Foster Friday- Alessandra Cecconi

February is a month filled with love, especially this week following Valentine’s Day. Since we have a thing for our fosters, we wanted to get in on the trend of showing appreciation this week and share our love for our amazing foster, Alessandra Cecconi. She is currently fostering our little fluffy pup Heartly and took some time to talk with us about her puppy love for Wags and Walks:

 

Tell us a little bit about yourself

I recently moved from NYC and work at the World Surf League. At home in the Bahamas, my house consists of 4 kids, 4 cats, and 2 dogs. Each cat was found as a kitten in the bush by one of us kids and the dogs came from a local shelter.

What got you started fostering for Wags & Walks?

I fostered in NYC because I couldn't have a forever dog just yet. When I moved to LA in October, I immediately researched shelters to foster with because I needed that puppy love. I'm so happy I found Wags and Walks!

 

To date, how many dogs have you fostered for Wags? Do you have a favorite?

Since starting in October I have fostered 3 puppies, who have all been so different that I can't pick a favorite.

What has been your biggest challenge fostering?

Because we only foster puppies, the sleepless nights are always a challenge. Our current foster, Heartly, was the first pup I had who was terrified of other dogs to the point of yelping and running away when she saw one across the road. But with some patience and some treats it took her less than a week to be able to sit quietly when a dog walks by and even go say hi on her own.

 

How has fostering affected you?

Fostering is incredibly rewarding; healing them from sickness, gaining their trust, building their confidence, and seeing the connection they have with their forever parents is an incredible experience. It has also shown me what it takes to own a dog full time and what traits do/don't fit my lifestyle.

 

What has been your biggest surprise as a foster parent?

That two puppies are easier than one!

Do you have any advice for someone who is interested in becoming a foster?

It's a lot of work, especially the first couple of days, but don't give up! The more a scared/anxious dog is moved around, the less they can settle. Just push through the night crying or the timidness because once they open up, it can be like a completely different dog! When fostering puppies, have Nature's Miracle on hand at all times. Do your research on different breed traits- no two dogs are the same and not all training techniques work the same way. Saying good-bye can be hard, but they won't think you've abandoned them once they see a new toy or treat :).  When you see the love in their adopter's eyes, it makes letting go so much easier.

You can join Wags and Walks' foster program too! Also, share this post with your friends and family so we can continue expanding our foster program. It saves dog’s life and makes an for an unforgettable experience!

If you’re looking to adopt, you can find all of our dogs that are available for adoption on our website. And be sure to follow Wags and Walks on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Snapchat (username: wagsandwalks. Because, really, who doesn’t love seeing photos of adorable dogs with big smiles and even bigger hearts?

XO,

Team Wags

10 Reasons Your Dog is the Best Valentine’s Day Date

Happy Valentine’s Day! Today is a day that we shower our loved ones with affection, so let’s not forget about the one who loves you most – your dog. Our pups are definitely one of the most important relationships in our lives, so here are 10 reasons your dog is the only Valentine’s Day date you need this year.

1. They Are Easily Impressed

Valentine’s Day is filled with expectations, from the restaurant choice to the grand romantic gesture. If your pup is your date, you don’t have to fight for a reservation at the nicest spot in town or spend a fortune to make them happy. All they need is you and some kibbles – and maybe a bone for the special occasion – and it will be the most memorable Valentine’s Day they’ve ever had.

2. They Won't Stand You Up

Has there ever been a time that you came home from work and your dog didn’t rush to the door, jumping and crying with excitement? Whether you’re gone for 10 minutes or 10 days, your loyal companion will be waiting with a lick. Valentine’s Day is no different. Just give them the date and time, and they will be there. What human is that reliable?

3. You Won't Be Going Home Alone

You don’t have to spend the entire night wondering if you’re making a good impression, if they think you’re funny, or if they’re having a good time. An evening with your dog is stress-free. You can kick back and relax, because you already know they’re into you. At the end of the night, they’re only going home with one person – you.

4. Looks Don't Matter

They love you for who you are, not what you look like. If you’re not in the mood to drive home after a long day of work just to get dolled up again, then make plans with your pup. Your doggy date will think you look just paw-fect in your sweatpants. In fact, you’ve never looked better – as long as you’re cuddling with them!

5. They Make You Laugh

Everybody knows that a sense of humor is one of the most important qualities in a relationship. Somebody who can make you laugh is a keeper, and who makes you laugh more than your dog? Whether they are chasing their tail, fighting their reflection in the mirror, or being devious, you are guaranteed to crack a smile when spending time with them.

dog_valentines_date_funny_dog_wagsandwalks.jpg

6. They’re Doggone Cute

With their floppy ears, soulful eyes and wet nose, you’re guaranteed to have the best looking date in town. Just try to keep your jealousy at bay when they’re getting attention from secret admirers galore. While they do share the occasional kiss with others, you know that you are their only true love.

7. They’ll Do Anything for You

Whatever you want to do, your pup is game. They will happily keep you company to watch that movie nobody wants to see, run that boring errand, or veg out in front of the TV. They love you more than tennis balls, so they’ll do whatever it takes to make you happy. Do you think they want to participate in your doggy Valentine’s Day photo shoot, sitting patiently with a rose in their mouth? No, they are doing it because they love you – and maybe because you are bribing them with a treat (just a little).

