Our Models

Barley the golden retriever lying in flowers


The dog, and the photo, that started it all. Barley came from Neuse River Golden Retriever Rescue in the Triangle area of North Carolina. He was found as a stray in Smithfield, NC, and NRGRR rescued him from the shelter. It took us about 10 seconds to fall in love with this scared, but loving sweet thing. He was terrified of cars, car rides, and many other things, but over time came out of his shell to become the perfect model for greeting cards. Barley loved his squeaky toys, roaming in the woods, rolling in smelly things, and above all – his food! We miss Barley every day, and hope to bring some of the joy he brought us to the rest of the world.

Jasper the golden retriever


Jasper is our current in-house model and The King That Rules All Humans. He came from a young family that was not prepared to handle such a mischievous, energetic, overly affectionate and highly manipulative human trainer. He will steal anything from anybody, including the sock right off a baby’s foot. He demands daily tennis ball time, treat-hunting time, home made chewies, and long (but not too long) morning walks with never the same route two days in a row. He is our Little Monster and we love him with everything we have.

golden retriever lying down in ferns with backpack


Otis was our very first dog as “grown-ups.” He came from Neuse River Golden Retriever Rescue, and had been tied to a clothesline for years before being rescued. Otis was patient with us while we learned how to be good humans. Otis went almost everywhere with us – he loved to go canoeing, backpacking, car riding, and trips to Grand Dog Momma Jane and Daddy Dave’s house. He visited 12 state high points and Canada. He was an expert trail runner, muskrat hunter, water lover, poop roller, and squeaky toy destroyer. He helped us pick out our mountain property – declaring it The One by gleefully swimming in the creek in 18 degrees cold.

two cats cuddling together

Silo & Nixx

Silo and Nixx are siblings that were rescued by Johnston County Animal Protection League. Says Mom Sarah: “In several years of our togetherness, their personalities continue to evolve and they always keep me on my toes. Silo, aka “Captain of Chaos”, started out being either 100% troublemaker or 100% sweet and cuddly. Fortunately, his trouble-making days seemed to have decreased but he still manages to remind me of that potential. His sister Nixx has undergone the biggest transformation. For a long time I needed to convince her on a daily basis that I was not the Boogeyman. She has now trained me on how, when and where and she wants her belly rubs and behind the ear scratches – I am almost ready to finally call her a cuddly cat!”

willow the dog


Willow is a terrier hound mix, and she came to us from Cause for Paws. Mom Jeanette says: “She loves to have “zoomies” around the yard, and playing with a select few dog pals who tolerate her love of wrestling and tumbling. With her big ears, she can hear the sound of a banana being peeled in the next room, or the particular clink of a knife on the cutting board. She will race into the kitchen and sit patiently at your feet waiting for a possible morsel to “accidentally” fall on the floor. She has a fondness for licking stinky feet and sweaty ears.”

cute little dog with beer can in his mouth


Bones was hiding in a ditch in Johnston County, NC, where his Momma Dana found him. He had sarcoptic mange and was so skinny that he was named Bones (he also had a brother named Spock), but he was nursed back to health and ate like a king. He quickly became the life of the party – not only did he deliver beers, but his tail was always wagging and he happy whined A LOT, showing just how lucky he felt to be loved and cared for.

Woody the Chihuahua mix


Woody was found in Johnston County, NC, running alongside the road. Auntie Dana swooped him up, and then he was adopted by Stephanie and Will. Woody is a Chihuahua – Cocker Spaniel mix but is 100% Chihuahua attitude! He is all about getting his humans to make sure he is always warm enough, very well fed, supplied with plenty of squirrels to chase, and otherwise completely spoiled.

jack the cat


Jack broke into the house, climbing the backyard fence three times and entering through the basement cat door, before his forever family finally said he could stay.  He was MUCH smaller then!  Once he had a steady source of food, he never looked back.  Jack loved everyone, person and animal.  He spent many years eating his folks out of house and home before crossing the rainbow bridge last year.

Casey the hound dog


Casey Brown was found wandering in the North Carolina mountains and was rescued by Stephanie and Will. Casey was a connoisseur of fast food wrappers, carcasses, and anything marginally edible. She used her fine hound dog nose to locate the most disgusting substance within a 5 mile range. She was one of the few dogs that Otis liked, and she routinely charmed him out of his chew bones, simply by presenting her fine back side to distract him.

white dog named Dumpy


Dumpy was found in Carroll County Virginia, dumped out onto Daddy Wayne’s driveway. Her sweet disposition immediately stole everyone’s heart. She was her Daddy’s constant companion for several years, enjoying life in the mountains and entertaining all her friends, human and dog.

orange cats playing in grass

Wilbur & TacoCat

Identical twins? Not quite – Wilbur has swirlies on his sides and Taco has regular stripes.

