Skip to content

Volunteers are priceless


Cassie Costantino who helps at Vosburgh, has fostered for Peppertree and is a volunteer for Cyd Cross with Out Of The Pits rescue shared the poster with me.

I looked at the posts from the the last year, the last month, the last week, yesterday and this morningI thought the poster is so ‘right on’ not only about Teresa and Alissa and Nicki and Lex but so many.  I think about the time Michele spent trying to save those puppies recently from Craig’s List.  The intake work that both Alissa and Heather do.  The leadership that Kathi, Katie, Donna, Mary Ellen, Sue, Patrice, Dana and Kevin provide.  The willingness of Peg, Deb M, Marlee and Charlene to work the adoption clinics and provideexpertise and a welcoming calm at all times. Rich taking photos and documenting the history of a Peppertree dog using that history to not only link us to the past but also tell our story and obtain funds for us. There is continuity, wisdom, work and sharing of their property that Betsy and David provide. There is Karen‘s willingness to foster at the drop of a hat, Joanne at the ready to take the big dogs, and Katy’s desire explore the WEB to find dog’s in need.The many people who consistently foster including Deb B, Deb M, Nicole and Naomi, Tara and Sloane, Mike, Maria and Ericka, all the Maria’s and many others who escape my memory.  The last month simply is a snapshot of what Peppertree is all about – dedicated volunteers caring for the dogs, making it a first priority. 

You and others whose names I have inadvertently forgotten (you know at almost 65 I can use that as an excuse) are great role models for every volunteer in Peppertree.



As much as any dog rescue group likes to adopt their dogs as soon as possible, the FOSTER HOME is the key.  With Peppertree Dog Rescue, the foster home is a key link in a successful adoption.  The foster home finds out what the dog is really like.  Is the dog outgoing or fearful, a soft mouth or a nipper, a bouncy jumper or a very calm guy(like our Jack), submissive of dominant, a kisser or not, good with cats, good with other dogs and what type.  The foster home provides lots of information that helps with the successful placement of a dog.  In some cases, the foster is the only information that we have about a dog other than an initial intake interview. Yes all rescue groups have an initial evaluation process.  However just like people and a job interview, the first evaluation is a time where a dog can be on best behavior, not a true depiction of who and how complex they are.

I think of some of the dogs that I have met at adoption clinics, which are incredibly stressful for the dog.  I am sure that the dog is really very different than that 3 or 4 hour stint, surrounded by many dogs and people who they don’t know.

PEPPERTREE AND EVERY DOG ADOPTION GROUP NEEDS FOSTER FAMILIES.  In an article published by The Record newspapers last February, I was quoted saying ” People don’t understand how important foster families are in terms of evaluating a dog in a variety of situations…”  I also said and truly believe that “It is also a great opportunity for people who would love to have a dog but are not able to make a twelve month commitment.”  Some foster families leave for the winter, some for extended amounts of time.  When you become a foster family, Peppertree understands your how long you can foster and arranges for placements that work for you.
SO IF YOU WANT TO BECOME A FOSTER, fill out an application on our website which is “”.  Do it and you will understand why you are an incredibly important part of the Peppertree support system.

The “top 10” reasons that adopting an older dog is good for your mind, heart and soul.

Marlee Bickel, a Peppertree volunteer,  and her adopted senior dog Glinda ‘discussed’ the question:

1·        Why Not?
2·        They will love you unconditionally
3·        They will appreciate everything you do for them
4·        They will always be ready for a belly-rub
5·        They won’t expect a lot of activity from you so you don’t have become a runner or jogger
6·        They won’t complain about what you are watching on TV as long as they can be near you
7·        They may not be with you for a dozen years but the love they will show you makes up for the missed years
8·        You don’t have to potty train them (although you may have to help them when they can’t hold it for long     periods of time)

9·        You don’t have to teach them manners because they want to please so will do their best to be good

10.      You don’t have to teach them NOT to eat the couch or your shoes      Image

Glinda always tells the truth. 

Our next adoption clinic is this Saturday from 10 AM to 1:30 PM at the Niskayuna PetSmart, come and meet some of our older dogs, our younger dogs, our new dogs and those that have been simply waiting for the right home.

Adopting the senior dog

Sometimes when  people are at an adoption clinic, they first browse and then see a dog that they like.  The first question that they often ask isn’t about whether the dog will get along with their cat, how they are with children, are they active or dalm, do they like to chase deer or do they like to sit on the porch, do they get along with other dogs and if so what kind.  Instead they ask “How old is the dog?”  For some reason age seems most important to some people.   Is it because they think that an 8 year old or older dog may not give them the companionship that they want?  Is it that the dog won’t be around long enough for them to connect?  I am not sure why AGE is so important because every dog and person needs love no matter what their age is.