8. They’re All Ears

You won’t have to spend the evening talking over each other or listening to your date only talk about themselves. Your dog is there to listen, provide support, and silently agree with you, even if you’re being unreasonable. And if you don’t feel like talking, dogs have this amazing quality that allows them to know everything that is going on without you having to say a single word. It’s the best of both worlds!

9. They’ll Keep You Healthy.

Valentine’s Day is synonymous with themed candy, a big dinner and, of course, dessert. It’s almost guaranteed that you’ll get off track with your diet (or your New Year's resolutions, if you’re still going strong). However, choosing your pup as your date will eliminate that temptation. Their activity of choice is a hike, and those fancy restaurants don’t allow dogs, so forget about that. Throw out the dessert too, because we all know chocolate is toxic for your doggy date!

10. It’s More Than Just Puppy Love.

It goes without saying that a dog’s love is the most pure, unconditional, and selfless love there is. They don’t need a flat screen TV or the latest designer jeans to make their tail wag. It doesn’t matter to them if you’re rich or poor, smart or dumb. You could be a supermodel or a plumber or an astronaut and they would love you all the same. They are with you because they love you, and that love is fur-ever.

If you don’t have a doggy Valentine’s Day date yet, it’s not too late! Check our website for available dogs to find your perfect match!

Please follow us on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and Snapchat (username: wagsandwalks). Also, don’t forget to sign up for our e-mail newsletter. Who doesn’t love cute animal pupdates?

XO,

Team Wags

5 Easy and Fun Indoor Dog Exercises

Winter always feels longer than any other season. Even here, in Southern California, this winter has seemed to drag on with cool temperatures and lots of rain. Spring might be getting closer, but we aren’t there yet. While you might be able to escape to the gym or get in some at-home workouts, your dog might not be getting the exercising he/she needs while hiding from the bad weather. However, it can be easy to get your dog up and moving, even if you’re both still hibernating for a few more weeks. Try these easy (and fun) indoor exercises for your dog brought to you by Wags and Walks:

 

Play Fetch Inside

Mom always taught us to never play ball in the house, but this is an exception! At least we think it’s a good reason to break the rules. If you can’t take your dog out to chase the tennis ball, the least you can do is roll it around inside the house. You can even do this sitting down in front of the TV if you don’t mind multitasking a bit. It’s probably safest to do this on carpet so your pup doesn’t slip around or knock anything over during all the excitement. If you live in an apartment building, find a hallway that people don’t frequent to get even more fetch space. Even though you won’t be able to throw the ball far, your dog will still enjoy the chase.

 

Work Out on the Stairs

Friend or foe, it’s hard to say that taking the stairs isn’t good for your health. Well, the same holds true for your dog. Whether he/she is walking or running up and down the stairs, it’s an easy way to keep building that muscle, even when he/she can’t spend hours outside. Don’t push your dog too much, especially if they have any health concerns or arthritis, but also don’t let them wimp out on you. Incorporate a game of fetch if a little incentive is needed. It will be good for you and your dog to start using the stairs more.

 

Treat Hide and Seek

If you have a treat motivated pup, it’s time to use that to your advantage. You can hide treats around the room and for your dog search out. You can even add yourself to the equation and play a classic game of hide and seek. Once your dog finds you, he/she is rewarded two times over - seeing you (the one he/she loves) and getting a real treat. Plus, they get to channel their inner hunter while they are running around the house. This is also a great way to get the whole family involved and get some quality time with the pets while everyone is around the house together. Make it extra challenging and set up some “traps” that can serve as an agility course while they are searching for the treat or you.

 

Treadmill Workout

If you have a treadmill at home, you can always utilize this for indoor exercises and train your dog to walk/run on that. Check in with your vet first to make sure this is okay for your dog, and be prepared for it to take a little time for him/her to get used to. Don’t push your pup too hard and be patient with the training. It’s important to monitor your dog at all times when you’re using the treadmill, keeping them on their leash and staying with them the entire time. As they get used to it, you can play with the speed and incline to keep them on their toes!

 

Bonus Indoor Exercise: Practice Basic Commands

Another easy way to keep your dog active is freshening up on their basic commands. This will not only keep them moving, but it will also benefit you. The classic sit, stay, and come commands are simple, but a great activity for the mind and body!


We know that it’s more fun to exercise outside, but these indoor dog exercises will keep you moving until the warmer weather comes around. Remember, it’s important to maintain your pup’s mental and physical health year-round, even throughout the colder months! 

Exercise. Nap. Eat. Repeat.

Exercise. Nap. Eat. Repeat.

Please follow us on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and Snapchat (username: wagsandwalks). Also, don’t forget to sign up for our e-mail newsletter, and check our website for available dogs. Who doesn’t love cute animal pupdates?

XO,

Team Wags

Tips for Dog's Dental Health

February is Pet Dental Health Month! Keeping your pup’s teeth healthy is essential to maintaining their overall wellness. It is just as important to care for your pet’s teeth as it is your own teeth. I mean, you wouldn’t go days without brushing your teeth, would you?

 

Luckily, your local pet store offers a wide variety of dental hygiene solutions to keep your dog’s teeth looking clean and breath smelling fresh. You can choose from dental treats, dental sprays, dental wipes, and good old toothbrushes with flavored toothpastes or dental rinses.

While canine dental hygiene is often overlooked, keeping your dog’s teeth healthy is something that you should be focusing on all year long. Believe it or not, oral health is the leading health problem for dogs and can stem as early as age three.