Mom Kelly says: Wilbur wandered up our driveway one afternoon whining and looking pathetic. Nobody in the neighborhood claimed him, so we let him stick around. He prefers to stay outside unless it’s freezing.

TacoCat was living in a wood pile, probably surviving on toads or something.  He was ridiculously loud, and we trapped him and brought him home.  He is still very loud, usually right after lights out at night.

little dog between two big Bernese Mountain dogs

Mia, Dawson, & Zoya

Mia was rescued by NRGRR – there’s no Golden there, but she was a shoe-in regardless! Big fluff-balls Dawson and Zoya came through Blue Ridge Bernese Mountain Dog Rescue. Mom Lauren describes them:

  • Dawson (L)- all floof no brains. Totally happy. Aka Goober.
  • Zoya (R) – total genius, totally in charge, scared of wind.
  • Mia – no idea how old, but she’s OLD. Since introducing the two floofies, she’s getting younger, peppier, happier. Nickname: Potato on Corgi legs, Mia Beans
grey striped cat named Teller


Teller got his name because he was found as a tiny kitten outside a bank.  He was starved and dehydrated and very sick.  He recovered well in the JCAPL program and has been adopted to his forever home, where he has human and kitty siblings to share the love.

collage of seven kittens

The Kitties of Twin Counties

Donovan, Tori, Little Bit, Pixie, Jeter and the rest were all rescue cats and kittens with the Twin County Humane Society in the mountains of  southwest Virginia. In rural areas there is often a much greater supply than demand for rescue animals. So TCHS fosters cats and kittens into good health, then works with rescues in larger cities to transport the kitties to the big city where they are adopted to their new forever homes.

black and white dog named Vegas


Vegas was found as a starving, lonely puppy in Goldsboro.  JCAPL took him in from the county shelter, and his foster mom could not let him go. He loves his squeaky bones and stealing mom’s side of the bed. He likes his cat siblings, but he is afraid of their reactions to him sometimes. His picture here represents one of 3 things- I want to play fetch, I’m happy and I love you, I’m sorry for what I did and I love you.

poodle with pink sunglasses


Hannah came into rescue at 4 months old with a severe luxating patella (knee cap). She had surgery which put pins in her knee. It was “foster fate” and her foster family adopted her. Hannah has many nicknames now which describe her personality perfectly….  Hannah Banana, Sneaky Snake (she crawls on the ground on her belly), Dancing Girl (she did some freestyle dancing classes), Squirrel Hunter (she sits at the base of a tree watching the squirrel she just chased and won’t even come in for dinner), and Chocolate Covered Cherry Eye (she also had Cherry Eye at a young age).

brown dog with glasses


Burton was found as a stray when he got hit by a car and taken to the ER vet with a broken leg. He spent a few months in foster care healing, and destroying Cones of Shame and leg splints. He’s a very active guy, having no idea that he had a broken leg. Burton has a good nose and can pick which cup holds a treat in his interactive toy. While he likes to fetch a tennis ball and run around, he also likes to snuggle up next to his person on the couch and nap. Burton found his forever home once the vet declared his leg healed!

two white poodle mix dogs cuddling

Smurfy & Goofy

Smurfy (L) and Goofy (R) are Poodle/Chinese Crested Powder Puff brothers who came into rescue at 2 years old from a backyard breeder situation. They had not been socialized at all and would not let people near them. They had spent an additional 6 years in a sanctuary when Mom Jennifer brought them into her home to foster them, hoping they could learn to trust people enough to find a home. After much love and time, they both turned into loving trusting dogs that found their forever homes! These guys are proof of what patience and love can do!

