Foster Friday: Courtney Rohde

This week’s Foster Friday is an extra special one. Today we are chatting with Courtney Rohde, an all-around dedicated volunteer at Wags and Walks and a 15-time foster parent! Courtney is an unbelievable contributor to the Wags and Walks mission in so many ways, and her generosity is never ending.

Courtney’s journey into fostering really exemplifies how unique of an experience it is. Every time we interview another one of our fosters we learn something new, and we hope that Courtney’s story teaches you something new about the highs, lows, and above all, beauty of fostering!

Without further ado, meet our Foster Friday spotlight, Courtney Rhode.

Tell us a little bit about yourself:

I am originally from Illinois, went to school at The University of Iowa, lived abroad sometime in there, and ended up in Los Angeles! I currently work as a Marketing Specialist for a durable medical equipment company but spend my free time volunteering with Wags and Walks, visiting the beach, traveling, and cooking.

What got you started fostering for Wags and Walks?

I grew up with numerous dogs throughout my childhood of all sizes and breeds. Animals were always part of my life, but through college and my early adulthood, it was hard to have pets. When I moved to Los Angeles, I knew I wanted a dog but was traveling a ton for work and couldn’t commit long-term. I decided that I would start fostering for a few weeks at a time in between trips. I’ve been fostering for about a year and it has fueled a passion for a rescue.

To date, how many dogs have you fostered for Wags? Do you have a favorite? (Don't worry, we won't tell the others!)

Since April 2016, we have had 15 fosters. I might be biased, but my favorite would have to be my foster fail, Pippen. She came to us as an anxious pup terrified of men, yet we had an instant bond. She fit seamlessly into my life and I knew it would be impossible to say goodbye so we adopted her a few days later. She ended up being my perfect match. Other than Pippen, we have fostered many incredible dogs. It’s hard to pick just one. My first foster, Marnie, will always hold a special place in my heart, and I’ve been able to watch her grow up which is fun!

What has been your biggest challenge fostering?

While we love having puppies around, they are tough! I can’t leave the house as regularly, never get enough sleep at night and am constantly cleaning up, but it’s worth it. When you invest so much time in these dogs, it’s hard to say goodbye. The reassuring part is knowing they are going to the perfect family. Receiving text and picture updates always makes it easier to let them go.

How has fostering affected you?

Fostering is incredibly rewarding and has changed my life in so many ways. I have become more passionate about rescues because I see the direct impact that it has on the dogs’ lives. It’s hard to put it into words how much happiness it will bring you until you foster. Throughout my time fostering and adopting Pippen, I found myself wanting to invest more into Wags and Walks. I have found a passion through volunteering so that more pups have a chance at finding forever families.

What has been your biggest surprise as a foster parent?

I’m shocked I haven’t wanted to adopt all of my fosters! While each of them is incredibly special and unique, I know my lifestyle isn’t perfect for all of them. I’m now more confident that each dog has the perfect home out there.

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

If you’ve been thinking about it, do it. You won’t know how it will change and affect you until you take the opportunity to welcome a foster into your family. Yes, it will be challenging and frustrating at times, but it is one of the most special things you can do.

Thank you for sharing, Courtney! As Courtney said, if you have been thinking about fostering, don’t be afraid to try it out! Fostering is crucial to helping save dogs who otherwise may not have the chance to find a forever home, but we often forget how big of a positive impact these rescue dogs have on their foster parents’ lives too.

Many people, like Courtney, start fostering because they would like to adopt their own pup one day, but are not ready yet, for whatever reason. And there are definitely those foster stories that end like Courtney and Pippen! The foster experience is so diverse and unique ,that it is truly hard to capture in just words - or pictures.

We are eternally grateful to all of our foster parents who have dedicated their time and love to caring for and helping our rescue dogs find forever homes. If you are interested, you can learn more about fostering or apply to foster directly online on through our foster page.

We hope you enjoyed Courtney’s story! To stay updated on what’s new at Wags and Walks, please follow us on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter. Also, don’t forget to sign up for our e-mail newsletter. Who doesn’t love cute animal pupdates?

XO,
Team Wags

The Volunteers Behind Wags & Walks

This week is National Volunteer week, and Wags and Walks wouldn’t be the same without all of our volunteers. They are what help us save more dogs, take care of the ones we rescue, and help them get adopted. These are just a few of the ways we would be lost without our volunteers, and believe us, those examples only scratch the surface. Don’t take our word for it though, see what the Wags and Walks team has to say about just a few volunteers and fosters:

Christian Shenouda

If you’ve seen any of the amazing photos of our dogs, then you know why Christian is one of our most valuable volunteers. Through his great energy and amazing photography skills, he has helped so many Wags & Walks dogs find their forever homes. A picture is worth a thousand words and Christian's pictures definitely speak to adopters. They capture the heart and soul of our dogs.  Thank you, Christian, for your passion and vision.

Karen Benko

Our mission is to find the perfect home for our dogs. No one is more passionate or experienced at ensuring Wags & Walks dogs find the best adoptive homes than Karen. Karen does not stop at her interview with potential adopters. She goes above and beyond to ensure each adoptive family feels prepared to take their new dog home. From collars, harnesses, crating and even home insurance, Karen answers every question and then some. We are so grateful to Karen for her hard work and dedication.  

Erica Gatley

Erica Gately holds an extra special place in our hearts -- she is our very first volunteer! Since 2012, Erica has been a major part of our efforts to save and adopt Wags & Walks dogs. When she's not working and traveling for her “real job”, she can be found caring for her own three Wags & Walks dogs, fostering at least one at any time, leading our weekend adoption events, helping with meet and greets, and helping keep our website updated. She first came to Wags & Walks to foster an American bulldog and found herself as one of the biggest parts of our volunteer team. She is loyal, kind, dedicated, and of course is so passionate about our mission to save as many dogs in need as we can. Thank you for being the one who helped get our mission off the ground.

Kadie Bogart

We met Kadie Bogart at an event she attended to recruit more fosters for Wags & Walks. The day after July 4th, she saw a pitbull was being dumped at the shelter. The dog’s eyes were nearly swollen shut -- likely due to being near fireworks. Without hesitation, Kadie took "Pearl" in and became infamous for her “foster fail” ever since!!!  In all sincerity, Kadie has saved hundreds of pitbulls through fostering and all have found homes except Pearl and Millie. In addition to being a stellar foster, Kadie is also a psychologist. which If anyone has been involved with a rescue, this asset has helped not only our team, but many adopters and fosters struggling with the issues that arise when caring for our dogs. Kadie has never complains, is a great listener and sounding board, and of course we so appreciate her loyalty to the Wags & Walks team. Thank you, Kadie, for being the best “foster fail” and listener-in-chief!

Kelly Vaughn

Kelly Vaughn came to Wags & Walks by adopting her beautiful dog Clyne. She was so thankful for him that she asked if she could help Wags in any way. Just like that, she became our Facebook social media lead and our amazing coordinator and facilitator of litter reunions. No matter what kind of day Kelly has, including long days at the office with a toddler and a dog to care for, Kelly amazes us with her positive attitude. She always has a smile on her face and impresses us with her hip hop Karaoke skills. We are so lucky to have Kelly on our team.

Rachel Rosenbloom

The minute Rachel Rosenbloom fell head over heels for her Wags dog Winnie, she became part of the Wags & Walks team. With her strong background in social media and marketing, Rachel took over our Twitter feed and helps out with our newsletters. We love Rachel because she is so easygoing and likeable. She's a true team player, always willing to pitch in for the love of the dogs,

Wags and of course her first love Winnie!  

Lynne Heslov

Lynne brings fun and laughter to even our hardest days at the rescue.  She is one of the most beautiful women (inside and out) and she’s  not afraid to get her hands dirty.  She is dependable, trustworthy and someone we can count on for whatever we need. From countless shelter trips and saves, doggie vet trips, intake and tlc days to mentoring fosters and donating toys and blankets to all our fur babies, Lynne is an all around, one of a kind special volunteer and friend.  Her generosity is endless and her huge heart knows no limits.  Everyone at Wags and Walks adores and loves to be around her infectious passion and lightheartedness.  Like most of us, Lynne is a foster fail to our sweet senior Ralph and could not be a better mommy or Wags & Walks alumni. Thank you for everything you do, Lynne! We are lucky to have you.

Casey Boshae

There is so much to say about Casey.  After adopting her adorable pitbull Olive from us, she has been a wonderful, consistent, reliable and strategic volunteer.  Casey is a huge advocate for pitbulls as shown in her new business the Gentle Pit, and she is always there to lend a helping hand. From supporting a fundraiser, fostering dogs, helping plan volunteer appreciation events to using her creativity to build ideas to save more dogs and even visiting our dogs at the vet, we can always count on Casey. She always has a great, can do attitude and her positivity is contagious. We owe so many lives saved to Casey… and Olive!