A dental routine also enables you to monitor your pup’s health. Yellow teeth and bad breath can be a sign of a more serious disease, like gum disease, which can create serious health issues for your dog, affecting their kidneys, liver and heart. As alarming as that sounds, it is easily preventable! Remember, you can always visit your local vet to check your dog’s teeth and get advice on caring for their oral health.

Your pup deserves pearly whites! If we can make it a routine to brush our own teeth, then we can make it a routine to care for our pet’s teeth. After all, we all know that our furry children are an important part of our family.

 

Please follow us on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and Snapchat (username: wagsandwalks). Also, don’t forget to sign up for our e-mail newsletter, and check our website for available dogs. Who doesn’t love cute animal pupdates?


XO,

Team Wags

Tom Brady, Football, and Fluffy

This Sunday marks Super Bowl LI, which means we have a lot to look forward to – an exciting matchup between the New England Patriots and Atlanta Falcons, a halftime performance by Lady Gaga, the most anticipated commercials of the year, and the 13th annual Puppy Bowl (which is our favorite part of the day).  

 

This Super Bowl game is special to us because Tom Brady, The Patriots’ star player and quarterback, adopted a rescue pup from Wags and Walks last year. That’s right – he’s not just talented and handsome – he’s also an animal lover.

The black and white pooch, who Tom and Gisele appropriately named Fluffy, marks the third rescue dog for the couple. Fluffy didn’t waste any time bonding with her new furry siblings - a pit bull mix, Lua, and a beagle, Scooby.

After they took home their newest family member, Gisele shared an adorable picture of Fluffy on Instagram, writing “Thank you @wagsandwalks for all you do and for letting us rescue this little angel. The kids are over the moon with our new family member. Fluffy is pure joy!”

We can say without a doubt that both Fluffy and her pawrents hit the jackpot! Gisele and Tom, along with their three children, are the perfect match for Fluffy, and she’s the perfect addition to their family.

 

We are beyond thrilled to have found such a wonderful home for one of our pups. We know that Fluffy, Lua and Scooby will be cheering on their dad this Sunday, but regardless of who takes home the Super Bowl ring, Tom gets to go home to Fluffy. In rescue, everybody wins.

fluffy wags and walks.jpg

Please follow us on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and Snapchat (username: wagsandwalks). Also, don’t forget to sign up for our e-mail newsletter, and check our website for available dogs. Who doesn’t love cute animal pupdates?

 

XO,

Team Wags

Foster Friday - Alexis Paine

What would we do without our volunteer foster parents? They are absolutely essential to our mission, and both the humans and the pups at Wags and Walks are eternally grateful for their generosity and love. For this Foster Friday post, we are featuring our amazing foster, Alexis Paine. So, without further ado, meet Alexis:

About me: I grew up in Maine, always with a huge love & respect for animals that I learned from my Mom. Probably the biggest focus in my life is animals & striving for a happier future for them!! And, I love collecting old pieces of furniture that need some love and bringing them back to life.

Got me started: What got me started fostering was definitely my own dogs. We have two pit bulls, and before getting them, I was never aware of the bad rep they had. Never in my life had I ever stopped to think that because a dog was a certain breed, that meant it was a bad dog.  So they really inspired me to want to help the others. Seeing how many dogs are in shelters or just in awful situations really broke my heart and I just wanted to help.

A featured photo of Alexis' boyfriend Adrian :) 

A featured photo of Alexis' boyfriend Adrian :) 

How many foster dogs: We have fostered 4 dogs so far for Wags. I have to say that my favorites were the brothers, Scooter & James Brown. They were our first, and I loved watching them come out of their shells and get adopted into the best homes. They have a special place in my heart.

Biggest challenge: I think the biggest challenge is definitely letting them go. You get so used to having them in your home and they become a part of your family! But seeing them with a great family is so rewarding.

Most rewarding part of it all: Fostering has brought only more love and meaning into my life. Knowing that you can help and do everything for these little guys is really an amazing feeling. I would always feel so helpless when I would see posts about dogs who were about to be killed in the shelters, and I still do, but I always remind myself that we do everything we can to help. You can’t save every animal, which is really a tough reality, but who we do save, is everything and more.

Foster Friday- Alexis Paine

Biggest surprise: My biggest surprise as a foster parent is how quickly our foster [dogs] feel like a part of our family. You never know the dog’s background and what it’s been through, but they are always the most loving regardless of their past. I remember our first fosters, James Brown & Scooter, took a few days to open up but after that it was like they had forgotten about everything they had ever been through. That’s one of the most amazing things about animals, they are so loving, forgiving and loyal.

Advice for someone considering fostering: My only advice for someone who is interested in becoming a foster is DO IT! Seriously. It is always the most rewarding experience. You are literally saving dogs and creating memories that last forever. If it wasn’t for the fosters, the dogs would have nowhere to go, and they couldn’t get pulled from the shelter. And the number of dogs that get killed daily in shelters is enough for me. So think about that. It can be tough and emotional, but I think we should be very very thankful that we are able to feel those feelings. Imagine how all the pups feel. <3

Wags and Walks Foster Friday- Alexis Paine

Thank you so much, Alexis. Your words are so thoughtful and inspiring. Alexis and all of our extraordinary fosters are an integral part of this ever growing Wags and Walks family we love so much. We are eternally grateful for you and the time you spend making a difference in these precious dogs’ lives.

