Fostering Pets Saves Lives, In More Ways Than One

Chloe With Foster Mom Terri

Chloe With Foster Mom Terri


By Maria Poulos 

When we hear the phrase, “fostering saves lives,” many of us think of the cat or dog that is now on its way to a forever home. But it’s not just our four-legged friends that benefit. The American Heart Association has linked the ownership of pets, especially dogs, with a reduced risk for heart disease and greater longevity. Just playing with a dog or cat can elevate levels of serotonin and dopamine, which can calm and relax. For many rescues, linking a homeless pet with the future owner isn’t possible without foster parents. 

Michelle Hinds is one of the beneficiaries of a selfless foster parent. Michelle suffers from lupus, a chronic inflammatory disease that occurs when your body's immune system attacks your own tissues and organs. She also has partial facial paralysis from jaw reconstruction surgery, is mourning the loss of five family members within the past decade, including both parents, and is recently divorced. Suffice to say, the once happy, smiling Michelle was down and out. 

I really feel like I was a person whose spirit and will to push on was mentally beaten out of me,” Michelle said. “I was someone who no longer smiled but would sit huddled in a corner with an ice pack on my face.”

Dipping white blood cell counts that left her ill most days, so her doctor recommended getting a dog, ideally a breed with a keen sense of smell who could detect these low counts, like a Yorkie. Eager for companionship and care, Michelle submitted an application with Odie’s Place.  

Elsewhere, Terri, a foster mom in the Odie’s Place network, was caring for an 8-year-old Yorkie named Chloe. She was dumped in a high-kill shelter in New York City, with fur so overgrown her baseball-sized tumor went undetected until she came to Odie’s Place. Now cancer-free, but suffering from separation anxiety, she waited patiently for her forever home. 

Michelle’s condition makes her sensitive to germs, so Brian from Odie’s Place conducted his home and yard visit via Skype. Between her powerful nose and need for around-the-clock companionship, Brian knew Chloe was the perfect match for the homebound Michelle. Michelle sent her friend Judy to pick up Chloe and it’s been a match made in heaven. “She saved my life,” Michelle said. “That one dog saved my life.”

Chloe has been trained to detect the copper scent that is emitted when Michelle’s white blood count drops, as well as the scent release from rising cortisol when she has a panic attack. And it’s working. The first time Chloe saved Michelle, Michelle was feeling faint. Chloe hopped up softly, sniffed Michelle and gently sat and put her paw on her. At the doctor’s office the next day, Michelle told him what happened and he sent her for blood tests.  

“The doctor called me last night and my [white blood count] was 2300!” Michelle said. “Half of the low end of the range. Chloe was right. The doctor says if Chloe thinks I need to go back to just give him a call!”  

While Chloe’s protective nature prevents her from being officially certified as a service dog just yet, she is well on her way and brining joy in the meantime. “You have a huge success story here,” Michelle said. “She makes me happy. She makes people smile.”

“She couldn’t give those smiles from a shelter,” Brian said.

All of this wouldn’t have been possible without the Odie’s Place network of foster parents. Having a safe, healthy home while pets wait is essential. Aside from a potentially terminal fate, the dogs and cats who are lucky to survive high-kill shelters don’t leave unscathed. “They smell death in the air,” Brian said. “It really changes them.”

“I hope this story motivates those who are thinking about submitting an application to adopt or foster to just do it,” Brian said. “Do it to make you feel better. Do it to make someone else feel better. Depression and anxiety cripples people. Fostering saves lives.” 


If you are interested in becoming part of Odie’s Place fostering network, click here

If you’d like to adopt, please fill out the application here

To donate to Odie’s Place, which covers costs including medical, you can do so here




Rusty Strong: Rusty's Redemption

Rusty's Redemption

Odie’s Place Rescue has saved over 60 animals in under two years, with zero state funding. We have encountered dogs with many physical ailments including tumors, blindness, and other conditions associated with advanced age. But we’ve never encountered a dog like Rusty. The very first thing you notice in Rusty's presence is his glowing smile. Rusty is a 31-pound, male, seven-year-old Dachshund/American Foxhound Mix with a very unique story that is causing animal lovers to become #RustyStrong.

The sad part of this story is that this is not the first time Rusty has been saved. Rusty lived through Hurricane Sandy in New York, and thankfully was found by a family as a stray when he was 3 years old and a perfectly healthy dog. A 3-year-old handsome Dachshund mix is a very attractive pet, and he was adopted by a growing family.

The family eventually grew to four children and Rusty was very compatible with them, being gentle with infants and as young children alike. Rusty also got along well with the family cat and dog, and any neighborhood dogs he encountered on walks   He was described as the “perfect dog.”  

But, according to the family, things took a tragic turn when Rusty began losing feeling and mobility in his back legs about two months ago.  Soon, Rusty also lost the ability to control his bladder and bowel movements. This perfect dog was dealt some very bad cards. Already tightly bonded to his big family, Rusty now needed extra care from them to move around and to change his “doggy diapers.” Rusty suddenly became a full time commitment, as he was partially paralyzed.


