The DiscoverMe Project™

The DiscoverMe Project™ is a new program that allows sheltered dogs from the County of San Diego Dept. of Animal Services – Carlsbad Shelter to go into temporary 2-week foster care with an approved Wagging Dog Rescue foster home so they can get a break from the stresses of being kenneled while providing mental, emotional and physical relief. The temporary reprieve also gives dogs a bit of a ‘reboot’ and enables them to better handle the stressful environment upon return.

Check out this great article from Maddie’s Fund about a pilot study conducted in 2016 on this very subject!

Thank You to Maddie’s Fund for supporting the DiscoverMe Project™ with an Innovation Grant! #ThanksToMaddie


Our ideal DiscoverMe Dog™ is one who:

  • is being passed up, sitting unnoticed at the shelter for weeks or even months
  • may not show well in his/her kennel (withdrawn, timid, barking, jumping, etc.) due to fear, personality, stress, etc. but who behaves differently when outside of the kennel and shelter environment
  • is beginning to show signs of kennel stress/deterioration
  • may have been adopted and returned, possibly more than once
  • is not in immediate risk of humane euthanasia

While in foster care, we’re able to learn more about the dog when in a normal home environment, which doesn’t always align with behavior seen in a stressful kennel environment. We’re able to share that valuable information – as well as foster provided photos and videos – with shelter staff and potential adopters in order to aid shelter marketing and adopter selection. As a secondary goal to the DiscoverMe Project™, through rigorous marketing and promotion we ultimately hope not to return the DiscoverMe Dog™ to the shelter but instead to see that animal safely in the care of a forever family or reputable rescue with a foster care provider.

If you’re an experienced dog person and are interested in temporarily fostering a DiscoverMe Dog™, email us today!

Can’t foster? You can still support this wonderful program with a tax-deductible donation.

Dogs currently in the DiscoverMe Project™ ~

The DiscoverMe Project Logo
There are no dogs currently in the DMP. Check back soon and see our successes below!

DiscoverMe Project™ SUCCESSES!

DiscoverMe Project™ Stats to date (since ‘inception’ ~June 30, 2017)

Total dogs taken into the DMP = 20

DMP Dogs adopted (directly from shelter) during DMP 2-3 week foster =




DMP Dogs rescued
(long term foster found via WDR) during DMP
period =




DMP Dogs returned
to the shelter at the conclusion of DMP
period =




Non-DMP Dogs adopted (directly from shelter) from marketing of a DMP dog =




Picture of Natasha DMP

Natasha – ADOPTED!

Read Natasha's Story

Natasha was one of our first DMP success. She sat in the shelter for almost three months and even got a feature as the pet of the week on the county site. More reserved and withdrawn in her kennel, people kept passing her by. It took the first 8 days of her stay in our DMP foster home before she really started coming out of her shell. We found her family during her July 2017 time in the DMP and they adopted her directly from the shelter before we had to take her back! Natasha has a sweet fur brother to play and cuddle with as well as several feline siblings.

Thank you, Tee and Gabe, for fostering!

Picture of Dallas DiscoverMe Shelter Dog

Dallas fka Pony Boy – ADOPTED!

Read Dallas' Story

Dallas, formerly known as Pony Boy in the shelter, went into temp foster in July 2017 and we were able to find a long term foster before he had to go back. The shelter provided Dallas with a much needed groom as well as a much needed dental, but deaf senior dogs are not exactly the type to fly off the shelter shelves. Lucky for this golden boy, we knew just the lady who would give him the perfect forever home. A repeat Wagging Dog family who previously adopted another deaf senior cocker gal from us, Dallas’ new mom said YES! when we asked if she had an opening for another sweet senior much like her first. Dallas now has an amazing life and gets to go everywhere with his momma, even flying in their airplane to destinations unknown!

Thank you, Machi and Chris, for fostering!

Picture of CeCe DiscoverMe Shelter Dog

Cece fka Coco – ADOPTED!

Read Cece's Story

Cece, formerly known as Coco the terrier at the shelter, went into temp DMP foster in July 2017 after not presenting well in her kennel for the previous couple months. She turned out to be so perfect once in a normal home environment that her temp foster family offered to foster her until we found a forever home! So we did!! Cece is now Fiona and has a fun loving life in Los Angeles with her forever fam and a turtle sibling!!

Thank you, Schneider Family, for fostering!

