Re-homing Lily – Raleigh dog looking for a new home

Apr 9, 2014

It’s been a long time since I’ve had a good update about my dogs on the blog.  During Lily’s first year, I took photos of her in the same pose each month to capture how quickly she was growing, changing and learning.  Baxter and Lily are featured often in my Project 52 blog posts and it’s safe to say I have about 200 photos of them sleeping stored on my phone.  I have a good bit of photos of them too on my computer at home that still need to be edited! Such is the life of a dog whose mom is a profession pet photographer and busy photographing other people’s dogs! 🙂

Sigh… Can you tell I’m in denial? That I’m avoiding the subject?  That I don’t really want to tell you that Lily and Baxter are: not getting along, have gotten into some pretty bad fights and they are too unpredictable to keep them together safely?  Can you tell that I am guilt-stricken, puffy-eyed and constantly breaking down in tears and telling myself maybe just maybe they’ll start to get along?

You can read the abbreviated back story below, but yes we have worked with trainers, our vet, tried anti-anxiety meds, etc.  This is the LAST resort and has not been made lightly.  Please know that we are moving forward with re-homing Lily because we believe (after a LOT of tears and procrastination) that this is what is best for our dogs.  Also know that this situation isn’t any one dog’s fault.

So…I want to keep the focus on Lily and how amazing she is so we can find her the perfect home. For me that perfect home would include a family that is close by and would allow us to dog-sit or keep up with her over the years.

adopt lily-


Lily is a two year old boxer, bulldog mix.  She’s unbelievably cute that’s for sure. She is crate trained and potty-trained (she woke me up from a nap the other day to paw at the door to tell me she needed to go out!! Proud mama moment). She does need to go out often though and I don’t know how long it might take her to be able to last a full work day in a crate.  (My hubby and I have opposite schedules so she’s only in a crate when we are not home).  At two (DOB: March 2012), Lily has started to lose some of her puppy wildness. We trust her a lot more to roam without direct supervision. Her favorite thing to do is sit in the chair and look out the front window at the kids playing or fall asleep with her head on the window sill. She LOVES to chew on her toys and will eat almost anything that could possibly be food! 🙂 Deer antlers keep her entertained for a good long time!  She has a great routine of getting in a walk or 15 minutes of fetch and then napping for three hours. By 8pm, she’s snoring on the couch every night and just when you think she couldn’t possibly be any cuter, she melts you all over again with her little snore and snuggle.  Lily MUST be the only dog in the home.  She gets really excited when she sees other dogs, but her reaction to other dogs is too unpredictable for her to say hello safely.  Lily is obsessed with humans. Loves loves loves loves loves them!  She wants to kiss you and lick you and clean out your ears and make sure you feel like the most important person in the world when she sees you.  The kids in the neighborhood really love to tell her to sit, shake and lay down to which Lily always obliges.  She would be best with older children as she does like to jump and lick.   Lily walks great on her easy-walk (front-clip) harness and enjoys a leisure stroll.  Like any dog she can pull if she sees something exciting like a bird.  Lily does have skin and food allergies.  We have finally been able to keep it under control with a high-quality salmon based food and Benadryl. She is currently on anti-anxiety medicine to help keep things as calm as possible between her and Baxter.  So that’s the skinny on Lily.  To really put into words how much I love and adore her would be pretty impossible.  Each night before I go to bed, I sit and just stare at her and kiss her for a good five minutes while she sleeps on the couch.  She gives me that sleep-eyed look of “yea yea, mom. I love you too. Now can I go back to snoring please?”  Lily is guaranteed to bring a lot of love and joy to your life.

Interested in adopting her or think you know somebody who is? She is available through the SPCA of Wake County.  We are going to “foster” her through June in hopes of keeping her comfy at home and finding her the right family.  You can contact the SPCA at 919-772-2326 or email me at If she hasn’t found a new family at that point, she will move to the SPCA when a single-dog room opens up so she can get a lot more exposure.  I had to give myself a “deadline” or a “goal” I should say or else I would stay in denial forever and inevitably there would be a fight from which I fear we all would not recover.


As many of you know, I found Lily sleeping on a bench in downtown Raleigh June 18th, 2012. She was three months old and every bit as adorable as you could imagine.  I originally fostered her through the SPCA of Wake County.  I wasn’t sure if she and Baxter would get along or if it was even the right thing for her and me at the time.  But everything seemed to be okay and we decided to officially adopt her.