Unfortunately the family decided that that they could not maintain this new commitment to Rusty, considering they had four children plus a handicapped dog requiring special care. The two disappointments we have at Odie’s Place Rescue is that 1) the family only brought Rusty to a mobile vet for a cortisone shot which didn’t work and 2) they made the decision to surrender Rusty on June 27 to a large high kill shelter, Manhattan ACC. Perhaps the family had a very challenging financial situation, and could not find local resources in NYC to help them, or could not cope; we just don’t know.

After Rusty was left at the NYC shelter and examined, he was quickly deemed "Rescue Only" due to his physical ailments, with the expectation that any rescue taking him would be fully willing to meet his special needs. On the next day, June 28, the shelter sent an email appeal out to all their approved rescues (which includes Odie’s Place Rescue) pleading for one of them to “pull” (reserve and take in) Rusty.  That same evening he was placed on the dreaded NYC “At-Risk” list.  What this means is that rescues had from about 6 PM that evening, through noon the next day (6/29), to reserve him.  If not reserved, he would most likely be euthanized by the shelter that afternoon. Time was running out.


Odie’s Place Rescue stepped up after a 3-month hiatus from doing any intakes and decided to save Rusty and welcome him to our All Star Team. Rusty arrived this past Monday night and was brought to Warren Animal Hospital for X-Rays and a neurological exam. After multiple tests, which included testing Rusty's sensation in his back toes (where he showed some movement) the results suggested that Rusty suffered damage to his vertebrae, which is causing disruptive pressure on his spinal cord. Rusty now needs an MRI to determine the extent of damage, and to see if surgery may be feasible to help restore the functionality of his rear legs and give him back control of his bladder and bowel movements. How this injury occurred will forever be a mystery (the shelter never provides the prior owner’s identity to rescues) but our mission is very clear. Odie’s Place Rescue will do whatever we can to restore Rusty’s functionality and find him the best forever home.

Our online donation page is https://www.gofundme.com/rustystrong

Odie’s Place

PO Box 87125

Dartmouth MA 02748



Odies Place: From Heartbreak To Passion


Call me driven call me crazy say i come on too strong say Im obsessed but please dont forget passion. Living on through Odie is why I am here . Losing him was the first death I ever really experience head on from finding out his kidney shut down and cancer spread too much and he had two weeks to live. Life stood still. Every hour I kept thinking he will prove everyone wrong and then reality kicked in. It was the worse pain I have ever experienced. 

I really think pet bereavement should be a paid day off because functioning after I finally realized that he wasnt going to come back. Mass RI wasnt holding him until he felt better. Life is starting to have little value at this point. Numbness and lonliness kicks in and now comes the medication because the other option St Lukes Ward wasnt a good plan B . 


The medicine didnt work only made me gain weight and have sadder thoughts. Then it hit me while Kerrie and I were volunteering at a shelter to feel better and we fell in love with watching an animal come out of their shell and show so much appreciation and love towards me. Feeling like you actually have a good purpose in this world was an unusual feeling that at first I felt guilty feeling. Then it became obvious saving a life was next.


Bella came into my life and we both seemed to be at a cross roads. She has teeth marks and rope marks all over her which tells me she was used for fighting. Her future was not good until she chose me to adopt her and save her. She along with my other furbabies helps a little bit but the emptiness was still there sadly. 

After leaving volunteering on not so great terms Kerrie and I mulled over ideas of how we can help else whereThen it hit me let's start our own rescue with Odie for Odie. Odies Place was born and the drive to keep my boys memory alive and strong is what consumes me every day. Every night I sit out here like Im doing now while revealing everything and Odies leash hangs next to me. The leash has hung up there since we had to make the hardest descison ever. 


With that comes a passion to save as many animals as we possibly can and show them that they deserve to be loved and that humans dont suck. Our goal to provide help to a grieving family and help ease their pain is also a passion. We owe it to our alumnis and adopters to continue to contribute to society and help make a difference whether it's with us or the many other homeless charities we help out as well. 


Thank you all for reading all this I never had the courage to speak out about this publically but seeing his leash tonight inspired me. Thank you all for supporting us.


Don’t Judge a Pitbull by Its Cover – A Perfect Guide to Understand More about Pitbulls


Don’t Judge a Pitbull by Its Cover – A Perfect Guide to Understand More about Pitbulls

Odies Place adoptable All Star Jaiden 

Odies Place adoptable All Star Jaiden 

Don’t Judge a Pitbull by Its Cover – A Perfect Guide to Understand More about Pitbulls

Welcome to Odies Place!

Odies Place is here to provide you a comprehensive guide about the Number 1 misunderstood breed in the world – the Pitbull!

Are you familiar with pitbulls? If not, then you are on the right spot! The Pitbull, popularly known as American Staffordshire Terrier, is a specific breed that needs to be paired with dependable and patient owners.  Like any other breeds, pitbull needs socialization at a very early age.  Socialization helps ensure that your pitbulls grow up to be well-rounded pets.

