17 Days until Cassidy comes home

A little about Cassidy’s new pack (part 2)


Image Ripple was the youngest dog that we’ve adopted. She was just three months old when I brought her home, after she had been transported up to Jersey from the South. Surrendered to a rescue group by her owner who was too busy to care for her, Ripple was listed on the registry as Australian Shepherd/Boxer mix.  These are two breeds that Mike and I love, so I immediately put in an application for her.

Rescue groups will often find that they have  to guess at the breeds of the dogs they take in, which is no easy task. Consider the Heinz 57 dogs, that can be the culmination of many generations of mixed breeds, and young pups like Ripple, because they change.

We had the dog DNA tested and she came back as Boxer/Lab, etc. It matters not. We love Ripple, even if she has become my biggest challenge.

ImageAs a puppy, Ripple loved three things: jumping, running and chewing. She destroyed all of my couch pillows as well as one of the futons they had accented. She also ate part of a wall. (Crate training her would have saved us from all of this, but we hadn’t done that until later.)

As a young dog, Ripple had all of our other dogs beat when it came to jumping on people. She would get so friendly-excited when someone came to call that she could easily knock over a guest. If a visitor stopped by, I would always have to leash The Tornado, and by the end of their stay, I would be exhausted and sore.


Mike and I love having well trained dogs. Lexi and Chloe had been very well behaved and well socialized. They could be trusted off-leash in almost any situation. Even Zach, who had been a challenge because of his aggression, had become good with people, tolerant of other animals, and reliable off leash.

Ripple was not like our other dogs. She has always been excitable and insecure, with the capacity for overwhelming any situation. She could also be a brute to other dogs. Whenever we go out on our walks the smells and sights distracted her so that she ignors our commands. And in the event that we encounter another canine, even though we’ve had many dog visitors that Ripple had gotten along with, and I had taken her to group obedience classes, the hair rises on her back and she growls.


I believe this behavior is rooted in a fear of strange dogs for which I am responsible. In the picture on the right, Zach and Ripple are posing so nicely together. Immediately after it was taken, Zach attacked her. This was a common occurrence for Ripple early on. Zach did not like her excitability and he despised being encroached upon by others. Although, the two pack-mates eventually got along, and I think that Ripple grieved when Zach passed, I did not do enough to insulate her from Zach’s wrath when we first brought her home.

I am determined to prevent a similar dynamic for Cassidy and Ripple.

Friday’s blog: Planning for a smooth homecoming. 


18 days until Cassidy comes home

A little about Cassidy’s new pack (part 1)


Pebbles and Bam Bam

We adopted these cats last year after their mother had been killed by a car. Mike had found a mouse in our pantry, and we had been talking about getting a cat. So when the parent of one of my students found these guys under her porch we decided to take them in.


They were just three weeks old when I brought them home in a cardboard box. They had huge bellies and short legs and could barely walk. I had gone out and bought supplies.  Mike and I had never owned cats, much less infants, and had nothing for them. I bought this little stringy ball toy, thinking they’d have some fun. Mike and I watched with bated breath as the kittens made absolutely no attempt to play with it.

(Our daughter Jillian feeding Pebbles.)




Funny, because a few weeks later they were into everything.

(The photo of our dancing kitties was taken by Lee Ingraham)





One of our concerns in introducing a new dog to our home is the safety of our cats. Our plan is to bring Cassidy into the fold slowly. We’ll keep her in a wire crate at first, so she can watch and learn, and the other animals can get used to her as well. This way we can see her reaction to the cats, too. When she is out and about she’ll have to be leashed, until she understands the house rule about cats: We don’t chase them.  

Tomorrow’s Blog: Ripple.

19 days until Cassidy comes home

Some of the dogs that we’ve adopted from rescue


While not technically a rescue, because we adopted Lexi from a friend who found her too much to handle, we were Lexi’s third home. She came to us when she was two, and while only time could limit her energy and impulsiveness, Mike and I consider her to be that once in a lifetime dog.
Lexi died following a seizure when she was twelve.


Like many of our dogs, Chloe came from the South. She was a stray in Virginia who was picked up by a dog warden, and was about to be euthanized on the spot. She was rescued from that fate by two women who contacted a herding dog rescue group. They arranged for her to be brought to the Bronx, where she was treated for mange and malnutrition. When she was healthy enough she was put on the registry.
She came to live with us as a bright and well mannered one-year-old who had a tendency to bring household items out through the doggie door.
Chloe passed away from cancer when she was eight.


