Lucy! She has worked so hard in training classes with Amanda and boy does it show. Diva even had an admirer at Petco! Mike! Mike’s daughter recently left for college and he is looking to fill the quiet place she left behind. Will Diva be that special new addition? We are keeping our paws crossed. Here are some pictures of Diva from Saturday!

Diva 1

Diva 2

Like our smaller cousins, Bigs are very loyal to their humans and because of this, many of us work as service dogs. You don’t see Teacup dogs doing that! And Littles like to pretend they’re big by jumping and yapping. Us Bigs don’t have to bother with all that nonsense. We are confident in our bodies. And most of all big dogs are just a lot of fun! We like to jog, hike, and play Frisbee and Catch. We love a good BBQ (hotdogs are nectar of the gods in my opinion) and are great companions to take camping.   Here is a picture of Kuma out hiking!


This weekend was the Petco Adoption Event and the Bigs were well represented by Stewart, Tarzan, and Diva! Truth is, LCAL Bigs are really more medium size pups but next to Princess Lucy and Frida we look like giants! My pal Stewart was there on Saturday. This is his second event and he is the model of good behavior. Stew is such a sweetheart. He is beyond all of that puppy craziness and just wants to hang out with his people. LCAL says he loves going out for his walks and if you are willing to sit with him, he will sit there all day if you will scratch his chest. Stewart is people friendly and good with other dogs. He is super handsome and as the remaining guy in the Old Dogs Rule organization we would love for Sweet and Sassy to find his Furever Family. (I keep trying to get Mom to bring Stew home with us, but she thinks Abby and I would be too much for him.) Here are a few recent pictures of Stewart from the Petco event.

Stewart 1

Stew 2

Kuma wasn’t able to make it to the Petco this past weekend. She was hanging out with her Foster Mom, Alana. Kuma has been working on gaining a bit of weight because people are mistaking her for a homeless pet. She just isn’t very food motivated (which I will be honest I don’t understand AT ALL because all I think about is cookies and kibble). But with a lot of love, walks and freeze dried nuggets in her dinner, she is filling out. Kuma would thrive in an active home with a family who likes to hike and jog. She loves humans – even kids! Cats – not so much. Small animals tend to trigger Kuma’s prey drive – so she would be better off in a home with big beautiful dogs like myself. Here is Kuma playing catch.


And another of Kuma saying “Will you be my Furever Family?”


So, as a finish my Op Ed I would like to say that nothing is more beautiful than having confidence and loving yourself. Sometimes this is difficult for us rescue dogs because we’ve been through so much. But volunteers like the LCAL Village help us re-learn that anything is possible when you have the right people there to support you.


This is California Cody reminding you all that inside every Big Dog is a puppy who just needs some love and a hug. If you are interested in being that special human then come by and meet Diva, Kuma, Tarzan and Stewart.

Bridget amd Mary

(Cody’s Mama has a long history of loving Big Beautiful Dogs!)

Last Chance at Life

Phone: (442) 615-7437
Email: Info@LastChanceAtLife.org Ave