Helping near and far

PR pups

Just two weeks ago, nine 6-week old pups and their mom were found abandoned on the beach near Barceloneta, Puerto Rico. Although the pups were starving, dehydrated, and obviously in need of medical care, the most that our rescue partner, Animalitos de Dios PR, could do was provide food, since all of their fosters were more than full. With their only hope being rescue, LDCRF was able to step in and say yes. Covered in fleas and infested with worms, the pups received the veterinary care needed to recover and fly to the mainland, although sadly two pups did not survive due to parasite overload. Within just a few days, they were headed to LDCRF, which meant they were also headed to health, safety, and new beginnings. In a foster home, they were soon eating, drinking, and happily playing with toys. Back in Puerto Rico, their mom has proven to be a challenge for volunteers – running quickly and evading capture – but they are hopeful they will be able to catch and neuter her soon.

PR pups3

The pups after rescue from the beach

Many dogs, cats, and puppies in Puerto Rico are not as lucky as the pups. Estimates of the number of stray and abandoned dogs in Puerto Rico range from 100,000 to 250,000. Obstacles to overcoming the pet overpopulation problem are many: few local adoption options, only five local animal shelters for the entire island, lack of belief in spay and neuter of pets, difficulty enforcing animal control and cruelty, and a poor economy. Several isolated beaches and areas, such as the beach where the pups were found, are used as dumping grounds for unwanted dogs and puppies. Local rescues bring much needed food and water to these areas, and take in as many adoptable dogs as possible. While spay and neuter is the only solution to the overpopulation problem, transport to the mainland sometimes provides the only hope for saving lives. When asked what changes she has seen in the last year, a volunteer with Animalitos de Dios PR said, “The number is increasing, and we don’t have enough resources or funds to rescue and save them!! I cry every day because I can’t help them all.”

Last week and much closer to home – just 200 miles south in Halifax, Virginia – seven schnauzers were in need of rehoming after their elderly owner had become overwhelmed with their care. A small rescue group in the area was able to take in the dogs and arrange transport to LDCRF. Once again, within days the schnauzers were groomed, given medical care, and ready to find new homes. Two have already found the homes they deserve, and the remaining schnauzers – Chance, Chip, Kassie, Smurfette, and Cody – can be found on the LDCRF website. The Puerto Rican pups will be ready for adoption in a few weeks, once they are spayed/neutered and filled with food and loving care.

LDCRF volunteers and donors make it possible to say yes when there are animals in need, both near and far. Thank you for supporting LDCRF, and for allowing us to save more lives and find them the homes that they deserve!


Kassie the schnauzer







Rose’s Journey Home

Flower pupsThis weekend, National Adoption Weekend, is the perfect time to meet the 11 week old Flower Pups. If their story, and that of their mom Rose, had taken place just 3 years ago, it would have had a very different ending. Their happy and healthy journey was made possible by a small group of volunteers, working with LDCRF, who are actively making a difference in the problem of pet homelessness.

We don’t know how Rose ended up stray and pregnant in Buchanan County, a small rural area in southwestern Virginia, but we do know that she didn’t let her difficult circumstances stop her from being trusting and loving. Finding her way to the home of a kind owner who fed her, she stayed nearby and played with the children each day when they got off the school bus. When it became apparent that Rose was pregnant, the owner realized that she could not take in a litter of puppies, and had her picked up by Animal Control and taken to the Buchanan County Animal Shelter. Although Rose was frightened in the shelter, she was still seeking love and affection, and caught the eye of a Buchanan County Humane Society (BCHS) member. Little did Rose know that her situation was about to change for the better, as BCHS started to work on her behalf. Soon, an LDCRF transport volunteer would be heading her way.

The Buchanan County Shelter where Rose found herself is located off the beaten path in a coal mining town. Changes in the local economy affected not only the residents but the animals as well – the locally funded shelter currently has only two full-time Animal Control officers and a part-time employee, without an employed vet. For many years, the number of animals euthanized far exceeded the number adopted, and rescues were rare. Two years ago, 9 very active members of the BCHS began to utilize social media – mainly Facebook – to bring the shelter and its animals to the public. By working with LDCRF and other rescue groups, adoption and rescue numbers are finally much greater than the death rate. It has been challenging work, and BCHS members often pick up and foster animals on their own, sometimes bottle feeding young animals to insure their future. Many challenges still remain in the community, the biggest being the lack of affordable spay/neuter surgery and the unwillingness of pet owners to obtain the surgery. However, BCHS members are determined to continue making progress, by advocating for their animals and reaching out to rescues, just as they did for Rose in February.

