Sleepover Guests

As many readers here are already familiar with Best Friends, it won’t come as a surprise that while staying and volunteering we also brought home a sleepover guest each night.  As you can probably imagine, this was yet another area that we planned for but also were not 100% sure how it worked, so let me share a bit about the experience.

Before we left, the hubby and I poured over pictures of the beautiful dogs that we might want to bring for a sleepover but without knowing which octagon they were at or how this all worked, we just tried to keep a mental list of those we may have wanted to “meet.”  Basically, you do need to volunteer in your animal’s area, so if you are volunteering in dogs you can’t take a bunny home for a sleepover etc.  Caregivers pretty much assume you’ll want to do a sleepover and are very excited to get their fur friends out of the kennels for a night.  There’s usually a list in the octagon regarding who is eligible to go, who has recently gone, what activities are allowed, ect.  For instance, we were considering taking Tig one night but although he can do sleepovers, he can’t stay in the cottages near the horses, so he was not an option.  We later also discovered that Dogtown HQ has a list of which dogs really need to do an overnight for whatever reason.  For instance, just as we were meeting Roxanne, she was snatched right out from under us we learned that she already had a sleepover date scheduled.  Roxanne was at the “top of the list” to go so it was awesome that she not only got to do a sleepover, we found the the next day she got to go on an outing as well.  Too cool.

So anyhow, the first sleepover guest was almost a no-brainer.  Lester and Michael were top contenders but in actuality, the moment Kevin  saw Magnolia, he said “my wife is gonna love her.”

Magnolia loves to walk

Magnolia loves to walk


He was right.  Sleepover dogs need to be “checked out” from the Dogtown HQ by 3:30 so don’t sweat that a volunteer shift lasts till 4:00.  It’s part of the process.  Once we decided on a dog, we went to HQ and received a sleepover bag of provisions and a questionnaire to fill out regarding how the sleepover went.  The staff in the octagon also gave us an extra blanket, a coat and in Magnolia’s case, some meds she needed to take along with a can of moist food.


Magnolia is an old soul in a young body.  She loves going for walks and never seems to tire of them but in the cottage she was all about deathing stuffies which I happily handed over and cleaned up one by one.



Being the pro that she is she also knew that the expectation is that all treats packed by the staff in the sleepover bag must be enjoyed and not returned, so again we were happy to oblige.

Although I invited her onto the bed a few times she quickly jumped back down and at bedtime settled on the sofa for the evening.  Knowing the sleepover is all about the guest, we left her to her preferred sleeping arrangements and wished her a snug goodnight.



Dogs are returned between 8:00 and 8:15 in the morning so when we pulled up to Old Friends, Magnolia who had been eager to be in the car, seemed disinclined to depart, so we took a quick walk while Kevin waited for the caretakers to meet him and collect her.

A polite passenger

A polite passenger


Sleepover night two went very similarly to night one in that one of us fell in love with a dog right away.  Surprisingly it was Kevin who fell and fell hard for Sidney  (Side note: if you too fall in love with Sidney but don’t live near Utah, a generous sponsor has prepaid her airfare to get “home.”) but like a kid in a candy shop who knew that of the hundreds of candies on display, only one could be taken, I couldn’t make up my mind.  In the end, it was the snuggle factor that won me over.  Going for a week without a dog to snuggle at night was way to long and though I respected Magnolia’s need for space, I really needed to bring home a “proven snuggler.”


Sidney who rocked the agility equipment in Tara’s Run and seemed so happy to take long hikes and explore was just as happy to “turn it off” and snuggle in the calm of the cottage.  The way both Sidney and Magnolia collapsed onto the sofa reminded me of something Corbin’s mama said about when their fosters really settle in for that deep, safe sleep.  These dogs are sleepover pros and although their housing situation is pretty posh for a kennel, it is still a kennel and you can really tell that they know: when we go on a sleepover we can totally decompress and just relax.


Sidney and I slept cuddled together (the cottages boast two double beds!) all night and on the occasion that I woke momentarily, she was happy to accept a brief pat or an ear scritch.  It was heavenly for both of us.  We all woke early the next morning and Kevin and I suddenly just didn’t want to take her back.  We just agonized over the inevitable and Sidney seemed to recognize our emotions and played to them.