Eric Weiss

Eric Weiss is someone to easily love!  Eric and his wife Shannon fostered a deaf pitbull named Donut for us and from there the relationship blossomed.  Eric and Shannon always go the extra mile to help Wags & Walks. They loved Donut so much they wanted to make sure she was comfortable in her forever home so they  sent her favorite toys to her! They were so committed to Wags & Walks that Eric joined the Board of Directors as our Treasurer and Shannon helps out on the grant team.  Despite their busy lives as two working parents with one human child and one fur baby, they are always there when we need them to provide sound advice to help grow the rescue and save more dogs in need. We love you, Eric and Shannon!

Leann and Scott Gibson

Leann and Scott Gibson are the “first family” of  Wags & Walks.  After adopting their stunning pitbull Cooper during the first year of Wags & Walks’ existence, they reached out for other ways to help.  Immediately, they became an integral part of Wags & Walks’ growth.  Generous with both their time and finances, they have never failed to give or help when needed.  In fact, even their company provides matching donations and opportunities to donate to Wags when Leann and Scott donate their time to volunteer.  As a recipient of our Wag-a-tarian award, they have since become a two-time Wags & Walks alumni with their newest family member. We are so lucky to have the Gibsons as part of the Wags & Walks family.

Betsy Rosenfield

Betsy Rosenfeld has been with Wags and Walks from the very first day.  Betsy has played a very special role in the rescue wearing so many lifesaving hats!  She has given so many life saving rides to so many dogs in need as well as creating as creative a task force to catch dogs in danger on the street.  She has been generous with giving of both her time and her community outreach to assist Wags and Walks connect with more animal welfare groups and individuals. Her skill sets of coaching and writing have certainly come in handy throughout the years!  

Marian Mallari

I volunteer because it gives me a sense of purpose. And I volunteer specifically with Wags because I love animals especially dogs. The great thing with working with dogs is that they truly show how appreciative they are when you just give them a little of your time and care. Their mood changes dramatically once they feel like they can trust you and I absolutely love that feeling. Some of the Wags dogs come from rough beginnings so it feels great when you see them come out of their shell and just generally want to be around people who they can trust. I've volunteered with other rescues but I feel like Wags and Walks are more organized in terms of reaching out to their volunteers and training them. It also feels like a small community, seeing everyone at adoption events or at Wags club.

A thank you from our Chief Animal Lover, Lesley Brog:

Pitties of Wags and Walks

Did you know that our Founder, Lesley Brog, started Wags and Walks because of her love and inspiration from her beloved Pit bull? You heard that right. Lesley described her pit, Dunkin, as “soulful, fun, snuggly, gentle, loyal, a great hiker and ball catcher and just over all the best friend I have ever had.” Many people may be surprised to hear that about a pit bull, as there are many unfair stereotypes and negative attention surrounding the breed. Dunkin’s loving personality changed Lesley’s view of pits and inspired her to love pit bulls and drop the stereotypes. We hope Lesley’s story will inspire you to give one of our available pitties their forever homes!

In 2017 alone, Wags and Walks found homes for 38 pit bulls (and counting!) who are now thriving in their new homes. Here are some of the newly adopted pit bulls and their loving new families:

(L-R): Nancy Drew, Brooklyn, Denver, Stella, Juliet, Rex, Krieger, Molly

(L-R): Nancy Drew, Brooklyn, Denver, Stella, Juliet, Rex, Krieger, Molly

If you’re considering adopting a wonderful pittie, we still have some who are looking for their furever homes. Here are some amazing pups we would like you to meet.

Wags and Walks_Available_Pit Bull_Julia Roberts

Julia Roberts is a beautiful auburn girl with stage presence! This 3-year-old, 58 pound boxer/pit mix has graduated from our 5 paws training course where she excelled in her obedience training and knows all of her basic commands. We love this happy girl for her loyalty, affection and overall easy going behavior as well as her amazing nanny qualities - she just loves children (especially babies). She is just a joy to be around and we would love her to find her forever home!

Wags and Walks_Available_Pit Bull_Ava

Meet Ava, a gorgeous 4-year-old, gray and white pit bull weighing 46 pounds. She wags her tail nonstop and loves getting belly rubs. Ava is very treat driven and eager to please. This pocket pitty is the perfect size to take everywhere you go.

Wags and Walks_Available_Pit Bull_Megan

Meet the mushy and squishy Megan!  This absolutely stunning and sweet girl is only one and a half years old, but has an old soul about her.  She melts into your lap and loves everyone and everything.  Megan is clearly beautiful with a contagious smile and her adorable grey patch and little black polka dots.  Megan enjoys long walks, car rides and is nice, quiet and polite.  This sweet girl is a people pleaser and a complete love bug!  

Wags and Walks_Available_Pit Bull_Frankie

Meet Frankie, a 5-year-old lover of all treats, licker of all faces and overall sweetie. This sweet velvet hippo is so gentle when taking treats and has not met a human he doesn't love. He has such a big heart and is patiently waiting for his forever home.

Meet Tiger, the most loving and lovable 6 year old brindle pit bull mix weighing 73 pounds. He is good with everyone and everything he meets, and that is so obvious when you meet him!  Tiger is eager to please, thinks he is a lap dog and is full of affection. This gentle giant is ready to meet you!

Meet Ruby, a jolly, happy go lucky, tail wagging 3 year old pit bull that has the happiest smile and most soulful eyes!  She is in love with every person she meets, big and small. The most important thing to Ruby is her human companion and she is eager to please them more than anything else. You can be that person!

We hope that these success stories may inspire you to rethink those pit bull stereotypes or even adopt one of our available pitties! Every Wags and Walks dog undergoes a temperament evaluation to ensure we find the best fit for our dogs. This not only leads to successful adoptions, but also helps spread the word that shelter dogs are the best dogs! If you’re looking for your doggy soul mate, check out our dogs available for adoption and fill out an application.

To stay updated on what’s new at Wags and Walks, please follow us on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter. Also, don’t forget to sign up for our e-mail newsletter. Who doesn’t love cute animal pupdates?

XO,

Team Wags

 

Wags and Walks Celebrates Earth Day

Earth Day is a day to celebrate our planet and remind ourselves that we must all work together to keep it clean and healthy, today and every day. There are many ways to help the environment, from using reusable shopping bags to riding your bike to work instead of driving.

Environmental protection and sustainability should be rooted in every aspect of our lives, including how we care for our pups! To celebrate Earth Day, here are some of our favorite eco-friendly dog products that are good for the Earth and for your pups.

Wood Chuck with Recycle Ball from Planet Dog

For those of you who have a ball-obsessed pup, this is the perfect product. Made with sustainable bamboo and reused cork scraps, this ball-tossing device will keep your dog - and our planet - happy for years! It even includes the Recycle Ball with your dog’s new motto -  “reduce, reuse, rewoof”.

Wags and Walks_Earth Day_Planet Dog Earth Chuck

Pet Tent from Olive

Not only are all of Olive's products environmentally friendly, but Olive itself strives for zero waste. All orders ship in low-impact packaging, from recycled boxes to biodegradable packing peanuts. Olive also seeks out partners and vendors who share these same goals and values. This stylish pet tent is handmade from American-made waxed cotton canvas - and it’s trendy too!

Wags and Walks_Earth Day_Olive Pet Tent

Honest Clean Organic Dog Shampoo from Honest Pet Products

Honest Pet Products uses materials in their most natural form to promote sustainability and carbon footprint reduction. We love this vegan shampoo for dogs, which is made without artificial foaming agents, synthetic preservatives or dyes. The ingredients include organic coconut, olive and jojoba oils, organic lavender oil and organic aloe vera - which sounds so good, we want to use it on ourselves!

Wags and Walks_Earth Day_Honest Pet Products

Lounge Bed from Healthy Spot

This snooze-worthy bed is filled with Sustainafill™, a US-made, eco-friendly, hypo-allergenic green fiber. Healthy Spot is committed to providing pet owners with a full range of wholesome, organic food lines as well as a wide selection of safe and eco-friendly toys, treats, training tools, grooming products, and services. Even better, Healthy Spot has a partnership with Wags and Walks that includes discounts on grooming and daycare for our foster dogs and discounted rates on first time grooming and retail for recent adopters.

Wags and Walks_Earth Day_Healthy Spot Lounge Bed

Dog Treat Canister from Earth Doggy

These chic storage canisters by Harry Barker are made from powder-coated recycled steel. Earth Doggy is a great website that compiles their favorite eco-friendly dog products, dog clothes, and organic and all-natural dog food that are consistent with the philosophy that a healthy dog and a healthy planet go hand in hand.