 

You can join Wags and Walks' foster program too and please remember to share this post with your friends and family. As Alexis said so well - becoming a foster could not only save the life of a dog in need, but also add unbelievable meaning to your life too.

 

If you’re looking to adopt, you can find all of our dogs that are available for adoption on our website. And be sure to follow Wags and Walks on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Snapchat (username: wagsandwalks. Because, really, who doesn’t love seeing photos of adorable dogs with big smiles and even bigger hearts?

 

XO,
Team Wags

Saving South Korea

Earlier this month, we read about Humane Society International’s inspiring rescue of 200 dogs from a South Korean dog meat farm. We sleep better knowing that 200 dogs, that were once destined for the dinner table, now have a second chance at life. We applaud HSI for their worldwide campaign to end the practice of raising dogs for human consumption in South Korea.

 

This is a cause that is close to our heart. In July 2016, Wags and Walks implemented our own rescue mission, saving six innocent dogs from a Korean Dog Meat Factory.


While Wags and Walks is committed to accomplishing a No-Kill Los Angeles, we also feel compelled to step up in times of crisis beyond Los Angeles. Seeing the abuse and slaughtering of dogs in South Korea, we knew we had to get involved. Wags and Walks partnered with Nami Kim, an animal rights activist who has dedicated her life to fighting the dog meat trade, to rescue six sweet puppies – who we named Jody, Heidi, Bell, Duke, Cherry and Tora.

 

While this may seem like a small victory in a vast, global problem, we know that each and every dog’s life is worthwhile. If we can change the world for one dog, then we’ve succeeded in making a difference.

 

Dogs that are raised in a South Korean meat farm know nothing beyond the filthy, cramped cages they call home and the abuse they endure on a daily basis. For our six puppies, we were able to open the door to a new chapter and show them what it means to be loved. After taking them to the vet for proper care and treatment, bringing in dog trainers to help them adjust to their new life, and placing them in foster homes where they began their journey to recovery, we eventually found each puppy the perfect forever home to grow and thrive. Now, they have the life they deserve, and their time spent in South Korea is a distant memory of the past.

 

Thank you to our supporters, donors, fosters and volunteers who enable us to give dogs a second chance at life – in Los Angeles and beyond.

 

Please follow us on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and Snapchat (username: wagsandwalks). Also, don’t forget to sign up for our e-mail newsletter, and check our website for available dogs. Who doesn’t love cute animal updates?

XO,

Team Wags

Wagging Tails Wednesday - Penny

We are excited to share our newest pupdate! This week we’re featuring the lovable Penny (formerly Matea), who just recently celebrated her first birthday. This special pup's mom wrote a song dedicated to Penny that truly shows how much rescuing a dog can change your life. 

She also created a video to accompany the song and we can't wait to share it with you...Check it out below and share with your fellow dog lovers!

Penny Lover

There are people who love their dogs, and then there are people who write songs for their dogs! Here is "Penny Lover," dedicated to Valerie's playful pup Penelope. Penny was rescued from Wags and Walks and she's celebrating her first birthday today. Happy Birthday Penny!

Posted by Layla Lane on Friday, September 16, 2016

I hope that you will continue to read our blog and follow us on social media to get updates on our new adoptables and amazing success stories.

Please follow us on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and Snapchat (username: wagsandwalks). Also, don’t forget to sign up for our e-mail newsletter, and check our website for available dogs. Who doesn’t love cute animal updates?

XO,

Ashley

 

 

Foster Friday – Stan Kats

Today we want to introduce you to one of our phenomenal fosters, who is an integral part of the Wags and Walks family. Stan has fostered a total of nine dogs thus far and plans to foster even more. Without him, we could not save the amount of dogs that we do and we are so excited to share his story with you! Take it away, Stan…

“About: I live near West Hollywood with my Wife, Jean, and two (very spoiled) rescue dogs Reese & Kobe.  I have a local Computer Service company, Stan’s Tech Garage, which allows me the pleasure of bringing those two hooligans to work with me.  I figured one more couldn’t hurt.

Got me started: I’ve always loved dogs and feel they’ve given me so much.  My wife and I always toyed around with getting a 3rd, but held off in case there was a real dog in need at some point.  Then I heard about various pet cafés sprouting up, and I thought, why not a Pet Tech Shop?  So I sought out to find a rescue that’d be with that plan, and one of my customers connected me with Wags, and the rest, as they say, is history.

How Many: I believe it’s currently at #9, and I love all my foster babies the same!  Whichever is right in front of me is my favorite!

Biggest Challenge:  Besides saying goodbye?  Probably knowing what these poor babies have gone through, and I don’t even see the worst of it.  I don’t have the intestinal fortitude to set foot in a shelter, so I’m in awe of the folks who can do it and not just want to take them all home.

How has it affected you: It’s been a very positive experience.  These dogs did nothing other than wind up in a bad situation beyond their control.  They can’t speak or stand up for themselves.  Fostering is how I can help.  I know it’s not much, but it’s my small part in this process.  These babies deserve a chance.  I’m happy being able to help give it to them.

Biggest Surprise: The amount of people willing to dedicate their time and effort to this cause.  Sometime rescue events have more volunteers than dogs!  Especially by the end.

Advice: DO IT!  It’s not a major commitment, and if you love dogs and want to help, why not give it a shot?  Every good dog deserves a good home and every good home deserves a good dog.  The biggest thing you have to fear is a #FosterFail.”

