“Ohana means family. Family means nobody gets left behind, or forgotten.”

When I was younger, Lilo and Stitch was one of my favorite Disney movies, and this quote was one that always stood out in my mind. I’m not sure why, maybe because I just loved the little spazzy monster that was Stitch, but despite the reasoning, the line stuck with me.

The “Ohana Rule” is one that I have been adamant about sticking to when making the often-difficult decisions about how to run this rescue. For better or worse, we don’t leave family behind. That’s how we’ve ended up with huskies and rat terriers and other strange dogs that wouldn’t normally “fit the bill” for a herding breed rescue that focuses on Aussies. We may share the burden with other rescue groups when families are extra-large, but we don’t leave them behind.

Today, I’m going to tell you about two families that we’ve helped, and why we in turn need your help. The first family I’m sure many of you will remember – the Game of Bones puppies from last summer: Rickon, Gendry, Podrick, Jojen, Meera, and Podrick. Boy were they cute! We took these puppies in after a call from a lady in Georgia who had found their mother when she was pregnant. She took momma dog in, cared for her and the puppies, and asked us to help place them when they were weaned. At the time, we offered to take the momma, too, but the finder had grown attached and wanted to keep her. Fast forward seven months to now, and the lady has contacted us again. She’s lost her job and losing her home, and has to move to a place that won’t allow pets. So, even seven months later, our “Ohana Rule” still applies, and we’re going to help her.


The other family was first introduced to Carolina Hearts around the same time as the Game of Bones puppies (but totally unrelated) – the Wildlings. We got Orel, Osha, and Princess Val from a woman in North Carolina. They were the remnants of an “oops” litter out of a family member’s dogs, and this woman took them in and asked us for help. Same as the Game of Bones puppies, we offered to help with the parents, but the owners declined our offer. Princess Val had a rocky start and suffered from seizures, likely in reaction to vaccines, but in the end she and her siblings found wonderful homes. Then, last month we were contacted again – the dogs had yet another litter. This time we were able to not only take in the puppies (the Party Pack Litter), but we were also able to convince the owners to have mom and dad fixed. Not only were these two dogs breeding continuously and adding to the overpopulation problem, but also they were both merles, and had produced lethal white puppies in both of their recent litters. So, you see, the “Ohana Rule” doesn’t just apply to bringing dogs into rescue – it also obligates us to do our part in taking care of the family members of our rescue dogs. We’re not going to get an adoption fee to help offset the costs of those dogs’ surgeries, but in the end, we’re doing what’s right to help solve the problem.


This morning, one of the Party Pack puppies, Jäger, went to the vet because he began having seizures during the night. Also this morning, his parents went to the spay/neuter clinic to be altered. We’re in the process of moving the Game of Bones momma to a foster home, where she will receive whatever medical treatment she needs. Rosemary, our rescued momma from last month, has been spayed and treated for heartworms. Newton, Brees, and Kuechly all need to be altered and vaccinated, and our fingers are crossed that they won’t need heartworm treatment as well. Meanwhile, we’ve got other dogs in foster that still require monthly preventatives and other vetting.

In three years, we have rescued more than 300 dogs in the Southeast. Our volunteer team works tirelessly to give these dogs the lives they deserved to have from the start, but we can only save what our resources will permit us to. Adoption fees rarely cover all of a dog’s necessary medical treatment, so we need donations to keep moving forward with our mission.

Please consider giving to our mission – every little bit helps.