Wags and Walks_Earth Day_Earth Doggy_Harry Barker Treat Canister

Whole Grain Dog Food from The Honest Kitchen

This minimally-processed, 100% human grade food is created from non-GMO produce and organic seeds and grains. Better yet, the company is dedicated to reducing their environmental paw print by promising green ingredients, green production, green packaging and green business.

Wags and Walks_Earth Day_The Honest Kitchen

bioDOGradable Dog Waste Bags from Amazon

Every dog owner knows that you pick up a lot of poop throughout your pup's life - it's just part of the job as a doggy parent - but did you know you can help the environment by doing so? These waste bags are made from a bioplastic compound containing cereal flour and biodegradable substances. They are compostable, GMO-free and perfect for your pooch!

Wags and Walks_Earth Day_BioDOGradable Bags

In addition to these fun and practical products, there are many other ways you can get involved in Earth Day with your pup, like taking them to the park to plant a tree or walking along the beach to pick up trash. These small efforts can help make our planet and our homes safer, cleaner and greener for us - and our pups - for years to come!

To stay updated on what’s new at Wags and Walks, please follow us on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter. Also, don’t forget to sign up for our e-mail newsletter. Who doesn’t love cute animal pupdates?

XO,

Team Wags

Behind the Scenes: A South LA Shelter Visit

If you don’t already know, April 30th is National Adopt a Shelter Pet Day. At Wags and Walks, we celebrate Adopt a Shelter Pet Day, every day. We make it our mission to give dogs a second chance on life by pulling them from shelters all around Los Angeles. While we don’t celebrate this holiday on just one single day, we did think it would be fun to give you a behind the scenes look at what goes into finding all the amazing pups that eventually become our beloved alumni. The blog team was able to join in on a Sunday visit to South LA Animal Shelter. Here is what we learned:

 

Wags and Walks South LA Shelter Visit

South LA Animal Shelter is a massive facility with around 300 dogs available for adoption, in addition to cats and other types of animals. This is only one of the many shelters around the area that we visit on a regular basis to evaluate and rescue dogs. You might be asking yourself what that exactly means. Well, our talented and trained team walks around to visit each dog, carefully study their behavior, note their reactions towards other dogs and people, and get any additional information on these dogs. If they find one that they believe could be a great fit, they will ask to take the dog out of the cage to interact with them further. This can be any size, breed, or sex of dog. The main goal is to find dogs with great demeanors and potential, regardless of breed.

wagsandwalks_dog_evaluation.jpg

We weren’t the only ones at South LA Shelter that day either. There are several organizations on-site at the shelter working for various causes:

How Do Dogs End Up at the Shelter in the First Place?

Not every dog you see at a shelter came off the street. There are in fact a variety of ways a dog can end up at a local facility, in addition to strays being brought in. Many times people will bring in their own pets and surrender them to the shelter. This can be done for a variety of reasons: not enough time for a pet, moving, lack of training, lifestyle changes, cost of ownership, biting, or even health issues. These are only a few of the many reasons that people drop off their own pets.

In 2008, Los Angeles passed an ordinance to require all dogs to be neutered by 4 months of age, with specific exemptions allowed. This was done in hopes that we can continue to decrease the number of abandoned pets each year and help reduce the overpopulation of dogs in our shelters around the city. With that said, many dogs are still euthanized due to lack of space in shelters and “interest” in those dogs. NKLA, an initiative by Best Friends Animal Society, is working to make Los Angeles a “No-Kill” city. They hope by the end of 2017, to make all of LA No-Kill and stop the euthanization of dogs simply because they don’t have a home yet; the number of pets being killed have already been decreased by 82% due to their efforts. Let’s keep it going!

What Happens After We Rescue a Dog

Once we have rescued a dog from the shelter, all dogs are seen by the shelter vet before they leave the shelter. At that appointment they receive all their vaccines and are spayed/neutered/chipped if healthy. Of course if the dog is not healthy for whatever reason we handle the vetting from there on out. After their visit to the vet, we get them into a foster home so that they can start getting much deserved TLC, while we find them the right family. Our amazing group of volunteering and fosters make all of this possible by giving up their time and opening up their homes to take care of our pups.


There are a variety of ways that you can honor National Adopt A Shelter Pet Day. One unique experience is attending our Finding Shelter Event in DTLA on Saturday, April 29th. Here are all the details you need to know:

 

About Finding Shelter Event

Join Wags & Walks for an unforgettable book signing with photographer and author Jesse Freidin! See our amazing director, Lesley Brog and her rescue dog on the cover of the book, meet the author, bid in the silent auction, meet adoptable dogs and enjoy wine and delicious vegan bites. A percentage of every book sold benefits Wags & Walks!

Make a donation at one of the below levels:

  • Exclusive: $200- Entrance to event + private photo booth with Jesse Freidin (5 min. photo shoot, includes (2) 8x10 digital photos) + swag bag

  • VIP: $100- Entrance to event + swag bag

  • General Admission: $50- Entrance to event

Catering generously donated by Panini Kabob Grill.

 

We hope you enjoyed your behind the scenes look at one of our shelter visits. Our experience only briefly touched the surface of what the Wags and Walks team does every day. It was truly an incredible experience for all of us on the blog team.

 

To stay updated on what’s new at Wags and Walks, please follow us on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter. Also, don’t forget to sign up for our e-mail newsletter. Who doesn’t love cute animal pupdates?

XO,

Team Wags

OUR HOUSE Run For Hope

For many of us, dogs have represented hope in a time of grief or loss. Animals give unconditionally and provide support for people at their most vulnerable times. Wags and Walks is proud to be aligned with a wonderful organization, OUR HOUSE, that is dedicated to providing the community with grief support services, education, resources and hope.

On Saturday, April 30th, OUR HOUSE Run For Hope is taking place to honor the memories and celebrate the lives of those who have died. As one of the presenting sponsors, Wags and Walks is excited to bring people and dogs together to support this wonderful cause. Through this event, we will honor the memories of those we have lost - both people and pets - and celebrate the power of community and togetherness to heal and move forward.

If you’re interested in getting involved, you can join the Wags and Walks team by making a donation or signing up to run or walk with us at Run for Hope. All donations and money raised by Team Wags will support our mission to save, foster and care for rescue pups.

Our House Run For Hope_Wags and Walks

Since this run will honor the memory and celebrate the lives of those who have passed away, here are a few testimonials from the Wags and Walks family, sharing our own experience of losing a beloved pet.

“I love all my dogs very deeply, but I once read a description of a heart dog described as ‘the dog of your lifetime’. Roxxy was and will always be my ‘heart dog’. Tough for many to believe that we can have a canine soulmate, but I am here to tell you that Roxxy was my canine soulmate. Roxxy was found on the streets when she was just a few months old, so to have her for almost 17 years is such a blessing but it doesn’t take away the feeling of wanting to have had her for many more years. Buddhists believe that we humans can incarnate as animals. I am not a Buddhist but I would love to come back as Roxxy because there isn’t any human or animal kinder and more loving than Roxxy. My favorite line is: My goal in life is to become as wonderful as my dogs think I am!!” - Tracy

 “Dexter was my first love. His nickname was monkey for his extremely excitable personality and ability to jump from one piece of furniture to the next. He LOVED attention and as a puppy, he was a total show stopper. I couldn't take him for walks because people would stop their cars, run down from 3rd story apartments and run through traffic to say hello to him. Dexter learned to expect the royal treatment! He was too smart for his own good and was my biggest protector. Not a day goes by that I don't think about him and miss him.” - Erica

 “Peaches was my Buddha dog. She set the tone for the rest of her pack: calm, quiet, soulful. Her big questions in life were, ‘Are you nice?’ and ‘Do you have food for me?’ She liked fruits and veggies and only barked in her sleep.” - Lor

In loving honor of Dunkin, the dog that changed the course of my entire life and inspired me to love pitbulls and start Wags and Walks. He was soulful, fun, snuggly, gentle, loyal, a great hiker and ball catcher and just over all the best friend I have ever had. I miss him every day…” - Lesley

“To my best friend [Vega]. The keeper of all my secrets. The ET to my Eliot. I will forever be grateful for being your mom. You will be loved. Always.” - Kadie

“Our sweet and regal Ella, a Doberman/Lab mix, was the epitome of sweetness, patience and soulfulness. She was beautiful and loving and had such a spiritual presence. We were so grateful to have her with us for so long – almost sixteen years; so unusual for such a big dog, and I know in my heart that she is protecting us still. I miss her so much and will be eternally grateful to her for being such a very special companion.” - Nicole

“Our little Trixie was such a character; the feistiest and hysterical little Terrier mix. I’ve never known any other dog to bark with her whole body like she did – she was outraged if a stranger dared to come into the house and made sure they knew it but on the other hand her entire being wriggled with joy when she was happy or excited, sometimes peeing in the process. I was convinced she was part cat as her fur was so soft and she loved perching on the back of sofas. I miss that sweet baby so.” - Nicole

"Ween was the one we hoped would live forever." - Layne & Sally

"Tito was not only my best friend and the rock to our family, but a heart and soul that touched the lives of everyone he came in contact with. Today Los Angeles Responsible Pit Bull Owners (LARPBO) is a testament that Tito has succeeded and that his legacy will live on". - Troy

Remembering some of the many dogs who have made an impact on our Wags and Walks family. 