It is undeniable that dogs are social animals by nature. However, it doesn’t mean that they are born with the social skills needed to get along with other humans and animals. Like humans, dogs must be accurately socialized early in life to assist them become well behaved and adjusted. Failure to socialize your pet as early as eight weeks may lead to complicated situations. Your dogs may not like other animals or people. 

If you want to have a pitbull, your first move is to know everything about this breed. To give you some guides, the following are a few myths about pitbulls this week and hope that I can open your eyes about the factual evidence of this awesome breed:


Pitbulls Have Locked Jaws

Pitbulls don’t have locked jaws. They have just the same old mouths as every other kind of dogs.  According to a research conducted by the National Geographic, the Doberman has a bite force that is reputed to be 600 pounds. Trained dogs often have a higher bite force than untrained ones. 

Pitbulls with Red Nose are More Aggressive

This is extremely erroneous because red nose is simply a style or color. Pitbulls have a lighter pigment such as pinkish nose with green or yellow eyes.  They also act no different than brindle, black or white pitbulls.

Pitbulls Were Bred to Fight

Labradors were bred to retrieve birds while pitbulls were originally bred for dogs fighting and bull and bear baiting.  These perceptions are extremely erroneous.  Experts claimed that fighting is not the sole purpose of these breeds. It also doesn’t mean that the components of the breed’s history somehow make them abnormal or negates their positive traits and renowned gentleness toward humans. Say for instance, Greyhounds and Whippets were bred for “coursing”. They usually chase and kill small prey such as squirrels and rabbits. Like pitbulls, these dogs still make incredible family pets.

An immense key with this breed is to surround them with unconditional love.  It means that Pitbull owners need to show patience with them and never force them to learn at their pace. They also need to be persistent with their training. These animals are always looking for you to be their pack leader, so be it!

Pitbulls Are Harmful

Pitbulls love people and have no idea that their actual size is something of a deterrent to being a lap dog. Keenly aware of their surroundings and confident, they can serve as your watchdogs wherein they may alert you to the presence of strangers. However, that is not the primarily role of pitbulls. They are always eager to greet your guests.

Pitbulls Cannot be with Other Cats or Dogs


This is the largest misconception and misunderstanding when it comes to pitbulls. With adequate training and handling, your pitbulls can learn to live peacefully along with other dogs and cats. So, it is up to you how to train your pitbulls.

It is Recommended to Adopt a Pitbull Puppy Instead of an Adult

Though puppies are completely adorable, it doesn’t mean that it is better to adopt a pitbull puppy instead of an adult. Every puppy grows and as they mature, their personality develops and that is when you will find out whether your pitbull is submissive or dominant with people. You will also know if your pitbull is aggressive toward some dogs or other pets.

According to experts, it is possible that the cute little puppy you adopt who is friendly with all other pets may not like other dogs at all later in life. Thus, it doesn’t mean that pitbull puppies should not be adopted. If you want to know how big your pitbull will be and how it will act around other animals or humans, you may consider adopting an adult.


Pitbulls Have Three Breed of Dog with Excellent Traits

Yes, you read it right. Pitbulls have three breed of dogs – the American pit bull terrier, the Staffordshire bull terrier and the American Staffordshire terrier.  

Pitbulls, on the other hand, are characterized by certain behavioural and physical traits. Every breed was developed to perform a certain job, whether that job is hunting rabbits, herding livestock, retrieving downed birds or sitting on people’s laps.   

Pitbulls are Used as Therapy Dogs

This breed is commonly used as therapy dogs. They are perfect for people who are in need of emotional support. The common examples of these are people in a senior care center or someone recovering from an emotional accident.  In addition, they are also called as “Nanny Dogs” because they are perfectly suited for kids.

Pitbulls are Easy to Train

This breed is too easy to train and all they want to do is to please you. Pitbulls are so sensitive to your feelings and thus, verbal training comes so easily. Just make sure that you are fully aware of the things you need to do to train your pitbulls.

After knowing the facts and myths about pitbulls, it is up to you whether you opt to get this breed or not. As you have noticed, there are various misconceptions about pitbulls and not all people are familiar with their factual information.

Are you a pitbull lover? Then, this is your best chance to get this breed.  Like others, you will surely love how this breed changes your life.  To know more about pitbulls, don’t hesitate to browse Odies place and you will learn various things about your favorite breed.  With your complete knowledge about pitbulls, you will surely be tempted to have this breed at home!





Successful Paint Your Pet Night

Thank you to everyone who participated in Odie's Place Paint Your Pet Night at Melissa's Pet Depot this past weekend. We hope everyone had a great night with friends, and of course with Squeak!

Melissa's Pet Depot and Chuck E' Cheese were kind enough to donate facility space and refreshments, which made our night even better, so thank you to them. Also, huge thank you to Theresa from Paint, Drink, Create for teaching our sold-out class! And thank you to Salty Paw Design for capturing these great photos from the evening.

Keep your eyes peeled for our next fundraiser!