Picture of Thea DiscoverMe Shelter Dog

Thea fka Bettie – ADOPTED!

Read Thea's Story

Not an official DMP dog, Thea was known as Bettie when she arrived at the shelter in May 2017 with 25 of her closest relatives. Part of a sad hoarding situation, this beautiful dog was found in a yard by animal control, nursing a litter of puppies, with over 100 foxtails embedded all over her body including her ears and mammaries 🙁 She was among the last of her group to find a forever family even though she was the most social of the bunch around humans. Her mom and dad reached out to us about two other dogs then in the DMP who were not the best fit for their family. One of our dedicated DMP fosters, also a shelter volunteer, met mom and dad at the shelter and introduced them to Bettie. They were the first in line the next morning to adopt sweet Bettie on Clear The Shelters day in August! What a happy ending for this once neglected beauty!

Thank you, Melanie, for making this possible!

Picture of Monty DiscoverMe Shelter Dog

Monty – ADOPTED!

Read Monty's Story

Pretty much everyone in the rescue was in love with lil man Monty lol. He arrived at the shelter in June 2017 when his owner died and the rest of the family didn’t want to be responsible for any bills, and he came in with a gal named Bella, both senior chi mixes. They were reportedly bonded, and they sat in the shelter for a couple months waiting for someone to want to adopt not just one, but two older wawas. It didn’t happen. What was so appalling about Monty’s condition was that he had a broken femur that was severely displaced, and he was never taken to a vet to have it fixed! 🙁 Who does that?? The injury was so old that it was no longer fixable, and amputation wasn’t really an option because he also had another bum front leg and between the two not-quite-right limbs, he was still able to get around. Removal of the rear limb would have caused major problems with his mobility. Being the resilient and adaptable animals that canines are, Monty had learned to live with his broken leg and was able to get around well enough. Still though, our hearts broke every time we watched him move, and we were excited to have him in the DMP.

While this dynamic duo was in our DMP foster home, we learned that they were not truly bonded animals after all. We were able to share this info with shelter staff so they would approve them to be adopted separately. Asking someone to take two dogs instead of just one makes it that much harder for them to find a home. While Monty and Bella enjoyed each other’s company, they were also totally fine being separated and also got along well with other dogs. Because of this valuable feedback from our foster parents, Monty was able to be adopted by a wonderful lady on Clear The Shelters Day. She came to the shelter and asked for a dog who was going to have the hardest time finding a home. She walked out with our smiling lil man and we couldn’t be happier!! Woohoo!

Thank you, Rebekah and Eric, for fostering!

Picture of Bella DiscoverMe Shelter Dog

Bella – ADOPTED!

Read Bella's Story

This ravishing beauty, Bella, arrived at the shelter with another adorable chichi, Monty, when their owner died and the rest of the family didn’t want to be responsible for any bills. Both dogs were seniors and reportedly bonded meaning they couldn’t be separated. It’s a lot to ask of an adopter to take not just one senior dog, but two. So they sat unwanted in their kennel for a couple months before we were able to take them into the DMP. While with us, we realized that these two nuggets, while fond of each other, were not truly bonded. They could very easily live without each other and/or with other dogs. This valuable feedback, which was shared with shelter staff, enabled both Bella and Monty to be adopted by two different families on Clear The Shelters Day in August 2017! Nice!

Thank you, Rebekah and Eric, for fostering!

Picture of Chorizo DiscoverMe Shelter Dog

Chorizo – ADOPTED!

Read Chorizo's Story

Cutie Chorizo was only in the DMP for a week. You rarely saw him in his kennel at the shelter because he was always buried under a blanket. The shelter went the extra mile for this senior guy, giving him a dental when he was neutered, but even with his dashing good looks and energetic personality, lil Chorizo still waited and waited for someone to take him home. That wait ended on Clear The Shelters Day in August 2017 when we he was adopted! YAY!

Thank you, Shirley, for fostering!

Picture of DJ DiscoverMe Shelter Dog


Read DJ's Story

Gentle, shy 9-yr-old DJ was left at the shelter when his family moved without him at the beginning of July. 2017 He had a terrible time adjusting to shelter life and it showed in his behavior in his kennel 🙁 No one who saw him could envision the quiet, well behaved introvert behind the barking, lunging and somewhat frightening dog in the kennel, so DJ was passed up day after day and eventually had to be moved to an isolated kennel to lessen his stress. He simply couldn’t handle visitors staring in at him while confined in his kennel space. Thanks to a willing DMP foster, we were able to place him in a real home in August and told the world about the real DJ. And sure enough, we found his forever dad and forever fur brother before he had to go back to the shelter! Twinsies? Maybe!! DJ (right) is estimated to be about the same age as his fur brother Rex (left) and they both came from the Carlsbad shelter (several years apart). DJ is a perfect example that the dog you see in the kennel is not necessarily the dog in real life.

