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Behind the scenes: Q & A with volunteer from Newark Humane Society

(Featured image above is of Sherri Powell and my rescue, Shadow, at an adoption event moments before we took him home :))

Are you passionate about animals? Do you have the strong hopes that one day the thousands of animals in shelters will find their forever homes? If you do, you will find yourself in the same boat as one of the most dedicated, kind, and animal craze person I have been fortunate enough to meet, Sherri Powell.


Talking from personal experience, I have had the honor of rescuing the most sweetest, most gentle dog I could ask for, Shadow. I was searching for months and months in hopes that I would find the “perfect” addition to our family. Without the help of Sherri Powell, I am unsure if this would have been possible. She is a volunteer at the Newark Humane Society. Please check out the interview I did with her via email! You don’t want to miss it!


When did you begin volunteering? 

January 2014


What made you want to volunteer?

I ran into an Animal lover like myself while at PetSmart shopping for cat and dog food…and she suggested I help volunteer with her at the JAC in So. Orange (they closed shortly after, which is why I started volunteering at the Newark shelter)


How long have you been volunteering for?

3 years (I’m fairly new, and have accomplished quite a bit. I now run Adoption Events and Pack Hikes on the weekends).


How many hours a week do you put in volunteering?

Many, but that’s because I have extended myself through social media…so many people contact me about animals via texts and private messages. (But actual shelter time hours are, 15 to 20 hours per week)


What gets you out of bed in the morning?

(How do you get out of bed on your days off to do this?) The perpetual drive of trying to get animals (both dogs and cats) out of the shelter! It’s easy to get out of bed when you know if you are helping get animals adopted, you have saved their lives!!!


How would your friends describe you?

They often have very kind words! I don’t & never will view myself as “heroic” or “angelic”…. I only do what comes natural to me! I LOVE animals, I love being around them, & I love when I and ALL the other volunteers can save them!!


How many animals have you adopted because of volunteering?

I have only technically adopted 2, but I have many in my house that I have taken off the streets. I battle with my husband because I want to save them all, but he is the realistic one that has to keep me in check, because if he wasn’t there to tell me no – I would have more then what I can handle.


How many animals do you have?

I have 2 dogs and 10 cats and I take care of my 5 feral cats that live outside.


Tell me a story about one of your most difficult adoptions or moments while volunteering.

There are SO MANY difficult times, ESPECIALLY when the Senior animals get dropped off by their family and thrown into a noisy, overcrowded kill shelter! To watch these animals curl up in a fetal position and shake themselves so bad that it looks like they are seizing and to watch them literally cry tears, is one of the hardest things ever for me to witness!!! But the MOST DIFFICULT time I’ve had to deal with and still haunts me until this day – and never leaves my mind, not for a minute or second of any day, is the day after Thanksgiving (Nov. 25, 2016) when I went to bring my boy Ike leftovers from TG dinner (I am a Vegetarian and I was bringing him all the meat I don’t eat and other table scraps) and the evaluators brought me outside across from the shelter and told me the shelter had euthanized my boy Ike! I cried for two hours straight while there, then at home and now as I’m typing this.

He was the BEST dog EVER! HE was EXTREMELY HIGHLY ADOPTABLE, HE HAD NO ISSUES what so ever!!! When I asked why, they said he was there too long and had no interest…..which was not true – there were other dogs there longer and my boy Ike did get an application at one of my adoption events. When I brought this to admin’s attention…it fell on Deaf ears.

But I call Ike my Martyr – because of his death and my pain, my co-adoption event coordinators had a meeting with the director and they are now trying to work with us and not euthanize event dogs and cats. (but unfortunately nothing is ever a guarantee there and each and every time I step foot through those shelter doors, I have to take a deep breath and hope and pray my precious babies are still there for me to try and help save them!!!!!)


Final question, how do you select the dogs you take to the adoption events?

If I feel they will make a good family member, I bring them on my adoption events. The dogs I Bring on my hikes are also dogs that can be good family members but they are usually dogs that are not appropriate for adoption events because the majority of the time they do not get along with other dogs. Now, this doesn’t go for all of them but it goes for a good portion of them… Even for my adoption events I have many times brought dogs that don’t get along with other dogs but they have such unique stand out personalities and really show true love for a human and that is why I will select them for an adoption event.



If you are interested in helping and volunteering for the AHS, please get all the information here!

If you are interested in attending an adoption event, please visit the PetSmart in Kearny, NJ and talk to Sherri Powell! She is also be reached via social media.


A very special thanks goes out to all of you volunteers who spend hours upon hours for free just to see these animals get another chance at a future home. Sherri Powell, I will forever be thankful for everything you do and have done for me, personally. You are truly a special person and WE all thank you!