Remembering some of the many dogs who have made an impact on our Wags and Walks family. 

To stay updated on what’s new at Wags and Walks, please follow us on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter. Also, don’t forget to sign up for our e-mail newsletter. Who doesn’t love cute animal pupdates?

XO,

Team Wags

Big, Medium, or Small: What Dog Size Is Right For You?

Los Angeles is a big city where you will find dogs of all sizes. With that said, Wags and Walks rescues range anywhere from large to tiny and all those in-between. To give you an example of our breed variety, meet two Wags and Walks dogs available for adoption who couldn’t be more different.

Greta is an 82-pound big, beautiful care bear; whereas, Tiny Tim weighs only 4.5 pounds but is full of a whole lot of love! Both of these pups are in search of their furever homes, but their size difference means their needs are also different.

You might be thinking, “well, I love all dogs!” We do too, but when it comes to adding a dog to your family, it’s important to think about your lifestyle and what size dog would be the best fit. When considering adopting your next (or first) dog, these 5 questions are a great place to start:

 

What size home do you live in?

It is no secret that the larger the dog, the more space he/she needs to roam around and feel comfortable. This is why you find more small to medium sized dogs in big cities, as they are better suited for small-medium sized apartments. Large dogs need an easily accessible yard and preferably enough space for them to spread out! If you are very active, though, and are able to take your dog outside and to dog parks a lot, then it is possible for you to have a larger dog in a yardless city apartment.

 

Are you an avid jogger, walker or neither?

All dogs need a healthy amount of exercise, but large dogs need a lot more exercise to stay healthy than small dogs do. So, if you are someone who prefers hanging out around the house to going outside, a smaller dog may be better for you. If the great outdoors is always calling your name - and there is plenty to do outside in Los Angeles - then a bigger dog can be perfect for you too!

This playful guy is Danny - a 1-year old, 70 pound Pit Bull mix. Danny loves hikes and walks and is a great example of a dog eager to join a loving family that is ready for an active dog.

 

How busy are you?

Most people in Los Angeles with dogs also have full-time jobs. Your schedule is a big influence on what type of dog you should adopt. Medium - large breed dogs take up a full seat in your car and are harder to take with you to run errands. Some small dogs, though, can fit in your tote, like little Franklin here. Franklin is a tiny 5-year old, 9-pound pup.

So, if you want a dog you can easily take with you on the go, you may consider a small to medium sized dog to fit your needs. However, if you are a busy bee living in a very dog-friendly area and/or you have the time to pop by the house to take your dog out for walks, then a big dog may be in your future!

 

What is your previous experience with dogs of various sizes?

While temperament varies heavily across dogs, the training of large vs medium vs small dogs can be quite different. Training bigger dogs often relies very heavily on voice commands, as it can be harder to physically handle them. Also, socializing small dogs vs large or medium dogs is different based on the physical size of the dog in comparison to other dogs and humans. Luckily, there are many resources to help you learn the best way to train your dog according to its size!
 

What kinds of dogs do you prefer?

Some people have preferences for big, small or medium sized dogs and others have no preference at all. For others, their preference aligns with certain breed types instead of dog size. Thankfully, Wags and Walks is able to rescue a wide array of dogs due to the loving help of our generous foster parents.

All of the dogs we rescue, regardless of size, are wonderful. When they are still growing, that means that sometimes it can be hard to estimate their adult size. Take the cutie above, for example. Buster is a playful Border Collie/Shepherd mix puppy who we estimate will grow to be at least 60 pounds, even if he’s just a little tike right now.


Every dog and person is unique, and there are many factors that go into picking the right dog for you. Wags and Walks is dedicated to ensuring our dogs find their perfect match in their forever home.  To do so, we observe every dog before making him/her available for adoption and also conduct in-depth interviews with both potential fosters and adopters.

 

To find more about the dogs featured in today’s blog, visit our Adoptable Dogs Page. To stay updated on what’s new at Wags and Walks, please follow us on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter. Also, don’t forget to sign up for our e-mail newsletter. Who doesn’t love cute animal pupdates?

XO,

Team Wags

 

 

 

 

Wags and Walks Adoption Event Recap: March 19th

Not every adoption event is created equal. Case in point, just shy of a month ago, Wags and Walks had the opportunity to host Workday and LARPBO (Los Angeles Responsible Pit Bull Owners) at our event at The Dog Bakery in Mar Vista. This special volunteering experience gave Workday employees a first hand experience on what it is like to run an adoption event and help find dogs their furever home.

 

Wags and Walks Joined Forces

Over 20 team members from Workday got up first thing in the morning on Sunday, March 19th and worked with 14 LARPBO handlers to learn basic commands and training tips to work on with their assigned dog, all before our adoption event even started! This helped them not only get to know their dog, but also build the appropriate relationship for comfort and safety during our day long adoption event. It can definitely get busy at times, so having the one on one time before the craziness was just what the team needed. Once the event started, you could just feel the pride and joy the Workday team had throughout the day, while each of them helped introduce their dogs to their prospective new owners. It was amazing to be there and see the energy present during their volunteering outing, which isn’t always the case when companies set up events for employees. Don’t just take out word for it though, check it out for yourself:

“My daughter and I had a wonderful experience in the training and adoption process. We were trained together on how to build a relationship with our pet. We were impressed with this entire process. This will be a great memory we share together. Thank you.” - Julie Lee, Workday

 

March 19th Dog Adoptions

With the help of Workday and LARPBO, we were able to find 4 amazing homes for our pups, Sophie, Abby, Emerald, and Sapphire. It was a long day but worth every minute when we watched the adopters and the volunteers go home with big smiles:

All Dogs Go to (Dog Bakery) Heaven

If the day wasn’t already amazing enough, The Dog Bakery donated over 500 bags of Dog for Dog food to us. We can certainly promise that it’s going to good use with all of our amazing rescues, both at Wags Club and in the homes of fosters. We can’t thank The Dog Bakery enough for being such an amazing partner to work with. It’s people like them and all of our amazing volunteers (new and old) that help Wags and Walks continue to grow and rescue more dogs from the streets of LA.

If you are interested in doing a similar adoption event for your company contact us: info@wagsandwalks.org. We would love to share the memories that we are all able to make week after week with you…and maybe even snag a few more recurring volunteers in the process :).

 

Please follow us on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter. 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

Wagging Tail Wednesday: Milo

If you believe in fate, then this is a story for you. 

Six months ago, Milo was in the process of being surrendered by his third home in just one short year. While it’s hard to imagine why anybody – especially three families – could give up this handsome golden retriever puppy, Milo continued to have faith.

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Around the same time, a man named David lost his beloved golden retriever due to old age. He decided it was time to bring a dog back into his life and started looking for a new pup at local rescues in Los Angeles.

Ultimately, David and Milo found each other through Wags and Walks. David had barely started his search for a new dog when he stumbled across Milo. While this was the only application he submitted, the odds were against him - Milo received over 40 applications in just a few days and David was third in line for an interview and meet & greet. However, the stars aligned for both of them and David ended up bringing Milo home.

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That was the beginning of a new chapter for both of them. What past owners called “behavioral issues”, David deemed simple puppy problems and knew how to work through them. David gave Milo the guidance, stability and patience he needed, while Milo provided the companionship and laughter that David was looking for.

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Now, Milo lives the life of a king in sunny Hermosa Beach. He spends his days chasing squirrels, running on the beach, playing with his doggy friends, going on hikes, and cheering on David at races. He is an instant friend to everyone he meets (dog or human), and he just mastered the “shake” command which has proved to be a real crowd pleaser.

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While it hasn’t always been easy – David can’t forget the time Milo got sick on a friend’s carpet or brought home a dead seagull from the beach – there’s no doubt that it is worth it. The duo is a true match made in heaven, and neither can imagine a life without the other.

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If you’re looking for your doggy soul mate, visit our website to see our available dogs and fill out an adoption application.

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: Shannon Hanrahan

It’s an understatement to say that fosters are integral to our mission at Wags and Walks. To date, we’ve rescued 2,308 dogs (and counting!), and we wouldn’t have been able to do that without the dedication, compassion, and sacrifice of our fosters. With the exception of a few dogs who temporarily stay at our Wags Club, every pup we rescue goes straight to the home of a loving foster to help them decompress and get ready for their new life to begin.

