By Murphy Grant (himself)
Today is a big day! Today was my deadline to learn to walk through the door, and I met my deadline! Daddy has been teaching me how to walk through a really scary door to the patio. I still don’t like the door, but I’m willing to go through it twice a day. Daddy makes me do it every morning and every evening. The rest of the time he lets me go through the doors that are not scary.

In order to understand the significance of this, you have to know more of my story. I used to belong to an old man who named me Bubba. And he named my four-legged brother, well, Bubba. Who the heck does that? Then he left us alone together for eighteen months. It’s hard to remember now, but best I can recall, food and water were scarce. Women didn’t exist, and I didn’t like men because they were mean. I don’t miss that man.

ABR’s Ms. B. let me stay with her for three months. I began to learn some things: there will be food and fresh water; leash walking is fun with its new smells, sights, and sounds; zoomies are a blast; air conditioning and queen size beds are just fine; women are alright. I was still not so sure of that last part. But maybe. We’ll see. I didn’t like men though. They were mean.

My Daddy found my picture on the internet. He told me he fell in love with me. And then he and my Mommy came to see me. But he’s a man, and, well, I didn’t like men, so I shook on Ms. B’s bed until she let me go play zoomies outside. I’m so glad she didn’t let Daddy touch me. I didn’t like to be touched. Then Daddy and Mommy left and I stayed with Ms. B.

Two days later Daddy and Mommy came back and they put me in their car. They told me they loved me the whole ride. Then we were at their house, and they had a bed! I got on it! And I liked it! Then they opened the door and it was scary to go through it, and they had to leave the room first, and then I went to the yard with a fence, and I could play zoomies! And I liked that too! I even tried to get Daddy and Mommy to play zoomies with me. Then it was time to go to sleep and I got back in their bed and they got on either side of me. That was okay because they didn’t touch me. I didn’t like to be touched.

Today is my Gotcha Day; it has been two years!! Two years seems like a long time. Some things just take time. Now I love to wake Daddy up and make him feed me first thing. I eat calmly like it’s not going to be taken away. I’m no longer afraid of the noises of the house and of the furniture. Daddy had to help me by moving the furniture into a ridiculous layout! I walk on a loose leash beside my Daddy. I almost never pull. If traffic comes toward me I know to swap to the grassy side until it passes.

Oh so slowly I’ve let Daddy and Mommy touch me. At first, just occasionally. Then, once a day or so, and then nearly all the time. It took well over a year, but now I let them touch me whenever they want. Daddy snuzzles my face and rubs my back and shoulders and I don’t run away. Mommy rubs my chin and my neck. They both kiss my heart on my head, and I like it. And I never thought that I would! Because I didn’t like to be touched.

I have a little sister. And I mean little! She is a twenty pound Cocker Spaniel who moved here six months after I did. We play together all the time. It makes me crazy when Daddy takes me walking and she stays home because she thinks she is too good to walk. I want her with me all the time! We play indoor zoomies together! And I let her on my bed. We even wrassle on the bed, sometimes the couch, every morning and every evening. I love her so much. Sometimes she goes and lays in her crate. I don’t like that, so I lay right in front of her crate to make sure she is okay.

Sometimes Daddy and Mommy take me camping in our RV. I love getting to ‘smell up’ new parks. Daddy taught me to not dart out the camper door. He has to go first and then invite me out, and I can’t go back in until he tells me to. I also learned to be a big boy and sleep on the RV couch. The bed was just not big enough for everybody so I let the rest of the family have it. I keep them safe by sleeping close to the door.

There are several things I hate. I hate dog parks because they have dogs and the only dog I like is my sister. I hate ‘boom boom’ sounds because they remind me of bad times. I don’t like the stovetop timer or the smoke alarm. I also hate flies, and I go hide under the desk if they come in the house. I already told you I hate one of the back doors. Daddy makes me walk through it every morning and evening. I do what he makes me do, but I’m not going to like it. When we are not “practicing our doors” Daddy lets me use the other two doors where the sightlines are better.

I really don’t like snuggles, but I love kisses and I kiss Daddy every time he comes home and every morning. I do love to wake my Daddy up with poochie smoochies. I push my beautiful cold, wet snout right into his nose until he wakes up. Then I talk to him until he gets up and lets me out. It is the funniest start to my day! I also love to talk to Mommy and Daddy when they are getting ready to take me walking. I wiggle and dance and move my head all around, all while talking about our upcoming walk. My favorite thing to do to my Mommy and Daddy is this: when they come home and let me out of my crate I like to twist my ears around all the way open, so that instead of the furry side facing forward, the skin side faces forward and the furry side is on the back. This is my way of letting them know it is a good time to give me poochie smoochies. When my ears are turned backwards, all is right in my world! Nowadays, I turn my ears backwards at least once a day.