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Rescues are my favorite breed: Quick tips on how to rescue your perfect rescue!

(Photo above from


If your one of those lucky owners who decided to rescue a dog, look no further then here. I’m happy to share some of my own personal experiences with my rescue, as well as some other helpful hints and suggestions of others.


If someone were to tell me that rescuing a dog was going to be easy, they were sadly mistaken. It can be very challenging, but it is very rewarding, as well. Here are some helpful hints to consider when rescuing a dog


  • Mistaken Identity: There are many dogs that are put into these shelters who have suffered a bad past. Though, we may never know truly what they went through, we do know that dogs are very forgiving and offer second, third, and fourth chances to their caregivers. Sometimes we also find dogs to be labeled incorrectly at these facilities. This video says it all. Tip #1: Be open minded and do your research on the animal. Set up visits so you can go and interact with the dog you plan to adopt. Do not always “judge a book by its cover.”


Personal Photo of our rescue, Shadow!


  • Be Comfortable and Ask Questions: This was a big one for my own personal experience. I was interesting in rescuing a dog. This “ideal” dog had to be kid- friendly for my seven year old. This is a pretty essential quality I needed my dog to possess, but I was determined. I was told on numerous occasions to get a puppy or stray away from the “Pit Bull” breed, but I did not listen. Instead, I did my research and met with many volunteers at countless shelters. I ended up getting in contact with a volunteer at the Newark Human Society, over two hours from where I live. The volunteer was amazing. She sent me numerous videos of the dog and was willing to go above and beyond to help answer any uncertainties I possessed. She made me feel comfortable. Sure enough, we drove the few hour journey and the dog was everything she said and more. I’ll share the tip with you this volunteer shared with me. Tip #2: Be sure to be comfortable with the person you at getting the dog from and ask everything you can think of and more. After all, this dog needs to fit with your family and lifestyle. (Q&A to follow next week with this volunteer).


  • Patience: Patience is sometimes the most difficult but most needed quality to possess when rescuing a dog. This dog entering “your” world has yet to experience the world you are placing him and/or her in. They do not know your expectations and/or rules you have in mind for them. You need to allow the rescue time to adjust and get comfortable. You should refrain from taking the dog out and about and resist the temptation to “show off” the new member of your family. Allow some quiet time and start with small trips and gradually increase the amount of time you leave your pet for. Crate training is usually recommended, but varies person to person and what your ideal situation is for your pet. Tip #3: All good things come with time.


  • Obedience Training: Be prepared to get your rescue some obedience training. There are some really great trainers and one who I would personally recommend, Above and Beyond Dog Training. After all, the basic don’t jump on the table, don’t pee on the floor, or drop your toy may not be so familiar to your rescue. They may requite some brushing up on certain skills. But, it is a great way to bond with your dog and truly make your family a whole. Tip #4: Do not assume your rescue knows your expectations and/or rules. Be sure to get some training if your dog seems to lack a few desired rules.



At the end of the day, just know, that everything you put into your dog will be rewarded back to you through their endless love and affection they be still on you everyday. Keep these tips in mind when you are planning to rescue a dog.


Did you know: According to Statistic Brain in 2016, five million animals entered animal shelters nationwide annually. Out of the five million animals, 3.5 million are euthanized at shelters.

** Please, lets lower these numbers and make more apart of our families.


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Are you interested in getting personalized items of your pets? Well you’ve come to the right place

“Rachel Faye Art”

I wanted to give something to those out there who are as passionate about their pets as I am! I wanted to show you an artist, who I personally bought from, and who does outstanding artwork for pets!



Let me introduce, Rachel Faye. She is a current art teacher at a special needs school. She  does incredible work inside and outside of school. Her side job is pretty similar to everyday job; she does art. Though she does take on whatever obstacle her costumers want, she does an outstanding job with pet focused artwork. From ornaments to canvases, Rachel does it all. Shown above is a sample of the photographs Rachel takes and hand paint onto Christmas balls. The going cost of these ornaments are $75. They are shatterproof balls and their paint lasts. I have had mine for seven years now and still just as beautiful as the day I bought it!


Shown above is a another sample of Rachel Faye’s artwork. She painted this lovely painting for a costumer. So not only does Rachel paint for seasonal items, but also items you can use to decorate your house all year long. It is great for personalized and meaningful gifts.



(The Animal Orphanage Voorhees, NJ)

Rachel has and will always have a passion for animals, as many of us do. She volunteers and also paints for some of her favorite Vets and animal orphanages out there and really has a soft spot in her heart for animals. She displays her work from Etsy, Instagram, and her very own website. Shown above is a sample of some painting Rachel Faye did at The Animal Orphanage in Voorhees, NJ.