Thank you so much! Team Wags is eternally grateful for all that you do for everyone around you. You can find Stan, his dogs, and his foster doggies at Stan's Tech Garage; http://www.stansgarage.com

If you're interested in becoming a foster, fill out an application here.  Make sure to share this post with your friends on social media, so that we can spread the word about how life-changing fostering is! It not only saves dogs lives, but it will change yours too.

Please follow us on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and Snapchat (username: wagsandwalks).  Also, don’t forget to sign up for our e-mail newsletter, and check our website for available dogs. Who doesn’t love cute animal updates?

XO,

Ashley

Team Wags

 

Riverside Ten

Help the Riverside Pit Bulls

Today on the blog, we have a serious issue to discuss and are hoping that by bringing light to this crime, more dogs will be saved. Approximately 25 neglected and 11 dead pit bulls were found at a Riverside County home. Dozens of these dogs were so malnourished, that they had to be carried off of the property.

Despite what these pitties have been through, they are incredibly sweet to both humans and dogs alike. Wags and Walks were able to save ten of these angels, however, with your help – we are hoping to aide in the rescue of many more! 

These pups still have a long way to recovery and we will be with them every step of the way. To help - interested readers can foster, adopt, donate to their recovery, or simply share this blog and spread the message. 

Thank you to our incredible fosters, volunteers, transporters, donors, and the staff at the San Jacinto Animal Campus for helping us along the way. If you are interested in volunteering, fostering, or adopting – please don’t hesitate to contact us at wagsandwalks.org … we could not continue to save these dogs without all of you wonderful readers.

I hope that you will continue to read our blog and follow us on social media to get updates on our new adoptables and amazing success stories.

Please follow us on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and Snapchat (username: wagsandwalks). Also, don’t forget to sign up for our e-mail newsletter, and check our website for available dogs. Who doesn’t love cute animal updates?

https://www.gofundme.com/pitlove

XO,

Ashley

Team Wags

Wagging Tails Wednesday – George

Wagging Tails Wednesday – George

August 31st, 2016

We are thrilled to share our newest pupdate! This week we’re featuring the angelic George (formerly known as Denver). This lucky pup has made himself right at home within his forever family. George will be turning nine months old soon and is already getting so big, as shown by these phenomenal photographs! 

George loves to play fetch and tug of war with his toys. This little pup is also extremely intelligent and has already mastered some tricks. His family is moving to Torrance and can’t wait for him to have a backyard to play in.

We wish George and his family a happy life and lots of memories in their new home!  

I hope that you will continue to read our blog and follow us on social media to get updates on our new adoptables and amazing success stories.

Please follow us on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and Snapchat (username: wagsandwalks). Also, don’t forget to sign up for our e-mail newsletter, and check our website for available dogs. Who doesn’t love cute animal updates?

XO,

Ashley

Team Wags

 

Celebrating the 5 Year Anniversary of Wags & Walks with a letter from our founder:

Take it away, Lesley…

“Some would say it is no surprise that my life revolves around saving dogs. After all, I grew up with a vet as a dad and was never without one from the day I was born. It wasn’t until Dunkin, my little white piglet Pit Bull puppy, came into my life that things would drastically change. I went from having a carefree single girl life in NYC to an overprotective mom of Dunkin who was happier being active and spending time with my dog than with some humans! I sadly learned after spending so much time with Dunkin that people despised my dog solely based on his look and/or breed. As a woman who has always wanted to make the world right, my passion began for the rights of Pit Bulls and ridding them of the horrible, unfair stereotypes. I would bring Dunkin around children and dog parks, anywhere I could show off that his favorite pastime was licking everyone he met and the only dangerous thing about him was getting hit by his happy wagging tail. I was working as a pharmaceutical sales representative, which was a flexible and great paying position.  However, when I decided to move to California and Dunkin was 5 years old, I started volunteering for rescue organizations that led me into LA city and county shelters. I was completely blown away to learn that many of these dogs I was passing with smiling faces and wagging tails in their hard concrete cages would be killed in days due to lack of space. Of course my favorites (the pits) were more than half of these dogs and despite age, temperament and health, were the first to go. That being said, the overcrowding problem was leading to every breed of every age being killed for space. Pure bred (25% of dogs in shelters), litters of puppies, golden retrievers…you name it. The more I learned that there was a serious crisis for these helpless, devoted, loving, forgiving dogs, I could no longer sit idly by.

Dunkin snuggled up and ready to continue reading this blog (smart pup)!

After 10 years of working the corporate world, I would head to my first “rescue trip” of my own. It was on Facebook where I learned there was a giant tan mastiff named Hooch about to be killed at the Downey shelter. The thread went on for miles and each person either said “someone save him” or “prayers”. I knew I had to be the one that actually took action to help this sweet boy and what a perfect sweet boy he was. He frolicked in the play yard at the shelter and even knew tricks like roll over and give paw. Through the Facebook story a wonderful man named Rick who was a truck driver fell madly in love with Hooch and his story. He drove from far and wide to meet Hooch and Hooch hopped into his truck as if he had belonged there all along. That experience brought me so much joy and fulfillment that it was that day in August 2011 that I began filling out the papers for my 501 C3 and putting up my very own Facebook page called Wags and Walks. At that stage everything ran out of my garage and backyard (much to my family’s dismay). From August through January I had saved 20 dogs with 2 volunteers and placed them in their loving forever homes. In this time I learned how to fundraise and realized how expensive this passion project of mine was going to be.