Thank you, Lisa, for fostering!

Picture of Flower Girls DiscoverMe Shelter Dog

The Flower Girls – ADOPTED!

Read Daisy and Clover's Story

These two lil bonded ladies, Daisy and Clover, sat unnoticed in the shelter for two months before entering the DMP in September 2017. Being black, and older, and truly bonded, they didn’t even have one single interact with an interested party! 🙁 Their bodies showed signs of a life of neglect, and even though the shelter provided excellent care for both including dentals so they’d have sparkly smiles, they still were afflicted with irritated skin and appeared older than they likely were. After being placed in our DMP foster home, through rigorous marketing and a series of serendipitous events, our Flower Girls found the most amazing forever home and now have the perfect life! Huzzah!! Read about their incredible adoption story here!

Thank you, Rebekah and Eric, for fostering!

Picture of Squints DiscoverMe Shelter Dog

Squints fka Markie – ADOPTED!

Read Squints' Story

Squints, known as Markie at the shelter, was saved by animal control on 9/1/17 after surviving in a canyon on a triple digit day. When he was finally caught, he was understandably stressed, dehydrated and suffering from heat stroke. He quickly became a shelter staff and volunteer favorite, so when his forever fam reached out about a DiscoverMe Dog™ who wasn’t the best match, we connected them with Markie! From Markie now Squint’s new mom – ‘We couldn’t be happier with this little pup. He has fit right in, he is such a sweetheart and [my son] was so happy he cried…he keeps saying, I cant believe I have my own dog! Thank you so much!’

Picture of Koa DiscoverMe Dog

Koa – Available Wagging Dog!

Read Koa's Story

Koa was left in the night drop at the shelter in August 2017 by the mother of his former owner when that person ended up in jail. He was quickly adopted by a family with a new baby who returned him a few days later citing all kinds of horrible things about him. What was witnessed in the shelter didn’t match what they reported, so we took him into a temp DMP foster home and put their words to the test. Turns out he’s nothing like the naughty dog they spoke of – in fact, he’s a total gentleman! He showed his temp foster mom that he was such a dreamboat, she and her husband decided to long term foster him until we find him a forever home! Koa is currently available for adoption in our rescue. You can check out his profile here and let us know if you’d like to meet our resident fox!! He’s PAWESOME!!

Thank you, Lauren and Charles, for fostering!

Picture of Simba DiscoverMe Shelter Dog

Simba – ADOPTED!

Read Simba's Story

Simba landed in the shelter in September 2017 when his former owner decided it was no longer convenient to keep him. It was a good thing because the poor little guy was dropped off severely matted, infested with fleas, overweight, under socialized and understandably very fearful and reactive. We were able to place him in a DMP foster home and ultimately found him the perfect forever dad before he had to go back! Dad says they’re best buds and it’s been a great adventure 🙂 We’re so happy for these BFFs!

Thank you, Stephanie and Chris, and Melanie, for fostering!

Picture of Ricky DiscoverMe Shelter Dog

Ricky – ADOPTED!

Read Ricky's Story

Lil Ricky’s luck changed for the better when we were able to place him into the DMP in November 2017. Animal control saved him from a hoarding situation along with a bunch of other small dogs, and his previous owners had him debarked. He sat at the shelter for 3 months and was the last of his group of littles still waiting for a home. After moving into temp foster with an amazing family whose previous pup passed earlier this year, we quickly learned what a terrific dog he was and lo and behold, his DMP foster family decided to adopt him! YAYAY!

Thank you, Donna and Stan, for fostering – and adopting!!

Picture of Jessie DiscoverMe Shelter Dog

Jessie – ADOPTED!

