Happy Stories of our furry friends and furever homes

In October 2020, Pamela and I had to say goodbye to our beloved Beagle, Jax, who passed away from cancer at 13.5 years old. We adopted Jax from the Mono County Animal Shelter while living in Mammoth Lakes, and he was part of our “pack” for 12 wonderful years. He was so unique and loving and fit just perfectly into our home and mountain living lifestyle. In his later years, we moved to Reno, NV, and Jax was able to enjoy a home with a nice backyard and lots of walks, as age mellowed him into “retirement.”

After Jax passed, we were crushed and for months we deliberated about how and indeed whether to adopt another dog. As time went on, we kept feeling the gap in the house. Jax was such a big and vibrant part of our lives, we couldn’t escape the feeling that something was missing.

As we began our search, as you might expect, we started locally. We found that because of the pandemic, with so many adoptions, at first just finding a dog – any dog – wasn’t easy. We hadn’t set any expectations as to breeds, though we had to do some homework, as we still have a senior cat, so whoever the new dog was would have to work within that context.

We considered a puppy, but the amount of work involved in raising them from square one wasn’t something we thought we could tackle. As summer 2021 ended, Pamela smartly decided to expand our search into California. One day we happened to be talking with Darlene at Friends of the Animal Community about available dogs, and during the conversation we described our history with Jax. While on the phone with us, she received a text saying they were getting a Beagle, a breed she said they hadn’t seen in some time.

She got back to us a short time later with more details, and it was to our collective good fortune we decided to drive over and meet him. I don’t know if it was love at first sight, but he was so well behaved, had a great disposition and really won us over when he socialized with some of the kittens at FOAC and .and when we got him home, he and our cat, Hugo, got along almost immediately.

We hadn’t set out to adopt a Beagle. Perhaps it was Jax helping us find each other, sending us a message: he needs YOU, adopt HIM. One has to wonder at the curious timing and how beyond chance it was for us to be on the phone with FOAC when Darlene received that particular text.

Darlene said at the outset she had a good feeling about this one, and she was right. Bear (as he’s now known) is a great addition to our family, friendly, playful, active and gives us so much joy. Darlene and her FOAC team made the process so smooth. We’re so grateful  for how they handled everything.

I wish you all the best in your adoption journey – and if you’re adopting from FOAC, you’ve come to the right place!

Andy Geisel & Pamela Stayden

Reno, NV


Hello. This is the Rowe family. We adopted Bella from you about 3 weeks ago and I wanted to let you know how much we love her and how much she is loving her new home. She fits right in and has made herself at home. She is the most loving dog we have ever met and she insists on laying on the lap of anyone sitting on the couch. She has lots of energy, and our 12 year old son takes her on 2, sometimes 3 walks a day to get all of her energy out. She absolutely loves her leash and the word WALK. She is incredibly smart and already knows “sit”, “lay down”, and “speak”. She’s a super good singer. We are so happy that we were chosen to be her family and wanted to give you an update and some pictures. Thank you, again. Love, the Rowe family


We would like to thank Friends of the Animal Community in Sonora for giving us the opportunity to adopt Bella. She has become a loving member of our family. We live on 20 acres and Bella (half Border collie and half Koolie) runs and leaps and yet comes back immediately when called and sits by my side. We have never had such an obedient dog. It’s as if she truly talks our language. We also want to thank the FOAC of Sonora for the thorough, responsive manner in which they approach their dog adoption. They responded to us immediately, helped us find a dog and then brought Bella to us. This enabled them to view the family, the other dog who lived in the home and the environment where she would be living. We would highly recommend this Community. Jan and Tony Migliaccio

Buck was featured on Embark

Click on the photo read the full story my.embarkvet.com/dog/buck48



Life for anyone can change unexpectedly with unintended consequences. When Phillip and Lynn found themselves needing to relocate to senior housing out of county, they learned the facility wouldn’t accept Joey their 11 year old, 85 lb Labrador. Their family in SoCal and Florida couldn’t take Joey, so they turned to Friends of the Animal Community (FOAC) for help. FOAC’s FB post of Joey’s story generated immediate interest. His fan club included Gail from Eureka who was willing to drive 14 hours round trip to adopt Joey. FOAC volunteers worked with Joey’s family to determine his limitations and needs. He was very arthritic, unable to comfortably navigate steps, and didn’t enjoy car rides. When a family in Sonora indicated strong interest, Gail stepped back to spare arthritic Joey the very long trip to Eureka. Dogs bring out the best in people. Phillip and Lynn were able to keep Joey until their move. Joey’s new adopters, Cyndi and Todd opened their hearts to the senior dog, and Joey is now in his furever home.

Little Man

People come to us for medical help with their animals. When we can help we do This is Little Man. Blind in one eye and going blind in other. He needed a dental due to severe dental disease Foac was able to provide his medical / dental needs. Many times we post on line for donations for specific needs

GETTING A DOG by Chris Bateman


This was the legend on a small, long-empty wooden picture frame my daughter gave me for Christmas more than a year ago.

“It’s for your dog,” Hallie said at the time.

“I don’t have one,” I countered. “You will,” she responded, with a certainty normally reserved for zealots on the far fringes of the American political spectrum.