We anthropomorphized all morning about how miserable she must be to go back but actually upon arriving back at her octagon, Sid jumped out of the car and into her waiting caretaker’s arms with an almost palpable air of “Oooh!  Breakfast!”   (Someone whose name rhymes with Shmevin may have gotten a bit emotional over the course of the morning while I remained a rock.  Or maybe I didn’t.)


Overall, if you enjoy the companionship of a dog (or cat or bunny) I heartily recommend doing a sleepover when you visit Best Friends.  It gives the animals a break from their routines, gives the caretakers a bit of insight on how the animals react to various situations and it gives you someone to love on while your own furbaby is at home.  Win-win-win.

Fostering Good Will

Some people have a special calling and if the stars align, they are able to pursue that path. I am not one of those people in the strictest sense. I have a good job, enjoy a steady work schedule and work for a company that encourages community involvement. Though I never expected to be in this industry, I’m fortunate to be in this situation. It allows me to pursue my animal care/advocacy avocation to a degree that makes me happy. It also allows for another in my home to fulfill his special calling from time to time.


When Julius came into my life, I’m convinced that he ran up to the right person but also convinced that it was because this person was walking a dog. Julius loves dogs. He loves going to day care, he loves people, life, children who are respectful, some treats, bully sticks, and all dogs. He is the dog who helped Ray deal with his reactivity and he is the dog who helps me welcome our temporary fosters. Juli’s calling is to be an ambassador of good will for all dogs.


Tora the A-Dora-Bull

Tora the A-Dora-Bull

When we brought in our beloved Tora, she was really able to shed some of her Mama persona and become a romping, happy young gal again with Julius. And if you are friends with me, or follow the boys on Facebook, you will have seen that we had anther visitor over the weekend.


Little Krispie captured my heart the moment I saw him. This sweet little puppy was sitting on his Kuranda bed, obviously overwhelmed and wondering where he was and why he was there. (Actually I think he was born in the shelter-the one we pulled him from-, adopted and returned with his collar imbedded in his neck-a lot in his few four months of life.) After visiting him a second time, he came carefully wiggling up to the door, so Asia and I entered his kennel and gave him some love and learned that he stunk. To high heaven.


We decided to bring him home for the evening for a bath and some puppy-lovin’ time but it almost didn’t happen. When I came to collect him he was afraid to leave his kennel and once out, afraid to walk past the other dogs to the extent that he pancaked. I made a calculated decision and picked him up and carried him to the pittie van where he settled happily into the cushions on the floor. We made a stop at greenDogGoods where he was gifted with some (much needed) shampoo and he helped me pick out a large rawhide for Ray, who he wouldn’t be meeting.

Water Break

When we got home, Asia put the Peaceabull boys in the house and we let Krispie get acquainted with the yard and when he looked pretty comfortable, we releashed him and brought Julius out on leash. We did a few intros and after just a few short minutes we could tell by their body language that they were going to be great friends. While I knew Julius would be fine, I wondered about Krispie who seemed so tentative at first, but he quickly became Julius’s little shadow. They played and romped both that evening and the next morning before Krispie was returned for what was to be his last day without a forever home and there was even a moment when Julius had to “correct” Krispie which went well.


All in all, I’m just bursting with pride over how much Julius embraces this role and how easy he makes it for other’s to have a bit of a break from the kennels and enjoy the comforts of a home.  Would Krispie been adopted so quickly otherwise?  I have no doubt that he would have.  Someone that stinking cute (well, less stinking after his visit) wasn’t going to stay homeless for long, but it was great to be able to give him some healthy interactions with Julius and with the baby.


Our calling.  When I brought Ray home, I had visions of being a great team of Ambassadors for his breed.  Now, I have two.  Ray does really well in public in general.  He has good leash skills, is quite calm and ignores most dogs but we keep him out of foster situations and extended one on ones.   He is my shopping and event ambassador.  Julius is my one on one dog ambassador and all around good party host who does well with most situations.  I feel like I hit the jackpot.

What is your dog’s “appetite” for entertaining guests?