I love Mommy too. When she comes home I do dances for her. I sometimes put my paws on the kitchen counter so I can get closer to her face for kisses. I’ve taught Mommy to play zoomies in the house. She loves that.

Daddy and Mommy are the only humans I love. When they take me walking and they stop to visit their friends, I sit directly behind their legs until I get tired and have to lay down. I don’t want their friends touching me. I love my sister too. Whenever we are all four together is the happiest time of my life. If one of the four of us is missing, I lay by the garage door so the missing one will come home.

Daddy and Mommy tell me I am a good boy. They tell me they love me. I’ve learned routines and commands. I smile a lot. I’m very smart. Daddy and Mommy tell me so all the time. They tell me they are proud of me, and that I’ve come a long way. I’m glad to live with them and my sister. It sure is good to trust that my food and water will be provided, to get zoomies, daily walks, and RV trips, and to have a family who loves me and who I can love. I really do love my family and my home. I’m so happy to be here and I love all the fun things I get to do.

Ms. B. named me Murphy. Daddy and Mommy liked that name, so I’m Murphy. I’m a good boy and I’m very smart. They tell me that all the time!
By Kay Crandall
I don’t remember exactly what year Sasha and Olivia came into ABR foster care. They weren’t my first fosters but they were my first pair. What is most memorable though, is that they were the first fosters my own bonded pair, Brett and Bailey, actually liked. Maybe it is because the fosters were only eleven months old, or smaller than my BBs, or because they were girls… Who knows? Ultimately the why doesn’t matter. What does matter is how much they taught me and what I learned about the hand of a greater power in some of these adoptions. Not only were Sasha and Olivia my first bonded pair, they were also my first owner surrenders. To this day, I still have no clue why they were surrendered. Over time I came to the conclusion that something really awful was going on in or with their original family and surrender was their only option. This pair had no bad behavior issues. They were house trained, sweet, and loving. They adapted quickly to the crate and weren’t messy eaters, bad on the leash, aggressive, or destructive.

The owners lived about 3 1/2 hours west of me. So we agreed that I would meet them in a small parking lot on Franklin Street in Chapel Hill, NC, which is a very busy area. When they arrived, the lady and her teenage son got out to talk to me while those beautiful baby girls watched and quietly waited, unrestrained in the car. Paperwork for surrender was signed. No questions were asked by the lady. I was the only one who asked questions and I received vague replies about habits, likes, issues, etc. They had traveled with their AKC litter registration paperwork and that was it… nothing else. They came without collars, leashes, toys, or a few days of current food for transition.

The teenage son went to get the girls out of the car. They were in an SUV and he opened the lift gate. Sasha and Olivia jumped out… without him giving me a chance to put collars and leashes on them. I had parked in a shaded area near a strip of grass and an ornamental pear tree. Thank goodness they went straight to the tree to potty and I was able to wrap a leash around both of them while I put collars on. The mother and son made no effort to hug them goodbye, or help me. They were back in the car by the time I got Sasha and Olivia leashed, and they drove off as I walked back to my car. I sat in my car a while, just cuddling them and giving them treats and water. They were so sweet!! 

Once at home, they quickly adjusted. My oldest girl, Brett, growled some to assert her role as alpha but by day two they were all best friends. We had several applications, but no one wanted a pair. Then my coordinator, Elaine Hawes, called to tell me she had received a call from a lady in Tennessee, Nancy, who lost a female that week. We worried that it might be too soon in her grief process to adopt but agreed to give it a chance since she wanted both girls. I called Nancy that same day. We went through the sad story of the loss of her precious Savannah just a few days before and copious tears were shed by both of us. The grief was real and profound, but so was the desire to give a home to these two babies who had been cast aside for no discernable reason. 

We fast tracked the home visit. I did the vet check by phone and we started working on transport. As is often the case, we were having trouble filling some legs and I had pretty much reconciled myself to driving to Asheville, which was about half of the journey to the Gibson home just outside Nashville, Tennessee. Then Nancy called and said she and Butch wanted to come to NC to pick them up and to meet me. So they flew from Nashville to Raleigh, rented an SUV, spent the night in North Carolina, and came to my house early the next day. It was love at first sight. Butch wanted to play with my super hyper Brett and Bailey, and they quickly gave him and Nancy their lick of approval. So, on their first birthday Sasha and sweet little Lily moved west to begin the rest of their story. 

