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pet adoption

Mara is a trained doggo looking for a family.

In December of 2022, a American Pit Bull Terrier named Mara was hours away from being euthanized at a high-kill shelter in Georgia. Rocky Kanaka shares that the one-year-old pup had been languishing in the shelter for over a month with no one showing interest in her until a rescue group called Braveheart Bulliez stepped in to save her.

Pit Bulls are often stereotyped and misunderstood, but Mara's rescuers saw past all of that. “As soon as we saw her photos, we knew we had to help,” Braveheart Bulliez’s founder Krystle Carrara shared with Rocky Kanaka. “She had the most soulful, trusting eyes.”

But Mara's rescue journey was just beginning.

Braveheart Bulliez had secured a foster home for her and hired a paid trainer to do in-home training, but within a few weeks the foster bailed without explanation. On top of that, two people who had agreed to sponsor Mara's rescue journey also bailed, so she was left high and dry with nowhere to go.

In January of 2023, Braveheart Bulliez sent Mara to a well-respected boarding and training program. She took to training like a champ, becoming a "phenomenal" leash walker and learning not to react to other dogs on leash. She was also muzzle trained to be with other dogs in doggy play time.

“She blew everyone away with how smart and willing to learn she was,” said Carrara.

dog with a tennis ball in her mouth

Mara loves her yellow tennis ball more than treats. Seriously.


However, no matter how hard they tried, Mara's rescuers couldn't find a foster or adoptive home for her. Reaching out to rescues across the country yielded no results. She ended up being boarded for another 10 months, which wasn't good for her physically or mentally.

Finally, an almost-perfect foster for Mara came along. Someone had filled out an application expressing interest in fostering a special needs dog. “As soon as we read it, we realized this person would be perfect for Mara,” Carrara said. “We took a chance and reached out, and incredibly, they agreed to foster her.”

There was just one problem—they were planning on moving overseas within six months, so they wouldn't be able to keep her that long. That foster has been caring for Mara since January 2024, but now it's time for them to leave—and time for Mara to find her furever family.

If Mara doesn't find a home, there will be no choice but to send her back into boarding, where she completely shut down after spending more than a years there. No one who knows her wants that for her.

dog on a sofa with a stuffed toy

Look at that sweet face.


"Mara is a beautiful girl, fully trained, and simply needs to be in a home as an only dog. She is very smart and LOVES human attention. She loves car rides, long walks/hikes, and LOVES PUP CUPS!" the rescue shares. "She MUST be the only dog in the home. However, Mara is fully muzzle trained and only needs it if she is near other dogs (in doggy day care). This darling girl has been failed by humans over and over again. But we never gave up on her, and she knows that. We will do whatever it takes to find this wonderful pup her perfect home."

Let's help this sweet girl find a family who can care for her and give her a loving home. For information about Mara and how to adopt her, go to: https://rockykanaka.com/adoption/mara/


Puppy's adoption story goes viral after he gives his own POV of the day he was 'kidnapped'

Gilligan, a yellow lab pup, tells the harrowing account of how he was kidnapped. (Adopted. He means adopted.)

Puppy gives amusing play-by-play of his adoption.

When people adopt an animal, we rarely imagine how that process looks from the animal's point of view. We're so focused on rescuing a pet that we don't often stop to think about what the pet is experiencing. But lucky for us, a cheeky yellow lab puppy named Gilligan gives us his POV in a viral TikTok, and it's a pretty wild ride from start to finish.

One of the most important details of the video is that Gilligan is adorable. If you take nothing else away from his recounting of events, store that knowledge in your pocket for future use. The TikTok video of the fuzzy pooch posted by Anna Molinari uses a voice effect to make the storyteller sound like a toddler, giving the impression that we are hearing straight from the "kidnapped" puppy's mouth. Gilligan's interesting retelling has racked up a massive 30.9 million views and over 5.5 million likes.

The video starts strong with the introduction, "Apparently, my name is Gilligan and this is a day in my life of getting kidnapped." Gilligan is sitting in a pen with other puppies, spinning a truthful yet hilarious tale. He details every moment, including all of the naps he took before meeting "my mother" (or at least that's what the puppy thinks her name is).

"This is my new sister. She has red hair, which is confusing. We don't look anything alike," Gilligan says.

The dog doesn't leave out his own dealings in mischief when spinning the tale about his day. He explains that he gets crazy after he sleeps and he can't control it. After Gilligan reaches his new home, he introduces "my dad."

"I met this guy that calls himself my dad. He told me we're going to go on long walks, but he's old and has a limp, so I don't know what the hell he's talking about," he laments.