The rest of Rose’s story is all about “Yes!” – yes from LDCRF when asked if they could take Rose and her soon to be born pups; yes from a very determined LDCRF transport volunteer; and yes from WOOFS! Dog Training Center in Arlington, VA, when asked to provide a foster home at the last minute. With a heavy snowstorm bearing down and Rose acting more and more uncomfortable every hour, transport volunteer Sarah Brown knew that she had little time to waste on her drive back to Northern VA. Making some last minute decisions about drop-off of the other dogs in her care, Sarah made it to WOOFS! with just 6 hours to spare before the Flower Pups were born.

Help us keep saying “Yes!” to ending the problem of pet homelessness by attending an LDCRF adoption event and taking advantage of our people-friendly adoption process. And don’t forget to pet the Flower Pups, who will be at the Saturday Seven Corners adoption event and the Reston Pet Fiesta – they’re very happy to celebrate National Adoption Weekend with you!


A little tail of love

Abby and Nala2

Abby (left) and Nala (right) being fed in Juncos

Each morning before their work days begin, volunteers from Colitas de Amor (“Little Tails of Love”) en Juncos, a five member animal rescue group in eastern Puerto Rico, head down an isolated, narrow, and long road that ends at the town’s municipal landfill. This unlit one mile route, along which garbage trucks speed recklessly, is where the volunteers find the daily group of stray and abandoned animals, some new and some old friends. Too many times they also find boxes with kittens and puppies inside, left at the edge of the road at the entrance to the landfill. They bring food along with medical supplies to deworm and vaccinate most of the dogs oImagen-site, and work slowly to capture and spay all of the females. However, most of the dogs must remain on the street, awaiting a spot to open up in their limited foster homes, which only occurs when other animals have been adopted locally or transported to a rescue organization on the mainland. Funds for medical care and transport come primarily from their own incomes, although they receive some donations through their Facebook page. Sadly, the amount of abandoned animals has increased since the group began feeding them, possibly because residents now view the rescue group as a solution to the pets they no longer want. Despite all of these obstacles, Colitas de Amor has rescued more than 100 dogs and cats in the past year, and several have made their way to LDCRF.

Last November, two beautiful female lab pups, both very skinny and very shy, appeared along the route one day. Weeks passed while volunteers worked to gain their trust and to secure a foster home. In early December, pups Nala and Abby were finally rescued, given veterinary care, fostered, and provided with all the love and socialization that they needed. Last step – securing the $300 to $350 needed to fly a healthy dog to the US and coordinating transport with LDCRF – and Nala and Abby, now 6 months old, were on their way. An animals’ journey from a difficult situation to home, via LDCRF, can be long or short, complicated or simple. In Nala’s case, it began with the passion and commitment of a handful of volunteers in Juncos, Puerto Rico, and ended with a little bit of magic. After leaving Puerto Rico on a Friday morning and boarding two flights, Nala caught the eye and heart of the pilot of her final flight into Dulles Airport.  He had been considering adopting a dog for his family, and he noticed both Nala and Abby in the cargo area when they landed. That night, he attended the Friday Fair Lakes adoption event, where Nala became part of his family. Nala’s new dad says, “My family is so fortunate to have been given the opportunity to adopt her – she is such a sweet dog. As my wife told me, Nala adopted us, so we are equally fortunate to have her in our home.”


Nala in her new home

Happy endings like Nala’s, and Abby’s adoption by a wonderful couple that weekend, make all of the long hours worth it for volunteers from Colitas de Amor.  However, their goal is to accomplish even more than happy endings – they want to educate residents about the need for spay and neuter, and change attitudes concerning the neglect and indiscriminate abandonment of animals. One volunteer explains, “Besides using our Facebook page for promotion of adoptions, we use it to educate about spaying, since it is the main factor to control the overpopulation of poor dogs we see not only on our route but all through Puerto Rico. And we wish for more opportunities like the golden tickets Nala and Abby had through Lost Dog and Cat Rescue Foundation!!!”


The sweet chihuahuas’ journey from West Virginia to home, and how you can help us save even more lives

ImageWhile the number of stray dogs in Mingo County, West Virginia, is nothing like the dramatic situation in Sochi, Russia, it is still a huge challenge in an area with one animal pound and a small rescue group that runs a no-kill shelter. The group – Save Our Strays (S.O.S.) Animal Shelter – began in 2005 with a handful of individuals concerned about the treatment of dogs and cats in their area, with no functioning animal shelter at that time. Eventually, after an acre of land was donated to the group, a small office trailer was purchased, and outdoor kennels built for dogs that could not be placed into foster. Change happened slowly – local vets began offering reduced rates for medical care, and a county shelter was established with rescue-minded personnel. But the challenges of a significant stray population, low incident of spay/neuter, and cases of neglect and hoarding are tough on their shoe-string budget and limited foster availability.