Hooch with Lesley after first being rescued! 

Hooch happily in his new ride and off to his forever home

I remember saving a dog and going to the pet store to buy them one collar, one leash, and one name tag. One day in early 2012 it dawned on me that I better start looking into bulk ordering if I was going to continue! From that moment on I have met some of the most kind-hearted, generous, amazing, special, unique, selfless people I have ever met in my life. People willing to volunteer their time on their days off to help with everything from transporting a dog(s) from shelters to vets, assisting with fostering, donating food, collars, leashes, helping fund vet bills, sharing and networking our dogs up for adoption, partnering to help bring awareness to their great business while promoting our amazing dogs for adoption from the shelter. As the number of our dog loving community grew, so did the number of dogs we could save. In fact, we saved 650 dogs in need in 2015 and have hundreds of amazing volunteers. We even have our own office and a staff to handle the abundance of applications, inquiries, shelter trips, vet visits, administration work, foster coordination, adoption event coordination, fundraising, partnerships etc.  

Some of our wonderful and quickly growing team of volunteers

People always ask how we manage to grow so quickly and save as many dogs as we do. I don’t believe there is one answer, but what I do know is that we have our eye focused on the goal; no dog should have to suffer due to lack of education & empathy. We are growing a consciousness through our undeniable passion that we display on our social media channels, partnerships with both dog related and non-dog related businesses and organizations, and we support each other like a family. We have great respect for others who are doing this hard work and understand there is not a right or wrong way to do this.  We love dogs and we want to see them safe. We also love people and the joy that these dogs bring to our lives from our volunteers to their forever homes. That’s why in 2016 we decided our new tagline would be “Bringing Happiness Home” because by the look on everyone’s faces - dogs and humans alike - it is obvious…we are making a difference and are not intending on slowing down any time soon.”

I hope that you will continue to read our blog and follow us on social media to get updates on our new adoptables and amazing success stories. Please follow us on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and Snapchat (username: wagsandwalks). Also, don’t forget to sign up for our e-mail newsletter, and check our website for available dogs. Who doesn’t love cute animal updates?

Foster Friday – Lynn Gilmartin

Foster Friday – Lynn Gilmartin  

August 12th, 2016

Today we want to introduce you to one of our selfless fosters, who is an integral part of the Wags and Walks family. Lynn is a huge animal lover, having fostered two dogs for us thus far and volunteering at various events. We are extremely grateful for you and truly honored to share your story with our readers. Take it away, Lynn…

“I’m Australian and moved to Los Angeles three years ago when I started working as the anchor of the World Poker Tour on Fox Sports. I’ve been following the poker circuit around the globe for about eight years, which has been priceless. I think I’m slightly addicted to traveling!   

I’ve always had such a deep love for all animals. So much so, that I decided to stop eating them four years ago, which has been the greatest decision I’ve ever made for my wellbeing. I’m passionate about animal welfare, supporting causes such as Oscar’s Law to spread the message of adopting and not shopping, and to hopefully close all puppy factories throughout Australia; Animals Australia who are shining a much-needed light on Australia’s ugly factory farming and live exports industries; Edgar’s Mission, a beautiful sanctuary for all kinds of rescued animals who do amazing work in spreading the message, “If we could live happy and healthy lives without harming others, why wouldn’t we?”, and I’m a global ambassador for Wildlife Warriors, Steve Irwin's family’s foundation which supports the Australia Zoo Wildlife Hospital and countless other wildlife conservation projects around the world. And now, I’m a proud foster momma with Wags & Walks here in Los Angeles.

With all the traveling that I do, it hasn’t been possible to adopt a dog of my own. I've been yearning for a dog’s energy in my home though, so this is the perfect solution. They’re helping me with their love and cuddles, and I’m helping them by giving them a safe place to stay. Win/Win :)               

While taking care of two fosters at once, I had a slight insight into what life would be like as a single mom with a newborn and a toddler... Karmen had been spayed and was recovering at my place (she's in recovery mode in the picture above)! That night Choco needed to pee, but Karmen had finally fallen asleep. She was on the couch and there was no way I was going to move her and wake her up! But I was so scared she would jump off the couch and hurt herself if she saw us walk out the door. After fretting over this issue and failing to convince Choco to break his well-trained house rules and pee inside, I thought of a solution... I called myself on FaceTime and answered from my computer. I was able to turn the computer to look at her and then run out to the street with Choco while supervising Karmen at the same time through my iPhone! Success! She didn’t move and Choco peed in lightening speed. What a relief that was! 

Fostering has affected me in a very positive manner. I live alone most of the time, so having the company at home is really special. The dogs have helped me get into a healthy routine. Waking up early and going straight outside for a walk is such a refreshing way to start the day. 

I thought the hardest part (of fostering) would be getting too attached and being distraught when parting ways. I really surprised myself when Karmen got adopted. We had been through quite an emotional week together and I had fallen so madly in love with her, so I was really sad and anxious the morning I had to take her to meet her new parents. I had met them briefly a few days prior at an adoption fair, so I knew they were lovely people, but I still felt really sad. However, as soon as we met them again, my fear turned into such joy for her. They are a beautiful couple with so much love to give.  So I was truly happy to let Karmen go, and that really surprised me. I mean come on, look at her in her proud papa’s arms!