Watch the cute retelling below:


I didnt even cry ONCE. #labpuppy

If you thought Gilligan was done sharing his view of events, you're in for a fun treat. The sassy puppy gave everyone an update one month after his "kidnapping." See what he's been up to below:


Back by popular demand #gilliganthab #labpuppy #dayinmylife

Pawternity leave is a real thing.

Getting a new puppy or kitten can be life altering in the best way, but those first few days can be a doozy. Trying to get a new animal acclimated to your home and schedule isn’t always easy and if you have other pets, it can make it downright impossible to do without taking some time off to monitor everyone. That’s where the concept of pawternity leave is helpful. You may be thinking pawternity leave sounds made up, but it’s actually a real thing for some companies.

It’s totally true. Several companies offer some form of pawternity or furternity leave for employees to welcome and acclimate new pets into their home. The range of time varies from 10 hours of paid leave to up to two weeks. MParticle, a company that offers two weeks of leave, has one stipulation on those two weeks. You must be adopting a shelter pet to qualify. Some companies even offer paid pet bereavement time. After all, these little furry guys are members of the family, so when we inevitably have to say goodbye, being able to take a day or so without guilt is important.

Pets can help with things like anxiety and depression, and some can be trained as service animals to help people live safely in the world around them. If someone adopts an animal from a shelter, they’re helping to clear out some of the overpopulated shelters to make room for other animals in need. Employers trying to be more in tune with what their employees need and providing some sort of leave when adding a new pet or during the time of pet loss is a wonderful step in the right direction for so many reasons.

Which companies are providing this unique benefit? There are a few. For example, Rover and Mars Petcare provide employees with 10 hours of leave and up to a week off for a new pet, plus the added perk of bringing the pet to the office after the 10 hours is up. MParticle pays for up to two weeks' leave if the employee adopts from a shelter. BrewDog, a Scottish beer company, offers a week of leave. Collective Measures, a marketing company in Minneapolis, and Zogics, an industrial cleaning supply company, also offer pawternity leave, while Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants of San Francisco, The African Garden, VMware, Maxwell Health, Trupanion and Drugmart.com all allow for some form of pet bereavement leave.

Though these companies are in the minority with their pet leave policies, we can only hope that more companies will join in the future to allow an easier transition for new pet parents.

It's kitten season!

Who can resist a sweet little kitten trying to cross the road? Even if you’re not a fan of cats, you’d likely stop for a baby animal in the street. That’s what happened to Robert Brantley of Louisiana. Brantley was on his way to work and spotted a tiny white and gray kitten trying to get across the street. Being a kind human, he stopped his car to bring the kitten to safety. But he got more than he bargained for, because as he was scooping up the little thing, several more kitty cat siblings came running out of the nearby grass.

In all, Brantley counted 13 kittens. Twelve more than he planned on caring for, but by the looks of his Instagram page, his family has taken their role of cat rescuers seriously. With kitten season being in full effect in these warmer months and pet surrenders remaining high since the return to work from the pandemic, Brantley taking on fostering 13 kittens is much needed. Humane societies across the country are reportedly full or even over capacity. My own local humane society currently has nearly 150 animals over its limit and is begging for foster families and adopters to help clear the shelter.

It’s not only humane societies that have reached or exceeded capacity. Animal rescues across the board are in dire need of people to take animals to make room for the inevitable drop off of puppies and kittens from the current litter season. Mating season, which subsequently turns into puppy and kitten season, starts in early spring and lasts throughout the summer. This inundates local shelters and rescues.

Some shelters, like my local humane society, are asking people who find litters of puppies or kittens to do exactly what Brantley is doing. Foster them and attempt to adopt them out on their own. It looks like Brantley's wife decided to get these now cleaned up kitties in their Sunday best to have a photoshoot in her makeshift studio. One kitten sported a bow tie while the others climbed around the enclosure patiently awaiting their turn. It also seems Brantley himself is having fun with the situation—in one video he talks about what he packs to go on a marksmanship match and includes 13 kittens along with his tripod and toolkit.

In one of Brantley’s most recent updates, he says that two of the kittens, Michael Scott and Nala, have been adopted by a family in Alexandria, Louisiana. In the same update he informs his followers that one of the kittens still left to be adopted is currently on daily medication and the family is keeping up with check-ups for the rest of the furry crew.

Here’s hoping that all of these little guys get adopted out soon. And may more people take Brantley’s lead to foster the kittens or puppies they find if they have the means. This can also serve as a reminder to spay and neuter your pets and any strays you may be caring for outside of your home.