I want to share a story written by Peppertree volunteer, foster dad, and and eventual adopter Mike W. about Clementine, a 13 year old dog who has brightened the life of a family.

“One of our local shelters called us to see if we would be interested in CLEMENTINE.  She was a Golden mix, approximately 13 years old, and a stray whose time at the Shelter was about up. Poor CLEMENTINE had spent many weeks at the shelter due to her age and health issues.

I picked her up from the shelter and brought her to a clinic that Peppertree was having. The poor dog could not stand for very long and smelled pretty bad. Two of the Volunteers gave her a bath and tried to clean her up. She was such a mess. She had no control and was urinating and defecating as she walked. And despite all her problems, she was so sweet and had such dignity that Peppertree decided to take her. Even if her time left on this Earth was short we would make her comfortable and show her she was loved.

CLEMENTINE needed a foster, and I felt since my wife and I are volunteers with Peppertree and we live in a ranch home she would do better at our house because we don’t have a lot of stairs. When I came home with her she had to be carried up the four stairs in our garage to our kitchen. She fell to the floor and vomited up what looked to be blood. We left immediately for the Vet.

Shaker Vet was quick to try and save CLEMENTINE. They did a complete blood workup, gave her a shot, and treated both ears that had a severe infection. I do believe that if Peppertree didn’t take our CLEMENTINE in she wouldn’t have lived much longer.

When we got home I let her out and she would just fall down. This dog totally broke our hearts. My wife and I decided that CLEMENTINE deserved a nice end of life because I don’t think her first 13 years had been very easy. Need I say anymore? Yes, we adopted her.

I’m happy to report that CLEMENTINE has rallied! Now with pain medication, Move Free, fish oil, and a good diet everyday, she is doing much better. She is a part of our family, and it’s like she has always been here with us. She plays with our foster dogs and does well with our two dogs, and two cats. It’s nice to see her smiling through her eyes now instead of the signs of pain and fear. CLEMENTINE is a terrific dog and we are blessed to have her. If she were to die today or five years from now she knows what it is like to be in a family that loves her.”




a youngster just waiting for the right adopter

So what is an adoption clinic, my thoughts about thoughts of our four pawed friends

Last Saturday was an adoption clinic and I kept thinking how do the dogs look at what is occurring at a clinic.  Let’s just call three of them Barney, Betty and Bamm-Bamm and listen to their conversation.

Barney – “Well I sure hope that one of these families who keep saying how nice and peaceful I am will actually take me home.”

Betty – “I’m not sure why people think that I am going to take a walk with them and leave my foster Mom who I love and trust.  I don’t know where these people are going to take me.  To be honest, I don’t even know these people who want to take me for a walk. They keep tugging at my leash and trying to pull me away from my foster Mom.  Why should I trust them.  For the four or so years before, I was just used as a puppy making machine.  Now that I can’t do that anymore, what will these new people want me for.”

Barney – “Yes people have been talking about what a ‘nice guy’ I am, you know they say that ‘nice guys’ finish last and I have been at least 4 of these clinics and still no luck.”

Betty – “You know these clinics can be nerve-wracking.  Got to be on best behavior or I’ll just be back in two weeks, lined up with a bunch of new dogs. It has been over 5 months and no one has really adopted me, maybe it is because I am not all waggy and like a puppy, maybe I am too reserved.  You know people talk about wanting a well-behaved dog but do they really mean it or do they just want a puppy.”

Bamm-Bamm – “Gee I keep hearing people talk about how lively I am, too much puppy, weren’t they ever kids???? Don’t they have kids who don’t always behave.  Yup, I am strong and like to pull but if you sit down, I will drape myself over your knee and you can pet me and I will try to calm down for at least a little while.  All I need is a place to run, run, run and then be petted.”

3 1/2 hours later-

Barney – “WOW someone is taking me home, wish me luck.”

Betty – “I’m going home with my foster Mom and that works for me, though I really do need to be adopted by someone who will love me also.”

Bamm-Bamm – “Back to the kennel, I know that the girl who worked with me the whole clinic would keep me in a minute but she isn’t allowed to at her college.  At least I can go back and run, run, run at my kennel and get good food and see some of my friends who weren’t adopted today.  You know I am just a kid and all that someone needs to do is work with me. Yes it may take awhile but I am willing if they care.”

Well I am not sure if that is what these three dogs were really thinking but there are many dogs who are at clinics in the Capital District every weekend with groups like Peppertree, Out of the Pits, The Animal Support Project, 11th Hour Rescue and other rescue groups or at shelters like Mohawk Hudson and all that is needed is to find that special home for them.  Two of our dogs who need a home are a sweet girl Sweet Pea and a young guy Dobbs and you can guess which one was Betty and which one was Bamm-Bamm.

Go to to find out how to adopt either of them or one of our many great dogs.


Sweet Pea

Sweet Pea

relaxing at her foster home.