On advice to give to future fosters; DO IT! Please! In exchange of such a simple act, like letting a friend crash on your couch for a week, you're saving lives. Wags & Walks offer loads of support, and when I’m out of town, they effortlessly find another foster to take care of Choco while I’m gone. I love the community that I’m now a part of on Facebook too, where fellow fosters share pictures and stories and ask questions. If you’re home for a decent amount of the day and you can have dogs in your home, then please, I beg you, help let a little mate stay over for a few days and save them from the shelters where they are filled with fear and confusion and at risk of being put down.”

Thank you so much! Team Wags is eternally grateful for all that you do for everyone around you. If you're interested in becoming a foster, fill out an application here. Make sure to share this post with your friends on social media, so that we can spread the word about how life-changing fostering is! It not only saves dogs lives, but it will change yours too.

Please follow us on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and Snapchat (username: wagsandwalks).  Also, don’t forget to sign up for our e-mail newsletter, and check our website for available dogs. Who doesn’t love cute animal updates?

XO,

Ashley

Team Wags

 

 

Wagging Tails Wednesday – Gus

Wagging Tails Wednesday – Gus

August 3rd, 2016

We are thrilled to share our newest pupdate! This week we’re featuring the handsome Gus (formerly known as Gizmo). Tess notes that Gus is doing wonderfully and they couldn’t have asked for a better pup to join their family.

Gus enjoys waking up and snuggling with mom and dad for at least an hour in the morning before he goes outside and has his breakfast. Typically in the afternoon he meets up with his best friend, Chewch, who is also another rescue. They will typically wrestle for about 20 minutes before going off to find new smells and maybe a squirrel. 

He is a high-energy pup and extremely intelligent. Already he can, sit, stay, lie down, roll over, play dead, crawl, high five, dance, and walk. Tess and her fiancé just recently got engaged and little Gus was the one to bring her the ring. Happy life to this adorable bunch!

I hope that you will continue to read our blog and follow us on social media to get updates on our new adoptables and amazing success stories.

Please follow us on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and Snapchat (username: wagsandwalks). Also, don’t forget to sign up for our e-mail newsletter, and check our website for available dogs. Who doesn’t love cute animal updates?

XO,

Ashley

Team Wags

 

 

Foster Friday – Aliza Grossman

Foster Friday – Aliza Grossman

 July 22nd, 2016

Today we want to introduce you to one of our selfless fosters, who is an integral part of the Wags and Walks family. Aliza is a huge dog lover, having fostered three dogs for us thus far and volunteering at various events. We are extremely grateful for you and truly honored to share your story with our readers. Take it away, Aliza…

“I grew up in San Diego and I've lived in LA for about three years now. I just graduated from law school and am preparing to take the bar exam at the end of July.

I've always loved animals and wanted a dog but growing up my dad was allergic to dogs so we were stuck with cats and fish! I have always seen a dog in my future but with the uncertainty of school and career I knew it wasn't responsible on a financial or stability level to get a dog of my own. I started looking into fostering my second year of law school and it's been a great way to "have a dog" without the lifetime commitment. 

To date I've full time fostered three dogs but have been happy to help with weekend or short term fostering when my class schedule didn't allow for full time fostering. Hercules was by far my favorite foster, I had him for five months and he was an absolute dream. He'll always have a place in my heart and I still have his picture up on my wall! 

The biggest challenge fostering so far has been Bambi's stubbornness. With such a strong willed dog, I have to be on top of my training game every minute otherwise she'll walk all over me. I will say that being faced with this particular challenge has allowed me to learn from the best and my handling skills have improved exponentially!

Fostering has given me such a great outlet throughout law school. It feels really good to put your extra time and energy into giving back to the community and saving lives. It's also taught me a lot about what traits to look for when I am ready for my forever dog.  

The most unexpected part of fostering has to be the community of wonderful people I stumbled upon when I became part of the Wags and Walks community. In addition to the amazing support they give to their fosters and volunteers, they are a wonderful group of people that I'm happy to call friends. 

As for super practical advice for new fosters- don't be afraid to reach out and ask for support or resources when you need them, there's a huge network all over LA here to help you! But the question I get asked most often about fostering is how I possibly let them go once they find their forever families. My answer is always the same- the reason I foster instead of getting my own dog is my inability to make a life long commitment right now. I think knowing going into that it's a temporary situation makes it easier. From day one you know there's a family out there who can and will make that lifelong commitment to them and you let them go because that's more than you can give and that's what they deserve.”

Thank you so much! Team Wags is eternally grateful for all that you do for everyone around you. If you're interested in becoming a foster, fill out an application here. Make sure to share this post with your friends on social media, so that we can spread the word about how life-changing fostering is! It not only saves dogs lives, but it will change yours too.

Please follow us on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and Snapchat (username: wagsandwalks).  Also, don’t forget to sign up for our e-mail newsletter, and check our website for available dogs. Who doesn’t love cute animal updates?

XO,

Ashley

Team Wags

Wagging Tails Wednesday – Penny

Wagging Tails Wednesday – Penny

July 20th, 2016

We are excited to share our newest pupdate! This week we’re featuring the lovable Penny. Brittany, Penny’s new owner, states that Penny is a perfect addition to the family. Penny loves to run around in the yard and enjoys going on long walks in the neighborhood with her family. 