I personally buy her products every year around Christmas. They make great gifts and even better sentimental value to my Christmas Tree! This picture below is of my beloved rescue, Shadow! Her talent and love for animals are endless!


Permission to use photographs by Rachel Faye Bush


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Myth or Fact: Which ones are true or false about dog?

Are these stories you hear about dogs “all bark and no bite?” Well today, we are going to take a look into some of these accusations and find out which ones are myths and which are true.


Pit Bulls have lockjaw:

This one falls under the big MYTH category. There are no dog breeds that have such jaw locking capability. From an article in NatGeo, Rebecca O’Connor  writes to clear up the stereotypes about this jaw locking super power people believe Pit Bulls acquire. The previous belief that jaw locking Pit Bulls exert 1600 pounds per square inch of force with their bite cannot be more of a myth. They exert 235 pounds per square inch which is less than the average dog’s bite force of 320 pounds per square inch. During temperament testing, an astonishing 86.8% of Pit Bulls have passed. Pit Bulls ranked fourth in line of the 122 breeds that were tested. They even scored higher than Collies, Golden Retrievers, and Beagles.

Dog’s mouth versus a human’s mouth:

Growing up, it was no secret that sharing ice cream or treats with friends was a huge NO! However, sharing with your furry friend was no big deal because we all know that a “dog’s mouth is cleaner than a human’s mouth.” However, this is a myth. A dog’s mouth carries just as many germs as a human’s mouth. Although dog’s teeth are not as prone to cavities as humans are, they still need proper cleaning. Deborah Lundin, from “The Daily Puppy,” writes that dog kisses can in fact get you sick and cause some dental disease so be sure to wash your hands after doggie kisses and try to resort to belly rubs and head rubs rather than kisses.

A wagging tail is a happy tail:

Check out this site above, and you will see that this is partly a myth and partly true! While a wagging tail can translate as a happy and excited dog, it can also relay other emotions such as anxiety, stress, and/or other not so happy feelings. Dogs actually use tail wagging as a way of communicating. Tail positioning and speed are signs to tell a dog’s feelings and there are studies shown that a dog with a tail wagging to the left can make another dog feel anxious and cause him to back down. Rightward wagging can communicate happiness and approachable to other dogs. Something pretty interesting about dogs and their tails are they were hysterically used for balancing and come in handy when dogs swim. Tail wagging is also an acquired skill dogs usually gain around a month to two months of age. They begin “tail talking” with mommy and siblings around this age.

Dog’s have dreams too:

This is true! Dogs do indeed dream and go through the same stages as humans do during sleep, but at a quicker speed. This is the twitching, growling, whining, and other signs you may see when your dog is asleep. According to an article by Arden Moore, from “VetStreet,” dogs can experience nightmares just as humans do. There is also some interesting findings that puppies and senior dogs tend to dream and move more in their sleep than an adult dog would. Arden Moore suggest comforting a dog after their nightmares just as you would a child after a nightmare.


(Photo taken by me, Ryan Ford)

Dogs only see in black and white:

According to the video, dogs do not see just in black and white. They are able to see in color and are five times as sensitive to light as humans are. Humans, excluding people who are color blind, can see up to 1,000,000 different shades of colors, which varies from dogs who can only see up to 10,000 different shades of colors. Dog’s eyes primarily pick up two shades of color which are blue and yellow. This is one of the main reasons why obstacle courses for dogs are done in these two colors. Surprisingly, dogs cannot perceive the color red! So stay away from all those red dog toys especially being blanketed by green grass which is another hard shade for dogs to detect! A dog’s field of vision is also much larger than humans and dog’s also have better night vision. They have something in their eyes called a Tapetum which reflects light back and forth. This the reason why dogs have shiny eyes in most photographs. Humans however see further than dogs.



Photo from Pexels


Posted in Introduction


Hello! My name is Ryan Marie Ford. I currently work at a special needs school in South Jersey. I have a seven year old daughter and furry three year old son! I have always possessed a strong passion for animals. I grew up with dogs, cats, rabbits, turtles, snakes, you name it, I’ve had it. My daughter has also shown a strong compassion for animals, especially our rescued dog, Shadow.

In my blog, I hope to cover an assortment of topics about dogs. From dog rescues to people who have taken such a passion for dogs that it has become part- time job for them, painting and making different accessories for our furry babies. I also hope to hear stories and adventures from people who share this same sort of love for animals, and especially dogs, that I have!




Introduction image taken by myself, Ryan Marie Ford

Custom header image from