This week, we’d like to highlight one of our devoted fosters and volunteers, Shannon Hanrahan. Shannon has been fostering with us for almost a year, and since then she has helped us save the lives of eight wonderful pups. In addition to fostering, Shannon also finds the time to volunteer at our adoption events and helps lead the blog team.

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Shannon took some time from her busy day to tell us about her experience with Wags and Walks:

Tell us a little bit about yourself.

I am originally from Philly and moved to Santa Monica 4 years ago. I work at Teleflora as the SEO/Content Specialist, but still try and get in as much pup time as I possibly can working with Wags and Walks. I grew up with 3 dogs and a horse, so you can say I am a bit of an animal lover. I have a 14.5 Lab/Rottweiler mix who lives at home in luxury with my parents since she was a bit too old and settled to take the cross-country trek with me.

What got you started fostering for Wags & Walks?

I learned about Wags actually on Lauren Conrad’s instagram and contacted them about volunteering. Eventually I stepped in when they needed an extra hand for fostering and just haven’t stopped yet.

To date, how many dogs have you fostered for Wags? Do you have a favorite? (Don't worry, we won't tell the others!)

Since July 2016 I have fostered 8 pups (currently still with my 8th). It’s hard to pick a favorite since each has had something different about them that I’ve loved. Moe and Heartly I fostered as young pups, so it was definitely fun to watch them pick up on their training and really grow into themselves. But I have honestly loved every single one of them and still follow up on how they are all doing with their forever families.

Wags and Walks_Foster Friday 3

What has been your biggest challenge fostering?

I’d probably say trying to not get too attached is my biggest challenge to date. My dog is 3,000 miles away, so it is hard to give up a dog when I’ve had them with me for so long and become part of my routine. A lot of my fosters have needed recovery time before adoption, so I keep them over around a month at a time. But with that said, I love seeing updates once they get to their forever home and hearing about how much they have settled.

How has fostering affected you?

It’s hard to put it into words exactly, but fostering really does give me all the feels. It is amazing to see how each and every one of the dogs flourishes once they are in a safe and loving “home”. It’s hard not to smile knowing that you’re changing his/her life for the better...which I can’t say happens in my day job. Plus, I love seeing how happy families are when they are taking their new dog home. We truly do bring happiness home with every adoption, for both the dogs and the humans. I enjoy being a part of that.

Wags and Walks_Foster Friday

What has been your biggest surprise as a foster parent?

It’s been a long time since I’ve had a puppy and I forgot how much puppies are like small children. I’ve had plenty of sleepless nights, training setbacks, and “precious” items used as chew toys. But even after all of that, I’ve never gotten upset or angry, which really surprised me because I’m not a huge person for unpredictability…which puppies are plenty full of. It has really shown me what my level of patience can be.

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

My advice is to go for it. If you have thought it all through and are ready to take on the responsibility, then it isn’t going to be something you regret. It isn’t always easy, but it’s fun and heartwarming to know you are doing good for something so innocent. Just make sure everyone you live with is on board so you can keep the peace!

Wags and Walks_Foster Friday 4

If you’re interested in joining Shannon as one of our amazing fosters and helping us save lives, you can learn more on our website. We’d love to have you!

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

Dog-Friendly Vacations

It’s officially spring, and for a lot of you, that means it’s time to start planning Spring Break or a warm weather getaway! When you have a furry friend as a roommate, it can sometimes be difficult to make travel plans. This spring, consider planning a dog-friendly vacation so that your pup isn’t left behind! Continue reading for some of Wags and Walks' favorite vacation destinations that both you and your dog can enjoy together.

Enjoy the Great Outdoors at a National Park

There are plenty of National Parks that are dog-friendly and quite exciting for you and your pup to explore and take in the views. The Grand Canyon and Yosemite are two of our favorites that are close to LA. The Grand Canyon is especially perfect to visit in the spring, as it hasn’t yet reached it’s hot desert temperatures. There are plenty of opportunities for great photo ops and exciting trails to take when visiting these National Parks. Be mindful that some trails are a bit more rigorous and may take a couple hours to complete, so if your pup isn’t one for hiking, or if you’re not too familiar with the area, be sure to consult a tour guide or local map. It’s important to make sure that you bring plenty of water and snacks before you head out on a trail so both you and your pup are energized and hydrated throughout your hike. Also, always remember that most National Parks have an on-leash policy, so make sure to keep your dog leashed and close by when visiting.

Mammoth Lake or Mammoth Mountain

Mammoth is a perfect destination whether you’re in the mood for snow or sun. If you didn’t get a chance to catch the snow this winter, it’s likely that there will still be snowfall in Mammoth for a couple months. Last year, the mountain was open for skiing until July 4th! If your pup loves the snow, consider going to Mammoth to take them on a scenic hike, play fetch in the snow or build a snowman - or a snowdog, if you’re creative!

If you and your pet aren’t too fond of the snow, head to Mammoth in the summer months to enjoy the beautiful Mammoth Lake and the numerous trails Mammoth has to offer. Most of the Inyo National Forest trails are dog-friendly and easily accessible by taking the shuttles that are offered. Please note that while dogs are allowed to ride these shuttles, they must be leashed and muzzled.

The City by the Bay, San Francisco

San Francisco is an amazing city filled with gorgeous views and sites to see. Best of all, it’s a dog-friendly town and people bring their pups everywhere! From the Golden Gate Bridge to Union Square, there are plenty of places to enjoy with your furry friend. Crissy Field is a popular spot for doggy pawrents to lounge by the beach or have a picnic in the grass while their pup runs around. There are also several dog-friendly and off-leash dog beaches to explore, such as Baker Beach or Fort Funston, where tons of dogs run around in the sand and play fetch in the ocean.

If you feel like shopping, you can head over to Union Square where many stores allow you to bring your pup inside. There are also many dog-friendly restaurants all over the city, from the Castro District to the Marina.

 

Sunny Santa Barbara

Santa Barbara is a cute, funky town with shops, wineries and breweries, and lots of hiking spots. Take a stroll down State Street, where you’ll find shops and restaurants that you can enjoy with your pup. It’s likely that you’ll see water bowls out and dog treats provided at many of these local shops. If you’re feeling the need to let loose and wind down, take a stroll to the “Funk Zone” in Downtown Santa Barbara. Both you and your pup can meet some new friends at the wineries, as people love to bring their pups along when wine tasting. If you’re looking to be a little more adventurous, take a hike to Oceanfront Trail to enjoy views of the beautiful Pacific Ocean, or check out the Santa Barbara Botanical Gardens, where you and your pup can stop to smell the roses.

These are just a few dog-friendly vacations that you can take with your pup - the options are endless! Make sure you are properly prepared for your trip by researching the dog-friendly locations and guidelines prior to arriving at your destination, as well as any pet policies. Also, don’t forget to bring enough water, snacks, and doggie bags when packing for your trip. Your dog will be thrilled that you included them in your travel plans. Enjoy your pupcation!

 

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

 

Why Every Day Should Be Take Your Pup To Work Day

What does your pup do when you go to work all day? Maybe you have a friend who can stop by to give your pup some love once a day, or you are able to head home midday to take your pup out for a walk. Other people have a dog walking, babysitting or daycare service they swear by. For everyone, though, how much time you spend away from the home is an important factor to consider when adopting a dog.

Luckily, Los Angeles is a pretty laid back city, and we are starting to see more companies turn into dog-friendly offices. Because those of us at Wags and Walks are huge supporters of bringing our dogs to the workplace, we wanted to highlight a few of the many benefits of bringing your pup to the office.  Also, we hope you enjoy the photos of us, our coworkers and our pups scattered throughout this post!

1. Dogs help reduce stress...and the office is full of that

Raise your hand if you ever get stressed at work... For most, the workday can be stressful sometimes. When you are at home and feeling sad, or stressed or even just tired, your dog is often your best companion. They are a great stress reliever at the office, too. After all, even the presence of dogs is extremely therapeutic for many humans. So, whether they are laying in their office-chair nest, sitting by your feet, or playing with a ball on the floor, the day is just better with your dog there as your sidekick.

2. Your dog is much happier with you all day than without you

We talked about how your dog can help reduce your stress at work, but you also help reduce your dog’s stress by being around him/her! Dogs feel much more comfortable and safe when they are around their human instead of alone. Maybe you are thinking, “but he naps all day anyways,” well for many dogs, all they need is the comfort of knowing you are with them to feel happy.

3. It gives your dog the opportunity to socialize

For dogs of all ages, socializing is very important. It helps puppies become well-behaved and friendly adult dogs, and it is great for the mental health of adult dogs as well. If you have a dog-friendly office, chances are many people will also be bringing their dogs to work.  That means your dog can stay active and social during the day by playing with other pups or even just playing around people!