In the beginning, Baxter was the bossy dog.  We took our time introducing them and allowing them to interact.  Baxter would let Lily know if those puppy teeth got a little too rough and soon things settled down.  Lily would often nap right on top of Baxter.  Baxter would play the “I don’t know if I like her sleeping on me or not, but she’s really cute and I’m a good big brother. Okay who am I kidding, we’re pretty adorable right now aren’t we?” card.  They would do zoomies together in the backyard and on the third floor (the finished attic/empty room/”dog cave”).  As long as food wasn’t around they seemed to get along pretty well.

Last summer the dynamic shifted. Lily matured and she and Baxter seemed to sometimes battle for dominance.  They could be playing and have fun together one minute and the next one of the dogs would go after the other.  Baxter has been to the vet twice for stitches after a bad bite.  My husband and I have both been bitten badly several times jumping into the fray to separate them.  It’s become dangerous for us and for them.  Baxter now stays upstairs and Lily downstairs for the most part.  They have been able to play some together in the backyard during the morning potty break, but we have since had to now keep them separate at all times unless we are both walking them around the neighborhood.

As a puppy Lily visited the dog park three times as we were expanding her social time with dogs other than ones she met on walks and Baxter. She mainly hid under a picnic table the first time.  She watched the other dogs play and trotted far behind a few doing zoomies the second.  The third time, she had more fun going to trying to french kiss all the humans.  We also took her to doggie day care several times after she turned about 14 months.  Her first two visits were great! The third, she only wanted to play with three particular dogs.  By the fourth or fifth visit, she decided she just didn’t like any of the potential playmates.  We worked with the trainer there, consulted our vet and the SPCA.  Sometimes, dogs just are extremely picky about who they want to hang out with.  Lily does love her brother Baxter (they BEG to play with each other now that they are separated…even a few hours after a fight!) and pretty much ignores my in-law’s wiener dog when he comes to visit.  But again, can be unpredictable when meeting other dogs so it is best that she be the only dog in a home.

Many of you may be asking, why Lily? Baxter is our first dog and is extremely attached to me.  He would not do well having to go to a new home.  He was abandoned and left in a backyard by his first family at three months old.  If I’m in eye-sight of him and my husband tries to take him for a walk, Baxter sometimes won’t go if I’m not going with him.  Baxter is almost six years old and while he may be easier to re-home, he would not adapt well.  Lily is adorable, lovable and has never met a human she doesn’t adore.  She may be harder to find the right home for, but she will have a much easier time adapting and will make herself at home in minutes I’m sure.  She is two years old so she is still young and a family might not be scared away by an older dog who already has some special needs.

Part of the reason I’ve had such a hard time taking an official step to re-home Lily (besides the fact that I just don’t want to live without her) is that I feel ashamed.  I spend my time volunteering at the SPCA of Wake County photographing animals so that they can find a forever home.  I found Lily on a bench and rescued her myself.  How can I as an animal advocate be “giving up” my dog??  I’ve been there on the other side reading pets’ bios online about how a family gave them up after all this time, decided their dog was just too much work, were moving and didn’t want to take the animal with them and so on and so on.  I feel anger and sadness every time I hear or read those sad stories.  I didn’t want to be one of “those” people who just gave up my pet as if they didn’t matter.  I fear judgement less these days after so much support from my fellow animal advocates and rescuers. I do in my heart believe that this is what is best for both Baxter and Lily.  I know that sometimes a situation simply doesn’t work out for a number of reasons.  I know that we have tried many different options to make our home a safe environment for both dogs, but at this point it doesn’t seem that they can be together safely.

I cried every day for three weeks straight after the last fight.  I still break down most times I have to talk about the situation.  I love this little girl with all of my heart (and here come the tears again as she looks over at me from her perch in my office staring out the window and smudging up the glass with her cold wet nose).  I sit and stare at her all the time. I laugh at the funny faces she makes.  I count my blessings for her challenging potty training as a puppy that forced me out of bed when I battled a dark depression.  She came into my life when I needed to learn to love again and needed to learn to accept that I was worth being loved.  She is my sweet sweet little girl and this is one of the most painful decisions I’ve ever had to make.

Please help share the word about Lily.