I’ve had many dogs through my life, but I’m now down to one cat – a black-and-white former feral named Stanley.

So, at 72 and living on my own, I was suddenly an elderly “cat guy.” 

This was not OK with my daughter.  “You need a dog,” repeated Hallie last summer.  By this time she had adopted her own first canine and spoke with the fervor of a convert.

I SHRUGGED it off. 

I was traveling a lot and didn’t want the heavy trappings of dog ownership. I was happy to do without fleas, ticks, heartworm, kennel stays, skunk sprays, vet visits, in-house accidents, shed hair, nighttime barking, fights with the cat and who knows what else.  Then what if I chose the wrong dog or the wrong breed?  I was not at all ready for commitment.

Maybe someday, I told Hallie, but not yet.

This did not discourage her.

So I enlisted sons Ben and Nick as a front guard. 

“Hallie’s is planning to get you a dog this weekend,” they’d warn in advance of her Sonora visits. I’d quickly schedule appointments, engagements, car repairs, bike rides or doctor checkups, leaving no time for shelter visits.

Christmas came and went, and Hallie’s Woof frame began its second empty year.

BUT MY DAUGHTER is nothing if not persistent, and this year she redoubled her efforts.  She was coming up from her Los Angeles home in late January. “Can we just look?” Hallie pleaded, saying we’d hit the Sonora-area shelters on a Friday afternoon.

“Yes, but no promises,” I relented, still not at all ready for a dog.

As her visit approached, I called Animal Control and the Humane Society to check Friday adoption hours. Both were closed after 1 p.m. Looked like I would dodge another canine bullet. Finally I called Friends of the Animal Community, hoping to hear a “closed-at-noon” recording. No such luck.

I not only got a human being, but one who knows me. “Chris, you’re looking for a dog??” exulted FOAC President Darlene Matthews. “Well, do I ever have one for you!”

Before I could hedge or hang up, Darlene told me all about Lily, a five-year-old Australian shepherd cross. “Her photo’s online,” she told me. “Take a look. And, by the way, you’re pre-approved for adoption.”

SUDDENLY, I was on very thin ice. Now I’d have to look a dog – or at least picture of a dog – in the face. And deep down I knew,  and Hallie knew,  I could be a sucker for mutts.  

Over the decades I’ve had nearly a dozen dogs, mostly two or three at a time. They slept on my bed, joined me on walks, and always offered a wag and a lick when times were grim.  They were long part of life.

I looked at Lily’s online pic for maybe three seconds, thought she looked agreeable, and forwarded it to Hallie. “Ahhhh!!!” she texted back in about three more seconds. “SO CUTE. Can we meet her tomorrow??”

But why would anyone give up such a dog, the skeptic in me wondered. Does she bite, scratch, stink or scowl?  “Her owner went to the hospital, and he’s not coming back,” Darlene answered. The heartbreak hushed me quickly.

So on Friday Hallie and I drove to Twain Harte, where Lily was being fostered by a FOAC volunteer.

“SHE’S NOT super affectionate,” warned the vol. “Don’t expect a lot of licking.”

Then, as we knelt down to get acquainted, Lily licked both Hal and me. That pretty much ended the story: I took her home that very day.      

“You totally caved to Hallie,” son Ben reacted, seeing me as the victim of a calculated power play. But this victim ended up with a fully trained, very affectionate, well-mannered and companionable pal. No house training or obedience classes necessary.

Before the weekend was out, Hallie painted a portrait of Lily for the long-vacant Woof frame. Then she took a shot of me and my new friend during a Saturday walk with her own dog, Spinelli. I sent it to a few friends.

“If you ever get into online dating, use that picture!” said one. “Women will flock to you.”

Or, far more likely, to my dog.

NOW LIL AND I have been together for more than a month.  

I got a free exam from Twain Harte Vet and discount dog bowls, beds and bones from Dusty’s Den and Pet Smart. I’ve taken her walking or snowshoeing almost every day, and she can’t get enough. She sleeps next to my bed and every night jumps up to lick me goodnight.

I shortened her name to Lil, which has a saloon-girl feel befitting both the Mother Lode and my new dog’s somewhat checkered past.

Lil’s file by turn lists her as border collie mix, Australian shepherd cross, German shep/Aussie, shepherd mix, and, my favorite, “black-and-brown dog.”  

She even has a few AKAs, including Lyla and Leila.

Her age, too, is a moving target, alternatively said to be “four-plus,” five, five and a half, and  “unknown.” But 2018 vet-office invoice lists Lil’s birthday as Aug. 31, 2011 – which would make her seven and a half.

THAT PUTS HER at about 53 in dog years – which is still a lot younger than my 72 human years.

But none of this stuff means a thing. Who cares if Lil’s not a “papered dog” with a mile of lineage, a bunch of fancy names, a weekly grooming appointment and cousins on the show circuit? Neither of us puts on airs or would even know how.

We were both older, single and looking for a friend (although Hallie realized this long before I did). The folks at FOAC got us together. Animal Control and the Humane Society can do the same. What’s more, newly adopted dogs come neutered, up to date on vaccines and ready to hang out.

But, you might by now be wondering, how does Stanley the cat fit in?  

Well, Stan’s still the boss around here.  And Lil and I, well, we just aren’t going to fight it.