4. Dogs are a great way to get to know your coworkers

Normally once you bring your pup to the office, he/she becomes an immediate celebrity amongst your coworkers. This is a great opportunity for you to socialize and meet new people or get to know people better in your office. Bonding over a dog means you already have at least one thing in common! Plus, your pup can play fetch with your coworkers when you are in the zone with work. Your dog is happy and helping boost the morale across the office. By the end of the day, your dog is basically one of the crew!

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5. Your dog helps remind you to take a break

Do you ever look away from your computer and somehow 5 hours have gone by while you were in the zone scrutinizing over that excel doc? Suddenly you are exhausted and probably have a hard time focusing for the rest of the day. Even just a short walk at lunch or a 10-minute mindfulness meditation break can help you stay energized throughout the day.

One of the best parts about having your dog with you at the office is he/she helps remind you to take those breaks. Every hour you can take a couple minutes to lay on the floor with your pup and play, snuggle or just mindlessly pet him/her. Or maybe, you could try out some human and doggy dual yoga. They are downward dog naturals!

5. It builds in a mid-day exercise routine

Along the lines of taking a break, when dogs stay at home all day they may not exercise or even get a potty break at all until you come home. When you bring your dog to the office, though, you can take him/her out for a walk at lunch and also take as many potty breaks as needed. This will increase the long-term health of your dog...and you! It’s important to move around during the day, so consider bringing your dog to the office a much needed excuse to build a lunchtime walk into your day!

These are of course only only five of the very many benefits of a pet-friendly office for both humans and dogs. Also, when offices allow employees to bring their pups to work, they are not only creating a friendlier atmosphere, but they could be making a difference in the life of a pup! While it is not the only factor preventing dog adoption, it is not an uncommon one!

Keep in mind, though, that bringing your dog to work is not right for every person, office or dog. Some dogs would prefer napping on the couch at home to being around people or other dogs all day. There also may be people in your office who feel uncomfortable around dogs, or your office environment may just not be suitable for a dog. It is definitely important to first know your dog’s temperament and your office’s rules, then you should try it out before making “Take Your Pup To Work Day” an everyday ritual!

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

 

Celebrate National Puppy Day

While many of you probably celebrate National Puppy Day every day (because you love your dogs so much), March 23rd is the official international day of awareness to not only celebrate puppies, but also to promote adoption. There are very few things that are able to make so many different people smile the way that puppies do, without even having to do anything. Whether you are walking down the street or playing at home, puppies can brighten the worst days with their goofy, happy demeanors. There are so many great ways to celebrate National Puppy Day, and we’d like to start by telling you about some of our favorite puppies available for adoption right now on Wags and Walks! Get ready to have all the feels:

 

Meet the Jetson Litter

Jane, George, Elroy and Judy are 8 week old blonde terrier spaniel mixes with terrific young spirit and a lot of puppy energy. They love to play with one another and chew on toys. They already sleep through the night and are a blank slate for training and very eager to learn. With puppy basic training, they will grow up to be handsome and happy companions for a lucky person or family. They are healthy, up to date on vaccinations, spayed and microchipped and will be ready for adoption in just a few days, so stay tuned for more info!

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Meet Matilda

Please meet Matilda, the puppy who never stops wagging her tail! This 6 month old easy going and loving girl weighs about 25 pounds and has a beautiful tan and white coloring. Although she's a pup, Matilda (like the movie) is an old soul. She is gentle, fun loving and wants to love everyone she meets including dogs. She is a pitbull mix who is being fostered with 3 young children and 4 dogs of all sizes.  According to her foster, "she is the perfect little girl."  Matilda is being treated for demodex mange, but is otherwise healthy up to date on vaccinations, spayed and microchipped.

 

See Matilda featured on Pup Pals!

Tips Before Adopting

If adopting a new puppy has been on your mind for a while now, there are a few things to think about before sealing the deal. Puppies are amazing, but they are also a ton of work. Make sure you are ready for some sleepless nights, accidents, chewing, and spending lots of time on training. Also, have a game plan ready for where your puppy is going the spend the day. Especially while they are young, puppies have to go out every 3-4 hours, which is hard if you have a full-time office job. So make sure you have a work schedule that is going to permit you taking time during the day for potty breaks or have someone who is able to help you! Of course, there are so many rewarding benefits to having a young dog: breakthroughs in training, the stages of growing up, and the puppy awkwardness to name a few. Puppies are a ton of work but worth every moment in the end, as long as you truly are ready to commit to them. If any or all of that scares you, maybe it isn’t time for a puppy but rather an older, more self-reliant dog. Either way, you are going to be greeted every morning, noon, and night with unconditional love and happiness.

Fun Ways to Celebrate with Your Pup

  • Take Your Dog on a Long Walk
  • Make Homemade Dog Treats
  • Buy Your Pup a New Toy
  • Do a Pup Photoshoot
  • Take Your Dog on a New Hike

 

We hope that you enjoyed meeting some of our adoptable pups. We have so many that are waiting to share their love with you and find their forever homes! We hope you are able to find the perfect adoptable pup for your lifestyle!


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: Abigail and Groot

Happy St. Patrick’s Day! Today is a day that represents luck and celebration, so we want to highlight an amazing foster and a very special pup, both of whom Wags and Walks is lucky to have as part of our family.

Abigail is a first-time foster, and as chance would have it, she was paired with a very unique pup. Her very first foster dog is a charming fella who goes by the name of Groot.

What makes Groot so special isn’t his adorable face or non-shedding coat; it’s his resilience and love for life, despite his hardships, that caught our eye. The 7-month-old Maltese pup had very little mobility in his back legs when Wags and Walks saved him, but that didn’t slow him down one bit and he was happily scooting everywhere! We were certain he was paralyzed and would need wheels, but this guy is tough and is fighting to stand again, strengthening his back legs through physical therapy.

Groot’s unbelievable progress is a testament to his foster, Abigail. Despite not having any foster experience before Groot, she’s shown a huge amount of commitment, love and patience. From physical therapy appointments to ensuring he gets the right diet, exercise and medicine, Abigail has been the perfect person to take little Groot under her wing!

Abigail stumbled  into the Wags and Walks family by chance (or luck, as the Irish would say), and her time with Groot is a true celebration. But, we’ll let Abigail tell you the rest:

Tell us a little bit about yourself:

I am originally an Okie that recently moved to LA LA Land! I am an actress/nanny! I have a pup of my own - Maci the Maltipoo! In my free time I like to try new restaurants, binge on TV shows, do calligraphy work, photography and make movies!

Why did you start fostering for Wags & Walks?

It just kind of fell into my lap! It wasn't intentional. I didn't originally even think about fostering! I just came across Groot's picture and decided to meet him, and through him I learned about Wags & Walks and their mission, and I wanted to get involved.

How has it been to have your first time fostering be with Groot (who is a very special pup!)? Can you tell us a bit about him, his story and how you came to be his foster?

Groot is the SWEETEST pup I have ever met in my entire life. He is so relaxed and a very "go with the flow" guy! His favorite things to do are eat, cuddle and give lots of kisses! Groot is a very special dog and it does have its challenges at times, but the unconditional love he gives makes the harder times worth it! I came to be his foster when I saw his picture on CARE's Facebook page. They had him in workout gear complete with a sweatband - and that was it! I don't see his disability; I see his potential and love for life!

What has been your biggest challenge so far as a foster parent? Especially as it is your first time.

Just trying to get in a routine and making sure I’m doing everything correctly, especially since he is a special pup! The first week was the hardest. I lacked sleep and my patience was a bit worn, but when we got into a routine and we figured each other out, it’s been great! I feel like each day gets better, and I can find a positive in each day!

Your fostering Groot helped save his life. Do you feel it has also affected yours? How so?

I stepped in for him when he really needed someone, and I'm glad I came in at his time of need! It is hard knowing that I can't do this forever, but for the time that I do have him, I hope it has made him happy and has had an impact on him! He has affected me in many ways. First, by showing me unconditional love. Groot gives out unconditional love constantly, despite his hardships. Patience is something I have also learned with this little guy. Things may not go the way you planned and get hard sometimes, but you just have to be patient! Lastly, he has shown me determination and has helped me apply that in my own life. If he can do it...I can do it!

What has been your biggest surprise so far as a foster parent?

I feel like every day is a surprise with Groot man, so can I say every day is a surprise?! He always keeps me on my toes!

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

If you have the time...do it! Even if it's short term! It helps make an animal’s life better, and it's extremely rewarding!

Do you plan to foster again after Groot?

I'm sure I will when the timing is right!

Thanks so much for sharing your first foster experience with us, Abigail! Groot is so lucky to have you, and so are the rest of us at Wags and Walks. Your and Groot’s fast friendship exhibits how caring, playful, and full-of-life dogs come in all shapes and sizes. We learn so much about life from the pups in our lives, and as Abigail showed through her story, that impact is even felt from a short time spent with a foster dog.