Zach was our oldest rescue. He was five when he came to live with us, and we knew at the time that he would be a challenge. Fearful and non trusting, Zach had a tendency to growl and snap when someone came near him. He was also a runner, who liked chasing cars. I learned a great deal from Zach about the affect that a new dog can have on an established pet. I had assumed that Zach would learn good manners from Chloe, who had been a model dog. In fact the opposite happened. Chloe began running, and chasing cars, too. After some training and hug therapy Zach became a dog that we could trust both on and off leash. Towards the end of Zach’s life he became a well behaved, well mannered dog , who would actually go to people, seeking affection.
Zach died following a seizure when he was eight.

20 days until Cassidy comes home.

How we came to adopt Cassidy.

Our dog Zach died suddenly. Seizures. After three years in our home, The Australian Shepherd mix with the crooked face and single eye had finally gotten to where

Imagewe could trust him. I believe this was because he came to trust us.

Then he was gone.

We wanted to adopt another dog, (we like having pairs) but decided that Ripple could use some one-on-one time. She’d been a challenge from the time we brought her home as a three-month-old pup. I nicknamed her The Tornado.

I feared that bringing a new dog into our lives, before Ripple responded better to commands would only double our challenges.

I devoted time to working with her every day for several weeks, and she’d been doing well. I also regularly checked Petfinder.com to see if there was a dog in our area that might be a good match for us.

Petfinder www.petfinder.com is a database where people can search for adoptable pets by zip code. We adopted our last three dogs through this site.

But this time finding the right match was going to be more difficult, because we had recently adopted cats.

Our criteria:

We needed a cat-friendly dog

that could get along with other dogs

and that we could train for off leash.

We thought we had found a perfect match; a one-year-old Australian Cattle Dog mixed named Puddy. There had been no warnings about cats or other dogs near his post, he was listed as having a good temperment, and he seemed to be about Ripple’s size.

I Googled the breed and learned that Australian Cattle Dogs were highly trainable, but required strong leadership, because they tended to become Alpha dogs. This was not necessarily a deal breaker, as Mike and I have some experience with strong-willed dogs, and Ripple is a born follower. The fact that Puddy was listed as having a good temperment gave me reason to believe that he was easy going.

Puddy was available through Crossing Paths animal rescue www.xpar.org. I clicked on the application on Puddy’s page and filled it out.

A few days later someone from the group called me and gave the phone number of Robin, the woman who had been fostering Puddy. I called and spoke to her about the dog. As soon as Robin heard about our other pets she suggested that Puddy would not be a good choice, as he seemed to hate cats and was bossy with other dogs. She said that she had two dogs in her home that would do very well, however; a 5 month old shepherd dog, named Ryder and a Border Collie mix named Sabrina. As with all of the pets sponsored through this group, these pups had been rescued from a kill shelter. Robin said she would cat test both dogs for us.

It was very difficult to choose between these two beautiful dogs. We had hoped than one do better than they other during the cat-test, and that would make our mind’s up. In the end, they both did well. We decided to adopt Sabrina because it seemed that should would grow to be a little smaller than Ryder.


Mike came up with the name Cassidy.

21 days until Cassidy comes home


I’m Mimi Rosen from Upstate New York. I live with my husband, Michael, a two-year old Boxer/Lab mix named Ripple, and our cats Pebbles and Bam Bam.The Australian Shepherd mix pictured with us is our dog, Zach. He passed away several weeks ago. He was five when he came to live with us.

Zach was awesome.


We are ready to adopted another dog – a six month old border collie mix that we will call Cassidy. She will be our fifth dog from rescue. She was pulled from a kill shelter by a group called Crossing Paths www.xpar.org. This is an organization that saves dogs from shelters in Alabama, which are busting at the seams with unwanted pets.  People from groups like Crossing Paths work hard to find their rescues forever homes in other parts of the country. What champions! They were also wonderful in helping us choose the right dog.

The purpose of this blog is to chronicle Cassidy’s journey (and ours) for one year as she joins our family, and to provide information and fun facts about dogs. It’s also my small way of drawing attention to the rescue organizations who help so many families find wonderful, loving pets that would otherwise have been euthanized.

I invite others to comment and add their experiences.

Cassidy will join our family on December 15.