Read Jessie's Story

Beautiful Jessie came from a rough past and she was seen running the streets for a week, dragging a chain leash, before animal control saved her. She was super thin and her skin and coat were in really poor shape, her ears almost bald with fly strike. The shelter was worried that she might be developing pyometra, an often fatal uterine infection common to female dogs left un-spayed, so they put her under for spay surgery right away and also gave her a dental. She received excellent care while at the shelter but was there for over 4 months, waiting for someone to appreciate her amazing qualities. She was very shut down and slow to trust, not easy for all of the volunteers to handle due to her shyness. It’s difficult for a dog who is more reserved, and she kept getting passed up day after day. She struggled to gain weight and gain confidence in the shelter and we knew she’d be an ideal candidate for our DiscoverMe Project!

From her first day in the DMP, Jessie was already starting to relax and decompress. It took her around 8 days to really start coming out of her shell. Her dedicated foster mom, also a dedicated shelter volunteer, continued to work with her and earn her trust. She even caught Jess on film being a dog a few days into her stay, running zoomies in the backyard and leaping in sheer joy 🙂 It was really wonderful to witness this dog transform in the couple weeks of her stay in a DMP foster home. And thankfully, the day before she was due to return, sweet Jessie found her parents. They adopted her on the last day of her time in the DMP! Such a wonderful success!

Thank you, Melanie, for fostering!!

Picture of DiscoverMe Shelter Dog Abby


Read Abby's Story

This itty bitty 5 pound senior lady, Abby, was relinquished to the shelter with 3 other dogs when her former owner passed away. Sadly, the other 3 were in such poor health, the only appropriate action was to humanely let them go. The shelter felt that lil Abby, however, could still be helped so they took her into their care. She’s scheduled for a dental cleaning courtesy of the good folks at the shelter, and while she waits we were able to place her into one of our best foster homes. Poor Abby has been through a lot in a short amount of time and we’re happy to give her this break in a real home. Stay tuned for updates on this sweet lil beauty!

Thank you, Melanie, for fostering!

Picture of DiscoverMe Shelter Dog JJ

JJ – Available Wagging Dog!

Read JJ's Story

This sweet boy, JJ, arrived at the shelter with a couple other animals due to an unexpected tragedy that befell their former owner and themselves. A staff and volunteer favorite, JJ has been through a lot of upheaval recently. Adopted last month, he was unfortunately returned just 3 days later because the family’s other dog didn’t take to him right away. The adopter aid JJ was a good puppy who enjoys food and play 😉

JJ is currently available for adoption in our rescue. You can check out his adoption profile and let us know if you’d like to meet our little Minpin!! Please contact us at

Thank you, Aaron and Bethany, for fostering!

Picture of Rudy - DiscoverMe Project Shelter Dog

Rudy – Available Wagging Dog!

Read Rudy's Story

Rudy is a 2 year old 10 lb chi mix pup who’s had a tough past of failed families. He was adopted from a southern shelter last summer, returned to another shelter last fall, transferred to our Carlsbad shelter, adopted a few days before Xmas, then returned a few days after Xmas due to a bite. Rudy’s a sensitive little dog who just needs understanding people who will not pressure him into feeling like he has no other options. He needs people who will help him to feel safe and able to trust humans again, so thankfully we were able to place him into an awesome DMP foster home! He took to the teenage son immediately and has been a real gem so far. He was great in the car, great with the foster’s other dog whom he tends to follow around, was great for his bath, and hasn’t had any accidents in his temp foster home yet. What a good boy! We’ll learn more about Rudy over the next couple weeks and give him a much needed break with a responsible family who will help guide him along his path to a forever family!

For more info on our DiscoverMe Dog™ Rudy –

Thank you, Mary, for fostering!

Picture of Dudley - DiscoverMe Project Shelter Dog

Dudley – Interviewing Potential Adopters!

Read Dudley's Story

Dudley is an adorable creamy white fluffy who’s just a pup at 2 years old and just shy of 10 lbs. His former owner brought him into the shelter to be euthanized for biting, but we feel that his reactivity was due to a bad ear infection in both ears. We can hardly blame him for acting out when he was suffering and in pain. He is sensitive to hands reaching over his head, likely because of this, but has been a real gem for all shelter staff and volunteers. The shelter treated his ear and eye infections and asked if we could give him a break and get to know him better in a temp DMP foster home. Lucky Dudley boy landed a great temp foster and we’ll share more about him in the next couple weeks!

Thank you, Tiffany, for fostering!

Interested in being a temporary DiscoverMe Project™ foster family?

Take the next step and fill out our foster application!

We’ll contact you as soon as we receive it.