Abigail and all other fosters are crucial to the Wags and Walks mission. As you can see by Groot’s story, every pup we bring in to Wags and Walks is unique. Because of our fosters, who provide a loving and safe home for the dogs, we are able to find the perfect Forever Homes for these pups. Interested in becoming a first time foster like Abigail? Find out more information about how you can get involved on our website!

With that, Happy Friday and Happy St. Patty’s Day to all those celebrating! May your day be filled with luck, laughs and plenty of puppy kisses.

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

Wags Club Reopens!

So many shelter pups are living on borrowed time, and Wags and Walks knows that every day matters. Although we’d love for each and every dog to take their freedom ride from the shelter straight to the home of a loving foster, this isn’t always the case, and we knew there was a way to save even more lives – even if a foster isn’t available. Thus, we decided to officially reopen Wags Club!

 

Wags Club is essentially a halfway house for pups to decompress between the shelter and their new foster home. Located at the Wags and Walks headquarters in West LA, Wags Club allows us to save up to five more dogs at a time when foster homes are full. Our four-legged members receive ongoing care and love from dedicated volunteers and staff. Can you think of an easier way to help save a life than to spend some of your free time cuddling cute puppies!?

Wags Club volunteers are integral to what we do. Volunteers are tasked with feeding, walking and cuddling these pups, as well as giving them their medication and ensuring their kennels are clean and comfortable. There are multiple shifts every day, making it easy to tailor to your own schedule.

 

“Wags Club has easily become the best part of my week,” said Andra, one of our Wags Club volunteers. “There is no better way to start my morning than spending time with these adorable dogs. I fall in love with each and every one of them, and I’m so grateful to be part of their journey to finding a forever home.”

If you’re interested in getting involved, there are several different ways to help, and each one is just as important as the others:

  • Give to the Wags Club fund to help us continue to improve the space and make our pups as comfortable as possible. The Wags Club rent is $600 per month and every little bit helps! Donate and add a note about the Wags Club fund.
  • Sponsor a Wags Club dog for $500 to help cover the cost of care until their new family comes along. Receive photos and updates of the dog you have sponsored and follow their journey. Donate and add a note about sponsoring.
  • Shop our Amazon Wishlist to send supplies to our Wags Club pups. Shop smile.amazon.com and choose Wags and Walks as your organization of choice to help your gift go even further.
  • Volunteer at Wags Club to help directly care for these sweet dogs through feeding, walking, grooming and playtime. Email esther@wagsandwalks.org to sign up. 

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

Pucks for Pups Charity Hockey Game

Wags and Walks is proud to team up with Humble Gladiators for a Pucks for Pups charity hockey event. Before the Los Angeles Kings take on the Buffalo Sabres at the Staples Center on March 16th, celebrities and NHL alumni will face off on the ice for a good cause - to support Wags and Walks! All proceeds from the game will benefit our mission to save family-friendly dogs from shelters and place them in loving forever homes.

 

From 2:45pm to 5:45pm, your favorite celebrities will see if they have what it takes to challenge former NHL pros. Players include David Boreanaz (Bones, Buffy the Vampire Slayer), Michael Rosenbaum (Smallville, Impastor), Jake Picking (Patriots Day), Patrick O’Brien Demsey (Thor, Miracle), Derek Armstrong (retired Los Angeles Kings player), Daryl Evans (retired Los Angeles Kings player), Lorenzo Henrie (Fear the Walking Dead), David Henrie (Wizards of Waverly Place, How I Met Your Mother), Jay Harrington (Better Off Ted), Ken Baker (E! News, former professional hockey player), and members of the Teen Choice-nominated band R5.

We are SOLD OUT for this event and all of the money raised will go directly to Wags and Walks to help us continue saving as many lives as possible. If you weren't able to attend this event, there are still so many ways you can donate your time or money to help our efforts. Each year, 2 to 3 million dogs are relinquished to animal shelters, and of those millions, 60 percent are needlessly euthanized simply because there are not enough homes. Sadly, most of these dogs are healthy, good-natured and perfectly adoptable. For more information about the event or ways you can help, please email info@wagsandwalks.org.


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

Wags and Walks Volunteering and How You Can Help

This is a guest post by Leann, one of our volunteers.

You’re sitting at home enjoying the weekend and the Southern California sun. Even though it’s a great day, you feel like there’s something else you should be doing – something that you just can’t put your finger on. You have a good job, a great family and a happy life, but there is something missing. At that moment, your dog walks into the room and puts his paw on your leg… and it hits you. You want to get involved with a cause you’re passionate about – dog rescue.

I adopted my pup, Cooper (then Oreo), from Wags and Walks, a rescue that saved him from death row. I felt inspired to make a difference for other dogs just like Wags and Walks did for my own Cooper. So, I sent a note to Lesley Brog, the President and Founder of Wags and Walks – “How can I help?”.  I didn’t know that this simple question would lead to a wonderful friendship and five years of volunteering, which has changed my life.

Our little girl Sophie at the latest adoption event. One of many ways to get involved!

Our little girl Sophie at the latest adoption event. One of many ways to get involved!

You may think that you can’t volunteer because you don’t have time, you live too far from the rescue, or you don’t have any experience. But if there’s a will, there’s a way. There are so many different ways you can get involved: volunteering, fostering, working adoption events, transporting dogs, helping with special events and supporting social media, just to name a few.

Once you make the decision to volunteer, an easy way to double your impact is by checking if your company participates in an employee matching gift program or a volunteer grant program. My company, Amgen, has a program that supports staff volunteer efforts by providing service grants. Essentially, hours volunteered qualify for service grants of up to $2,000 per year per employee, which go directly to the nonprofit. Additionally, the foundation matches every dollar donated by an Amgen staff member up to a cumulative total of $20,000 annually. You can easily find your if your employer participates here.

There are so many ways you can help –  all you need to do is take that first step, just like I did five years ago. I promise you won’t regret it. There is no greater feeling than helping others, whether it be humans or animals. Helping Wags and Walks find forever homes for these deserving dogs is so rewarding and has helped me fill that missing piece in my life.

Huey is excited that you're interested in getting more involved with Wags!

Huey is excited that you're interested in getting more involved with Wags!

If you are interested in volunteering at Wags and Walks, visit the website to learn more and fill out an application.

 

Leann

Wags and Walks Volunteer

4 Ways to Keep Your Dog From Running Away

The California sun has finally decided to come out of hiding and show her beautiful face again. If you are anything like us, you’re already planning your weekends and nights with outdoorsy activities that you and your pup can do together to enjoy the nice weather. With the rising temperatures both in SoCal and nationwide, we thought now would be the perfect time to share some of our favorite tips on how to keep your dog from “spring breaking” it away from you:

 

Baby Gates for Your Dog

Whether you like to leave your doors open to enjoy a breeze or you’re just in and out of the house, you should always assess easy exits your dog might have. If you know your pup likes to make a quick escape the second you open the front door, consider using a baby gate to block them from a slick exit. Baby gates vary in price and features, starting with a basic gate you climb over and upgrading to one you can open and step through. Whichever you choose, it’s a simple investment for a lifetime of safety for your pet! Also, remember to block off any fences or railings your pup could easily slip through. A quick fix is using a puppy playpen to block any openings or simply replace the fencing in your yard for a more secure area.

 

Sizing of Harnesses and Collars

While you may think that all collars are created equal, it’s very important to research the best type of collar to use for your specific dog. You would be surprised how many different types are out there! Here are Wags and Walks, we always recommend that our fosters and adopters use a flat collar with identification tags, as well as an additional collar or harness for walking. This way, if the pup happens to slip out or get loose, he/she still has an ID on and can be returned to his/her owner. We highly recommend martingale collars and harnesses because they are secure and give more leverage against pulling and surprises - it’s much more difficult for your pup to slip out of these when they want to bolt! Your local pet store will be happy to help you size your dog so that their collar/harness is comfortable and the perfect fit!

 

Training of Young and Old Dogs

It’s never too late to teach an old dog (or a young one) a new trick. Practice your stays, sits and comes so that your pup learns to respect and listen to your commands - no matter what the circumstance. Plus, it’s always fun to try  teaching them something new. If your pup is treat motivated, you might even get a rollover or high-five trick out of them! Another important training exercise (that is often overlooked) is walking on the leash. Ensuring your dog has good leash manners is crucial in keeping them safe. The more  accustomed to walking on a leash they are, the less likely they are to make a run for it.

While training is usually reserved for puppies and is best started as young as possible, it never hurts to give an older dog a refresher course - especially if they have gotten away with their fair share of antics. Always make sure your pup knows that while he/she may be number one in your heart, he/she isn’t the  boss in the house and they must listen to your commands.