Read more of their story of love and rehabilitation here.

relaxed cat on back on floor paws in air


Rosie came to JCAPL, along with her TWO litters of kittens, for what was supposed to be a temporary stay, but her owner abandoned them all to the rescue. All of her kittens found homes, and Rosie found the best adopter! Her life is so much better than it was before, and it all worked out for the best. From her new Mom: “Rosie is the queen of the house and she’s livin the life! Sweet girl with the typical calico attitude!”

black dog named Clifford in party hat


Clifford was turned into a rural county shelter when he was 8 months old. He had severe luxating patellas and could not use his back legs. The humans weren’t sure if Clifford would even use his back legs after surgery, but he literally hit the ground running after! He was so excited to be able to use his legs. Mom Jennifer got tearful seeing him raise his leg to pee and digging in the dirt for the first time. Clifford went on to love agility classes! He also has a big heart, helping other fosters learn about life, and even alerting his Mom when Dad needed medical help!

grey poodle next to water

Baby Ruth

Baby Ruth was rescued from a backyard breeder. When she first came home she wasn’t sure about how to use the steps to the house – but she figured out a way within a few days. She would stand on the top of the step and jump straight up into the air to go down one step. She also did this when going in or out of the doorway – jump up in the air, even though there was nothing to jump over! This is how she earned her nickname “Happy to Be Ruthie”.  In her last years she struggled with kidney disease, but even until her last year, she would play with her brother Clifford.

grey poodle in clown outfit


Cookie was adopted from a German Shepherd Rescue. She was 4 months old and just over 1 lb. Cookie was delivered to me in a small parakeet cage. Although she was tiny, the German Shepherd in her came out because she has NO fear of anything! She walked across the threshold like she owned the world, and her attitude hasn’t changed in 14 years!

white dog named Wally


Hi, I’m Wally! I love long walks, playing fetch, chewing bones, squeaky toys, and loooong belly rubs. More than anything, I love being with my people! Mom and Dad are my favorites, with Nana and Papa being close behind. I also get to run free at the lake and hang out on the dock!

I came from Saving Grace, and I am one lucky guy to have found my forever home! They even bought a house with a doggy door just for me!

cute white puppy with tan ears


Buddy is a lab/hound mix and came from Peak Lab Rescue. He loves to romp around in his dad’s back yard chasing and digging for all sorts of critters… real and imaginary; followed by a nap in the sun, on the couch, or in his cozy chair. Even though Buddy is a lab mix he doesn’t really like to play fetch; he would prefer to play tag, keep away, or tug-of-war. He’s always looking for a new playmate who likes to run around and wrestle. Buddy is a frequent visitor to many of the breweries in the Triangle and he’s never met a stranger.

cute grey tabby kitten snuggled in blanket


Buffett was rescued by Twin County Humane Society in SW Virginia. He was so young that he needed to be bottle fed, and the local shelter cannot handle such kitties. He’s so cute he ended up a foster fail! He’s a sweet boy who still sucks on blankets because he didn’t have a real cat mom to comfort him. 

Cleo the cat - tabby with green glowing eyes looking through window


Cleo, who was dubbed “the wildest cat she had ever seen” by the vet, was a feral cat that had been fed outside for four years before she decided she wanted to be an indoor cat. She was never a lap cat, but she lived a better life with kitty brothers and sisters and her JCAPL family for several years. She is proof that there is always hope with a feral cat!

collage of photos of cute cats rescued by Johnston County Animal Protection League

Kitties of Johnston County

All of these adorable kitties are alumni of the Johnston County Animal Protection League, an animal rescue in North Carolina. Jasper, Atticus, Tinkerbell, Chyna, Willow, Clementine, and Tabitha were fostered by JCAPL volunteers and then adopted to wonderful families.
White poodle with grey ears and green bandana

Peppermint Patti

Patti came from a large group of animals seized by animal control. She was very shy and unsocialized at first, and in poor health – she was missing an ear and most of her teeth had to be pulled. She was so afraid of people that she would run from her rescuer Momma. But with lots of love and patience, she grew into a cuddler that would sleep on her Momma’s pillow at night. She even got excited to meet new people! Patti changed her Momma’s life, bringing her into the rescue world and eventually to be Director of Dogs at Marden’s Ark Dog Tales. 

three dogs sitting in a row, center dog looking straight ahead while the other two are looking away

Rocco, Rosie, & Samantha

Rocco was a St Bernard/Retriever mix, a super sweet boy who never met a human crotch he didn’t like! He was surrendered by a family who couldn’t afford the costs of a jumbo dog. Rosie, a lab mix, was adopted to keep Rocco company. She was sweet to every dog, cat and human she ever met. Samantha, Great Pyrenees mix, had two homes before we adopted her from the Wake County Animal Shelter. She was our most complicated dog. She was sweet but protective and she liked to be in charge. She taught us many new things about dog ownership. She was a fur producing machine who never barked! We had ten great years with her and it was never boring!