Sasha and Lily went to a wonderful home with a big brother Brittany named Remy, a wire-haired terrier named Jimmy Choo, a cat named Ernie, and a beautiful home on a lake. I’ve received updates over the years and consider Nancy and Butch forever friends. Sadly, sweet Lily has recently gone to the Rainbow Bridge. I hope her recently adopted brother, Finn, will lessen Sasha’s grief. But whatever happens, I know Sasha and Lily won the adoption lottery. They have been loved unconditionally. They found their forever home from a posting on the ABR website, a tearful phone call, and a certainty by all involved that this was meant to be.

Do you have “Foster Tails” to tell?
A foster moment you’ll never forget?
A challenge you overcame?
A funny or heartwarming story?
A tale of encouragement?
A foster who made a special impact?

Whether it's a few sentences, a whole story, or a photo that speaks for itself, we would love to hear and share your anecdotes, thoughts, and experiences. Please connect with us at !

By Debra White
ABR operates entirely by volunteers who serve in a variety of ways. We foster Brittanys, help place them for adoption and transport them to their forever homes. Some of us contribute to the newsletters, promote the organization on social media or create fundraising projects. Others get out-and-about in the community to meet and greet and spread the word about ABR. To celebrate National Volunteer Month this April, we are kicking off our Volunteer of the Month recognitions. We are excited to honor our volunteers who keep ABR running and share the wonderful work they do.

April’s Volunteer of the Month is Autumn Fenton, an ABR volunteer who wears many hats. Autumn is the Maryland, Virginia, and District of Columbia adoption co-coordinator, a job that allows her to interview potential adoptive families and conduct home visits. Autumn also writes articles for both the online and print newsletters. She wrote the International Year of the Dog series last year, and she is proud of the impact that series had on the lives of dogs being rescued from overseas. She also just completed the New York puppy mill series, “Safe, Loved, and Making Strides,” for E-News.

Most recently Autumn created Coloring for Brittanys: The American Brittany Rescue Coloring Book, available on, profits from which go to support ABR foster Brittanys. Autumn also does outreach events at pet stores and other dog events, typically manning a booth where she sells the coloring books and t-shirts and answers questions about Brittanys.

When asked how she got involved with ABR, Autumn responded that she has had Brittanys since 1982. When she was in a park in Pittsburgh she stopped to talk to a man walking his Brittany. She learned from him about ABR, and she decided to check it out. She has been hooked on helping this wonderful breed ever since.

Autumn lives on a farm in Maryland with her husband and their three dogs. Opa is one of the first ABR Brittanys that came from Greece. She loves to share how he has become so much more confident and become a great member of the family since his adoption. She has a second Brittany, Ingalls and a Maltese named Selznick. Autumn and her husband take Ingalls and Opa on walks, hikes, camping trips and to events to show off the breed.

In the future, Autumn hinted there might be a second coloring book. She truly enjoys devoting time to ABR and Brittanys. She says the best part of being an ABR volunteer is seeing a Brittany happy with a family.

Thank you, Autumn, for your time and dedication!

Heartworm Awareness Month
Heartworm disease is a serious issue that results in severe lung disease, heart failure, other organ damage, and death in pets, mainly dogs, cats, and ferrets. It is caused by a parasitic worm called Dirofilaria immitis. The worms are spread through the bite of a mosquito. They are called “heartworms” because the adults live in the heart, lungs, and associated blood vessels of an infected animal. 
Heartworm disease has not only spread throughout the United States, but it’s also now found in areas where veterinarians used to say, “Oh, we don’t have heartworm disease.” Areas like Oregon, California, Arizona, and desert areas -- where irrigation and building are allowing mosquitoes to survive. And if you have mosquitoes and you have animals, you’re going to have heartworms. It’s just that simple. And the bite of just one mosquito infected with the heartworm larvae will give your dog heartworm disease.

It takes about seven months, once a dog is bitten by an infected mosquito, for the larvae to mature into adult heartworms. They then lodge in the heart, lungs, and surrounding blood vessels and begin reproducing. Adult worms can grow up to 12 inches in length, can live 5-7 years, and a dog can have as many as 250 worms in its system.