 

Keep Your Pets Entertained

One of the most common reasons dogs get loose is out of boredom, so make sure you aren’t leaving them for extended periods of time with nothing to do. If you are going to be gone for  more than a few hours, drop your pup off at a doggy daycare so they can exercise and socialize, or see if a friend can take him/her for the day. If you prefer to leave your dog at home, make sure he/she has plenty to play with inside. Ensure he/she has plenty of fun toys and bones to entertain themselves with during the day and is set up with a comfy area for him/her to nap in. One of our favorite toys for keeping your dog busy are kongs, which are stuffed with treats and/or peanut butter so that your dog has to work for his/her reward.

ChaCha is a big fan of her comfy bed. Learn more about adopting this mini Poodle/Havanese mix!

ChaCha is a big fan of her comfy bed. Learn more about adopting this mini Poodle/Havanese mix!

These are only a few of many ways to keep your dog from breaking free. We would love to hear how you keep your dogs safe in the comments below!

 

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 other available dogs. Who doesn’t love cute animal pupdates?

 

XO,

Team Wags

What Is World Spay Day All About?

Often overlooked, the last Tuesday of each February marks World Spay Day. Now you may be thinking, why do we have “World Spay Day” anyways? Well, in short - millions of dogs and cats are euthanized each year due to shelter overcrowding. This is, in part, caused by the overpopulation of companion animals across the world as a result of not spaying/neutering pets. World Spay Day helps to spread awareness about this issue and educate the public on the importance of spaying/neutering pets.

 

In Los Angeles, it is mandatory to spay/neuter your pet, and all dogs brought to Wags and Walks are spayed/neutered if they were not already. By doing so, we help lower the chance that even more dogs end up in already overcrowded animal shelters, which aids in our mission of saving as many dogs as we can. It also helps to take the spay/neuter burden off of our potential adopters, and we are lucky to have so many great vets and fosters who care for our pups while they are in recovery.

Our sweet girl Honey (available for adoption!), found herself pregnant and at a high kill shelter. Luckily she and her newborn pups were rescued, and she  is now with Wags and Walks looking for her forever home. Before heading there, she will be spayed and microchipped to ensure her health and safety!

Our sweet girl Honey (available for adoption!), found herself pregnant and at a high kill shelter. Luckily she and her newborn pups were rescued, and she  is now with Wags and Walks looking for her forever home. Before heading there, she will be spayed and microchipped to ensure her health and safety!

Benefits of Spaying and Neutering Your Pets

Often seen as a financial burden or unnecessary procedure, spaying/neutering your dog actually has significant long-term benefits. The most well known of which is the impact of spay/neuter initiatives on reducing pet homelessness and thus lowering euthanization rates across the world. After all, many people don’t even realize that most of the dogs we find in animal shelters started out as family pets or were born from beloved family pets.

This is Eleanor, she and her siblings are looking for their forever homes. She is an extremely playful and happy little pup who is spayed, microchipped and completely up-to-date on vaccines! See Eleanor.

This is Eleanor, she and her siblings are looking for their forever homes. She is an extremely playful and happy little pup who is spayed, microchipped and completely up-to-date on vaccines! See Eleanor.

In addition, spaying or neutering your dog could actually help your pup live a longer, healthier life by lowering or entirely eliminating your dog’s chance of developing certain life-threatening cancers and infections, such as prostate or ovarian cancer. Also, spaying/neutering your dog can decrease your pet’s long-term healthcare costs and even reduce those behavioral issues associated with the mating instinct.

Handsome Henry (available for adoption!) is a very healthy 8 year old German Shepherd mix; he is neutered, and he is a loyal companion who responds very well to commands. Henry is looking for his forever home where he can spend many more years hiking and playing.

Handsome Henry (available for adoption!) is a very healthy 8 year old German Shepherd mix; he is neutered, and he is a loyal companion who responds very well to commands. Henry is looking for his forever home where he can spend many more years hiking and playing.

So, while that little cone your pup has to wear is a temporary nuisance, the pros of spaying/neutering your dog outweigh the brief period he/she must endure the “cone of shame”. To help you make an informed decision, organizations like the ASPCA, American Humane Society and American Veterinary Medical Association provide extensive research and information on the pros/cons of spaying/neutering.

Heartly just got spayed last week in preparation to go to her forever family! She isn't a big fan of her cone of shame.

Heartly just got spayed last week in preparation to go to her forever family! She isn't a big fan of her cone of shame.

“Happy World Spay Day!” may not be a common conversation starter, but spreading the knowledge of its benefits and impacts could help save dogs across the world. As more awareness is raised, more resources are put towards increasing the number of low-cost (and safe) spay/neuter clinics opened across America, which makes it easier for all pet owners to affordably and safely spay/neuter their dogs.

Happy World Spay Day from the Wags and Walks humans and pups. The little cutie pictured above is Hugo, a 6 month old Maltese who is neutered and ready to join his new family at his forever home! Read Hugo’s story here.

Happy World Spay Day from the Wags and Walks humans and pups. The little cutie pictured above is Hugo, a 6 month old Maltese who is neutered and ready to join his new family at his forever home! Read Hugo’s story here.

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 other available dogs. Who doesn’t love cute animal pupdates?

XO,
Team Wags

5 Great LA Outdoor Activities For You and Your Dog

In Los Angeles, we are normally lucky enough to have great weather all year round. However, this past winter showed a different, rainier side of SoCal. We bet it left you and your pup stuck inside, spending a lot of couch time with Netflix. While everyone at Wags and Walks loves snuggling on the couch with our furbabies, we are so badly looking forward to the return of the warm SoCal sun and some much needed outdoor play time.

We all know maintaining an active lifestyle is important for our minds and our bodies, but we can’t forget how important it is for the dogs in our lives, too. As February comes to a close, we are hoping the next sunny Saturday is just around the corner. In preparation, here are five great local, dog-friendly outdoor activities that will keep both you and your furry friends healthy and happy.

 

Hike Griffith Park or Runyon Canyon

Everyone knows Griffith Park for its iconic Hollywood sign, but did you know there are over 50 miles of trails in the park? With trails ranging in length and difficulty, there is a hike out there for people of all skill levels and dogs of all sizes! For those of you closer to the West Side, Runyon Canyon is a ~3.5 mile hike that always tops lists for the best hikes in LA and is especially loved by dogs. Both parks offer great views of the city and plenty of places for your pup to stop and sniff, making them the perfect opportunity for both you and your dog to combine exercise and exploration.

 

Tips before you go:

  • Before letting your dog off leash, check the surrounding signs to see if it is allowed, and keep your dog safe by staying aware of fellow hikers or dogs sharing the trail with you.
  • Remember that dogs often become fatigued in the heat and sun much faster than humans do, so be sure to check the weather before departing and bring lots of water and treats to keep your dog hydrated and energized throughout your hike.
  • As always, bring doggy bags to pick up after your pup. Keeping the parks clean not only helps the environment, but future hikers and dogs alike will appreciate it!

 

Jog the Santa Monica Bike Path

If your dog needs a more up-tempo exercise to stay in shape, make your way to the Santa Monica bike path and boardwalk. You can extend this jog/run for as long as you want, with over 8 miles of pavement lining the beautiful LA coastline in Santa Monica alone. If you can’t keep up with your pup’s speed, there are plenty of benches along the path where you can take a break, hydrate, bask in the sunshine, and even do some people and dog watching.

 

Walk Around the Silverlake Reservoir

One of the best things about LA is how many places there are for you to ditch the car and take your dog for a walk. One of our favorites is the Silverlake Reservoir. A little less than 3 miles around, it’s quite popular for walkers and joggers but also a quick way for you to turn an afternoon dog walk into an outdoor activity. The best part? There is an awesome dog park located along the path, so you can stop off at the end of your walk to give your dog a chance to run around off leash and play with the other pups!

 

Play Fetch at Your Local Dog Park

Speaking of the Silverlake Reservoir, next up on our list of outdoor activities for you and your dog is scoping out your local dog park. All you need to bring is your dog’s favorite tennis ball, frisbee, or maybe that stick your dog loves so much, and you have hours of fun awaiting you! Just like humans, dogs need to socialize and explore on their own. The dog park is the perfect place for a doggy play date or just a great way for you to let your dog run around off leash without having to travel far.

 

Play Hide and Seek In Your Backyard

There are tons of ways for you to keep your dog healthy with regular exercise without even leaving your backyard, like playing hide and seek outside. By placing treats around your yard, you aren’t only turning a fun game into an easy outdoor workout, but you’re also increasing your dog’s cognitive quickness and helping build your bond. Plus, seeing how excited your pup gets once he/she finally finds the treats is priceless.

 

Regardless of if you’re staying home or venturing out for a hike, getting outside and exercising with your dog is much easier (and more fun) than you may think! So, the next time the sun peeks through the clouds, try one of these five ways you can turn “exercise” into a fun activity for you and your pup!

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