The situation in which Millicent, above, and several other Chihuahuas were found – alone and starving in a home in which the owner had died – was unfortunately not shocking to rescue volunteers. S.O.S. was able to take many of the dogs, including pregnant moms, into foster, and care for them throughout the birth of their pups. Transport was then arranged to LDCRF, where they all received love and medical care. While many of the pups will not be ready for adoption for 2-3 weeks (sneak peek of Next Door Pups below), Mercy has already been adopted, and super sweet Mozart, who loves to cuddle and be held, and friendly Momma Muzak, are ready to find their new homes. Millicent will be ready when her tiny two pups are weaned.

Things are looking up for S.O.S., and, as Board Member Vicki Lipps says, “It’s kind of nice that something good is finally happening in Mingo County!” Since working with LDCRF and other rescues, the Mingo County Animal Pound has not euthanized any animals since November. The county now offers low cost spay/neuter for adopted dogs, which residents are beginning to take advantage of.

LDCRF has played a big part in changing the situation in Mingo County. We can continue to save more lives by increasing our base of transport volunteers, so that we can bring more animals from the West Virginia area into the LDCRF family.  Volunteers drive primarily to either Staunton or Toms Brooks, Virginia, although transport is sometimes needed in other areas, and bring the dogs and cats back to the Lost Dog Ranch or Northern Virginia area. No commitment is required, and you can participate when you are available. For more information or to sign-up to become a transport volunteer, e-mail


It’s game on for our puppies this weekend!

Are your thoughts turning to the big game and the Puppy Bowl on Sunday? Then make time to stop by LDCRF adoption eImagevents, where we promise non-stop action in the puppy pen. This weekend’s players – the 11 week old Eight is Enough lab/shepherd pups and 8 week old Molly’s Originals lab blends – both hail from West Virginia, and promise lots of sweet puppy kisses along with a few tackles and puppy mayhem. All of the players on the 8 is Enough team are expected to be 45-55 pounds when full grown (although mom, available soon, is 35 pounds), but Tootsie, weighing in at 12 pounds, will be excellent at holding the defensive line. Although Molly’s Originals are a bit younger, they show a lot of early promise. If they are anything like mom Molly, a 50 pound lab mix who adores people, they will be gems. Sunday Waffles shows the smarts and inquisitive nature of a cornerback; but Candy Crush, Sugar Rush, and Penny Lane are all ready to be very sweet team players.

The game plan for getting the pups to weekend adoption events is of course a team effort, and every member is valuable. Our rescue partners in Logan and Fayette Counties, West Virginia, helped move the moms and pups out of shelters or cold conditions into foster homes in their areas. Molly’s Originals were found and fostered after being born in a backyard in early January – just before that first arctic weather hit –before being moved to dedicated LDCRF puppy fosters. Puppy fosters are an important part of our rescue, since pups are born without a fully active immune system, and the possibility of disease or virus transmission – including parvo, distemper, and upper respiratory infections – is too great in communal areas such as shelters and even our Lost Dog Ranch. Since both the litters were moved into foster at an early age, they were coached in love and given lots of socialization. The pups can’t play their best if they’re not healthy, so they all received full veterinary care, including spay/neuter, several dewormings, and bordetella and parvo/distemper vaccines.  They also can’t catch the ball without a good diet; on average, a mother and 8 puppies that will grow to be 40-50 pounds as adults will consume 400 lb. of kibble and 266 cans of high quality puppy food while in foster care,

Almost every weekend kicks off a new bunch of players in the puppy pen. For fans of smaller dogs, don’t miss the Next Door pups, currently 4-5 week old Chihuahua blends, arriving at events in 2-3 weeks. Mom Peyton (who also answers to Russell), promises to be one of the best quarterbacks ever – sweet but protective of her pups, she seems to have adopted 3 pups from another litter. Mom Peyton and the pups are such a great team, that they are named after Seahawks and Broncos players – Wes, Decker, Bailey, Percy, Sherman, and Wilson (see sneak peek below!).