Penny has a vey sweet demeanor and gets along well with other dogs and people. She has joined the family on many adventures, including a recent trip to Mammoth where she first encountered snow.

We wish Penny and her family continued happiness and lots of puppy cuddles!

I hope that you will continue to read our blog and follow us on social media to get updates on our new adoptables and amazing success stories.

Please follow us on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and Snapchat (username: wagsandwalks). Also, don’t forget to sign up for our e-mail newsletter, and check our website for available dogs. Who doesn’t love cute animal updates?

XO,

Ashley

Team Wags

 

 

 

Wagging Tails Wednesday – Pizza

Wagging Tails Wednesday – Pizza

July 13th, 2016

We are thrilled to share our newest pupdate! This week we’re featuring the perfect pitt, Pizza. Kate and her family know that every dog parent thinks their baby is a unique snowflake, but Pizza really is special and they would say that objectively Pizza is the best dog that has or will ever walk the planet. (That’s a lot of love for Pizza who they state is the best thing to happen to them EVER)!

Kate notes that she has never met a dog with so much personality and who is so driven by pure love.  Their last year has been filled with a lot of cuddles, long hikes, games of chase, learning tricks, being gushed over by strangers, and more cuddles.

Pizza’s family will forever be grateful to Wags and Walks for bringing this wonderful pup into their lives. 

I hope that you will continue to read our blog and follow us on social media to get updates on our new adoptables and amazing success stories.

Please follow us on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and Snapchat (username: wagsandwalks). Also, don’t forget to sign up for our e-mail newsletter, and check our website for available dogs. Who doesn’t love cute animal updates?

XO,

Ashley

Team Wags

A Letter from our Founder

Everyone always asks me as the founder of Wags and Walks, what makes us different and special. What I have noticed over the last 5 years is when we save a wonderful dog from the shelter both the dog and us are happy. It feels so good to get a dog to safety for us and for them. Then we noticed their fosters were happy to be a part of their lifesaving transition from abandoned and in danger to becoming ready for their forever home. The last step of course is when our dogs get adopted and we are so happy that our dogs are saved and loved, as they should be.

As much as we knew people who adopted a Wags and Walks dog would find joy with their new companion, we had no idea the way in which each and every life is touched. From the happy photos on our alumni Facebook page (of our dogs that were about to die) swimming in Lake Tahoe, hiking in mammoth, or going everywhere with their new family. We especially love email updates of how our hundreds and hundreds of our adopters have found so much happiness with their Wags and Walks dogs. 

We even love the photos of the dogs sleeping in their cozy beds and couches where we believe they belong. Our team of volunteers and staff are constantly encouraged and inspired by how happy our dogs and our adoptive families are. It felt like it only made sense to choose the tag line “Bringing Happiness Home” for Wags and Walks because although we see too many sad stories, our mission is to inspire with the success stories daily of what a community can accomplish together when they truly love dogs.

Our fast track of saving and placing 650 dogs a year proves that this is working. Thank you for helping us bring happiness home each and everyday. Please follow us on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and Snapchat (@wagsandwalks).  Also, don’t forget to signup for our e-mail newsletter, and check our website for available dogs.

Lesley

 

Wagging Tails Wednesday – Mick

 

Wagging Tails Wednesday – Mick

July 6th, 2016

We are thrilled to share our newest pupdate! This week we’re featuring the living ball of lovable fluff, Mick. This gentleman is thriving in his new home and has already formed a bond with his dog sister. 

Mick is such a sweet and loving little guy. His forever mom, Melanie notes that she has never in her life had such an immediate, strong, and loving attraction to any dog (and she’s had a lot of pups in her life)! 

Melanie and the rest of her family cannot thank Wags enough for giving their family many years of dog love and joy. I hope that you will continue to read our blog and follow us on social media to get updates on our new adoptables and amazing success stories.

Please follow us on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and Snapchat (username: wagsandwalks). Also, don’t forget to sign up for our e-mail newsletter, and check our website for available dogs. Who doesn’t love cute animal updates?

XO,

Ashley

Team Wags

How to Keep your Dog Safe on The 4th of July

Incorporating your pup into your 4th of July festivities may seem like a good idea at the time, but we’re here to tell you to resist the urge and to promote a dog-safe 4th of July. Fifty percent of dogs and cats suffer from firework stress. This is due to the fact that pet’s hearing is ten times more sensitive than humans.

Statistically, more dogs are reported missing on the 4th than any other night of the year. With that being said, below are seven tips to ensure a safe holiday for both you and your pup.

1. Double check to ensure your dogs are wearing their ID tags and a properly fitting collar in case of an escape.

2. Take your dog on a long walk or run prior to the start of fireworks to ensure that extra energy is burned off.

3. Keep your dogs inside and stay home with them to provide a sense of comfort and safety.

4. Keep all doors and windows shut to prevent escape attempts.

5. Provide your dog with a safe and quiet spot to relieve firework-induced anxiety.

6. Always keep fireworks far away from your dog. Do NOT set off fireworks anywhere near or around your pets.

7. Distract your dog with a favorite toy or treat in order to prevent firework anxiety.

We hope you find these tips helpful and that you enjoy a happy and safe holiday with your pups! 

Please follow us on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and Snapchat (username: wagsandwalks).  Also, don’t forget to sign up for our e-mail newsletter, and check our website for available dogs. Who doesn’t love cute animal updates?

XO,

Ashley

Team Wags