Happy Adoption Day Ann Marie!


A year ago today Tom and I adopted our dog Ann Marie. The year has gone by fast, yet it seems like we have had her forever. We adopted her from the San Clemente/Dana Point Animal Shelter . She is not the dog we thought we were looking for at all, but it is apparent that she is exactly the dog we were meant to have. She is a pure bred mutt. Her DNA results say that one of her parents was half Shar Pei and one parent was half Chow Chow. The rest is a mix of other breeds, none of them terrier, but she looks like a terrier.


Ann Marie is scruffy, spotty, long legged and chesty. She loves pillows, toys, chasing and being chased. She does not like to be left alone in strange places and will find a way to escape if she is (she has done this four times in the last year!). She can be timid and shy at times but also has some rough and tumble in her. Whenever I raise my voice, whether I am excited, angry or simply being boisterous, she assumes she is in trouble. She very rarely barks, except in her sleep (quite often) or when she is at the dog park and wants another dog to play. She “talks” to me almost every day when I get home. She is about the sweetest tempered dog that you will ever meet.

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She is overjoyed to see me each night when I come home from work and won’t go to bed until I do. She keeps me on track with my walking by demanding a walk most days when I get home, regardless of how many walks Tom has taken her on during the day. She lays with her head on my leg when I am not feeling well and looks sufficiently sympathetic. She watches out the window for us to come home when we have gone out.

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Ann Marie has turned out to be the perfect dog for us. Athletic, but not obnoxious; not big, but not small; sweet but spunky; and loyal to a fault. We almost passed right by her at the shelter because the sign on her kennel said she was “returned”. We had to work with her on a few “behaviors” she had and, except for the panic when she is left in a strange place, she is pretty problem free.


Finding her at the shelter prompted us to volunteer for the Pet Project Foundation at the shelter. This has been extremely rewarding. While I realize it is “one more thing” that I do each week, it is one of my favorite things and I find it very therapeutic. I get to walk, play with and cuddle dogs that need and deserve love – some of whom have had very difficult lives. I am not “in-charge” of anything but myself and the dog I am working with. I come in, do my shift and go home. I expect nothing, but am generally rewarded with a great deal of affection from the dogs that I interact with. It costs me nothing but my time and I feel like I am making a difference.


If you are considering getting a pet, please adopt one from your local shelter or a rescue foundation. Save an animal from either a lifetime in a shelter or, worse yet, being euthanized. Your best friend is waiting for you – go find them at your local animal shelter.


It has been a week of mixed emotions when it comes to pets. While we are so happy to celebrate a year with Ann Marie, we are also very sad about the passing of our lovely red bird, Molly. Molly was somewhere between 18 and 20 years old and had been part of our family for the last 12 years or so and prior to that belonged to Tom’s mom. She passed away during the early morning hours of Wednesday, February 13, 2013. It was not totally unexpected, but still it hit us hard. She was a lovely little bird and we miss her.

Rest In Peace Pretty Red Bird

Rest In Peace Pretty Red Bird


  1. Looks like you found a wonderful friend in Ann Marie. We also plan to adopt a dog from a shelter when the kids are a little older. Thanks for sharing your story with her. Very sorry to hear about Molly.

  2. I always love to hear stories of the adopted dogs from the San Clemente/Dana Point Animal Shelter. She was a favorite of the walkers and she is very blessed that you adopted her. You both are very loving and devoted dog/pet owners. Thanks you both for all your hours of volunteering as dog handlers!

  3. Thank you for all you do for PPF. I loved Ann Marie since I first saw her at the shelter (I also volunteer) and I am SO happy she “found” you. Ann Marie is adorable and has a loving home with you both. So sorry about your birdie, Molly.

  4. Teri Hi,

    Great story!
    I am a recent volunteer at The San Clemente Dog Shelter, When I first visited the shelter I was sad to see of all the dogs in need of a home. I had no idea how quickly most of them found the home they so longed for. I should not have been surprised! Every time I go to work I want to bring one of them home!
    I only work for three hours a week but it is the most rewarding three hours of my week. Happy for you and Ann Marie, may she bring you many more years of happiness!

    Mike Shaw.

  5. I am a recent volunteer at The San Clemente Dog Shelter, When I first visited the shelter I was sad to see of all the dogs in need of a home. I had no idea how quickly most of them found the home they so longed for. I should not have been surprised! Every time I go to work I want to bring one of them home!

  6. I was happy to hear that Anne Marie found you. I enjoyed working with her while she was with us at the shelter. I adopted one of the dogs that came in with her from being confiscated. Charlie kept his name as it was all he knew and has proven to be a great companion and fits right in to the family.

    Welcome aboard to the shelter. I hope to meet Anne Marie’s parents some day when I’m there walking the clients who like Anne Marie and Charlie are
    searching for a home.

    • Thank you for all of the comments. Both Tom and I enjoy volunteering very much. I was at the shelter last night. Since we were kind of low on dogs, i had time to spend about 30 minutes combing Paulie’s knots out. I think we both felt better after! As far as Ann Marie goes, we truly believe she was meant for us. It was just by luck that she was “returned” and that nobody else took her home before we went to the shelter on a whim. She is stretched out at my feet as I write this. Cheers and we will see you at the Whale Parade!