Initially, there are no symptoms. But as more and more worms crowd the heart and lungs, most dogs will develop a cough . As it progresses, they won’t be able to exercise as much as before; they’ll become winded easier. With severe heartworm disease, a veterinarian can hear abnormal lung sounds, dogs can pass out from the loss of blood to the brain, and they can retain fluids. Eventually, most dogs will die if the worms are not treated.

Heartworms in dogs are easy to prevent, but difficult and costly to cure. There are a few drug options for treatment, and all are injectable. The dog is given two or three injections that will kill the adult heartworms in the blood vessels of the heart.

The safest way to treat heartworms includes an extensive pre-treatment workup, including X-rays, blood work, and all the tests needed to establish how serious the infection is. Then the dog is given the injections.

After treatment, the worms begin to die. And as they die, they break up into pieces, which can cause a blockage of the pulmonary vessels and cause death. That’s why dogs must be kept quiet during the treatment and then for several months afterward. Studies have shown that most of the dogs that die after heartworm treatment do so because the owners let them exercise . It’s not due to the drug itself.

For less than the cost of going to Starbucks for a weekly coffee, you can prevent heartworm disease in your dog. There are monthly pills, monthly topicals that you put on the skin , and there’s also a six-month injectable product. The damage that’s done to the dog and the cost of the treatment is way more than the cost to prevent heartworm disease. A year’s supply of heartworm preventative will cost about $35 to $110, depending on a dog’s weight.

Heartworm is a very common problem in animal shelters and for rescue organizations today, and public shelters rarely have the money to treat heartworm disease. It’s perfectly acceptable to adopt a dog with heartworms, but you must be dedicated to having the disease treated appropriately, because it’s a horrible disease that can lead to a dog’s death if left untreated.

ABR had only one heartworm positive Brittany in 2019. This was the first year we have seen a decline in the number of cases. This is great, considering in years past ABR has had at least five or more every year. We hope this reduction in numbers is related to the fact that we are doing a good job educating about heartworm and how to prevent it, as well as the fact that people are generally taking better care of their dogs.

This doesn’t mean we can let down our guard though. The newest threat on the horizon is Lyme disease. But, that’s information for another article and another month.

For more comprehensive information about heartworm, the treatment, prevention, and the disease itself, visit the helpful websites below:

It is hard to believe the dramatic impact the outbreak of the coronavirus has had on our lives. The state of California has asked its populous to limit gatherings to no more than ten people, and a great portion of the major metropolitan areas have been mandated to shelter in place for the next three weeks at minimum. In light of all of this, the picnic has been rescheduled for September 26, 2020.

We hope this date will work for everyone. We look forward to a wonderful fall day together. Please mark this new date on your calendars!

We hope all our dear friends stay healthy during this time of uncertainty.

For Questions Contact Diana or Terrie:
Diana Doiron:  or (562) 690-3139
Terrie Johnson:  or 707-477-2718 
Add a little color and beauty to your garden this spring while helping American Brittany Rescue! Shop for your spring bulbs at Three River Wreath Plant Company and 50% of all sales go directly to ABR for the care of rescued Brittanys.
The sale ends on April 30th.
Keep up-to-date on dog food and treat recalls on You can also sign up to have recall alerts delivered to your inbox!

American Brittany Rescue, Inc. is an organization that was formed in 1991 as a cooperative effort of Brittany owners, breeders, trainers, and fanciers who ABR believes have a responsibility not only for their own dogs and the dogs they produce, but for the breed as a whole.


ABR's mission is to provide the leadership and expertise via a network of trained volunteers to take in stray, abandoned, surrendered and/or impounded purebred Brittanys, provide them with foster care, health and temperament screening, an opportunity for any necessary rehabilitation and to assure their health and placement into new homes. In order to fulfill this mission, ABR's volunteers remain flexible and adaptable to current and future business environments and they remain dedicated to the organization.  

Terry Mixdorf, President
Terrie Johnson, Vice President
Michelle Falkinburg, Secretary
Diana Doiron, Treasurer
Debbie Clark, Co-Treasurer
Sandra Oelschlegel, Chair
Tiffany Dexter
Nancy Hensley
Bobbi Tolman
Brittany Boler
Christine Brennan
Jeannine Connors
Judie Cutting
Kristin Davis
Autumn Fenton
Lori Gartenhaus
Patricia Gillogly
Monica Rutt
Melissa Tapply DiLello
Debra White

American Brittany Rescue, Inc. | 866.274.8911 |  Visit Our Website