Take in all of the puppy pen action at our Fair Lakes PetSmart (12971 Fair Lakes Center, Fairfax, VA) adoption event this Friday, January 31st, 6:30-8:30 PM, where both litters will be hoping for touchdowns by finding the loving homes that they deserve.  Any remaining Molly’s Original’s pups will attend the Saturday Seven Corners event (12:00-3:00 PM), and remaining 8 is Enough pups will be at the Saturday Rockville event (1:00-4:00 PM).  Please check our website at for maps and directions, as well as availability following the Friday Fair Lakes adoption event. Image

What Happened to Mom?

The puppies waiting to be rescued

The puppies waiting to be rescued

When we posted our story of the rescue of the Poet Pups, we got some great feedback and the same question from several readers: “What happened to the mother dog?” We want to thank everyone who asked, because that is an important question! The mom to the Poet Pups, Mercedes, is doing just fine at our kennel facility, The Lost Dog Ranch. She was very thin when she was rescued and needed to be separated from the pups and treated to her own TLC. She is gaining weight rapidly and looking brighter and healthier every day. She will soon be looking for a home to call her own, just like her puppies.

We’re so happy that many people share concern not just about the puppies, but also the mother dogs. Too often, we see mother dogs that have been discarded at a shelter, and it’s heartbreaking. At LDCRF we have a policy to never leave Momma Dogs or Momma cats behind. If we bring the puppies or kittens into rescue, Momma is always part of the deal. Occasionally, we have even been able to rescue Mom and Dad!

Stories like these are one of the many reasons that our foster homes are so important – had we not had a foster home for the puppies, we wouldn’t have been able to help them or their sweet Mom. Whether you’re fostering a dog, a litter of puppies or kittens or fostering a cat, you’re making these rescues possible. You can learn more about fostering and join us in our mission to find more dogs and cats a place to call home in 2014 here.

photo 1(1)

Mercedes waiting at the shelter for LDCRF to pick her up!

Mercedes at LDCRF, warm and cozy in her jacket and starting to fill out.

Mercedes at LDCRF, warm and cozy in her jacket and starting to fill out.

The Poet Pups: From Freezing to Foster!

poetpups1Update: For those wondering about mom, not to worry! She is also safe and sound (and warm) with LDCRF. Her name is Mercedes, and she was emaciated, so is getting a lot of extra TLC from our staff. Once she is ready, she too will be looking for a home!

If the Poet Pups, 12 week old beagle/boxer blends, could talk, they would say that they had a home before coming to LDCRF last Sunday from Essex County, Virginia. This is what “home” meant to them:  wooden shipping palettes nailed together and covered with a tarp, forming an enclosure that held no water or food. Their painfully thin momma was nearby – as she always was, since she couldn’t move far with her heavy 2 foot long chain – lying in a patch of snow against the fence, her water bowl frozen over. And all of this had been the only home they had known, since being born outside on October 19th.

Last Saturday, they did not know that dangerous cold weather would be arriving in just 3 days, so cold that their makeshift shelter would not protect them. They also did not know that their owner had called the Essex County Animal Shelter to have them picked up, and that animal control employees had been working tirelessly to find them a rescue. When animal control arrived that day and lifted the tarp, the pups tumbled out, breaking the thin ice that had formed on top of a nearby mud puddle, and then drinking the muddy water.  Used to always being cold, they walked hunched over to the garden, where some started to eat the tilled dirt.

Having endured 2 ½ months of increasingly cold weather, they were finally on the road to warmth, food, and love – everything you find in a real home. Picked up by LDCRF on Sunday after their first safe and warm night in the shelter, they were immediately taken to Blue Ridge Veterinary Associates for care, and then moved into a foster home. Skinny but healthy, their personalities are starting to emerge – Maya Angelou is the sweet one, Edgar Allen Poe likes to cuddle, and Walt Whitman is a bit of a bully – and they are ready for the next step.

Want to be part of their journey home?  Come meet the Poet Pups – Walt, Maya, Edgar, Alfred, Byron, Langston, Pablo, and Robert – at our Fair Lakes PetSmart (12971 Fair Lakes Center, Fairfax, VA) adoption event this Friday, January 10th, 6:30-8:30 PM, and see how much sweeter life can be with some puppy love.  If any pups are still available after Friday, they will attend the Saturday Rockville, MD Petco adoption event (1:00-4:00 PM), and the Sunday Tysons Corner, VA PetSmart event (1:00-4:00 PM). Please check our website at for maps and directions, as well as availability following the Friday Fair Lakes adoption event.


This slideshow requires JavaScript.