This page last updated 8/08/23

Click here to share this page.

Be part of the good...Open Wide the Door

I video and record Animal Rescuers, Fosterers and Adopters who have welcomed in animals in need. These good folks speak of how and why they do what they do.

Certainly, each animal cared for well honors all animals not cared for. This understanding becomes living prayer for animals worldwide (perhaps next door) still at risk.


star to celebrate animal rescuers - fosterers - adopters
star to inspire animal rescue - fostering - adoption
on a broader scale

to reduce the numbers of shelter surrenders and returns
to help establish stronger animal-fostering networks
to honor all that animals teach us
when we see them deeply

to promote reverence for all life

The conversations, whether videoed or simply recorded, take place face-to-face or long distance, In Depth or On the Spot. The voices themselves tell stories, laced as they are with true emotion.

Some folks are glad to be videoed or recorded. Others choose to tell their stories anonymously — no photos or video, no name or location mentioned. In whichever form, with their permission, I post their conversations from my smartphone to the world.

Fosterers and adopters may differ as to daily routines and philosophy and practice of care. Some have plenty of money to spend on their animal companions' well being. Others have little.

​And s​ome have plenty of time. Their dogs get walked frequently, for example. Others – especially those who work two or three jobs or who are ill or ​very old or ​who have young children to care for, maybe some with special needs – ​make do with​ runs or fenced-in yards.

That said, you will recognize the common thread of dedication. Caregivers spay and neuter their cats and dogs and feed them and shelter them and stick by them (as well as stick by their birds and rabbits and goats and sheep and horses and . . .) You will “as they say” feel the love.

I urge you not to watch or listen on the basis of calling yourself a dog person or a cat person and the like. In fact, watching/listening you will hear folks speak of having switched preferences — cat lovers become bird lovers, dog lovers become cat lovers. Walls fall down.   

"At this point I am creating a digital quilt of stories,
not a documentary.
Though I have spent much time sound editing,
consistent with my intention to present the conversations well,
I now view the occasional hisses and highway noises,
chain saw din, folks chatting in the background,
dog collars jingling, birds sounding loudly,
as "accompaniment" to the rescuers' - fosterers' - adopters' clearly-spoken words."

The OPEN WIDE THE DOOR video and audio conversations feature compassion live. They celebrate the lengths to which human beings will go for the sake of animals in need, even in (especially in) extreme and tender times.

because every life matters, 
signature of maggie davis
maggie (davis)



Late summer 2012, a friend called to say that a pregnant, two-year-old pug/minpin/chihuahua mix had been found abandoned on a chain, no food or water. The call came a few weeks before my six-year-old greyhound companion, Muse, and I were to move from a small summer rental in Stonington, Maine, to my winter rental in that town.

An animal control officer had kept the little dog a couple of days, but she couldn’t stay with him, he said. And there was a question of her being able to whelp her pups successfully. I believed she was at risk of being euthanized.

Adopting another dog
— especially a pregnant, unsocialized one —
seemed far from a good idea.
But now I knew about Molly,
and I couldn’t unknow her.
 Setting common sense aside, I welcomed her in.

At first she barked and lunged at everything and everyone new she saw, including leaves looping by her in a breeze. When she and Muse and I went walking (Muse, easygoing — Molly, loving and intelligent but far from easygoing) — we were not a pretty sight.

I reminded myself how I might feel if suddenly I had been transplanted from an isolated life. I’d have barked and lunged, too, most likely, until gentle touch and positive training, plus plenty of reassuring sniffs, could help me feel more secure.

Dogs far too often are returned to shelters when
they lunge and bark at other dogs.
Or they are labeled as Dogs Who Don’t Like Other Dogs
when, in fact — as with Molly — often they simply
are either very excited to see other dogs,
or are afraid of them.

Cats are returned as well, or worse.
A cat who recently had lost the person
she’d been with for ten years
peed on her adopter’s bed the first night in her new home
and was euthanized the next day.

Thankfully, many give their dogs and cats and horses and . . . .
a chance to settle in.
These folks call up times they, themselves,
have been most frightened 
and, remembering,
offer compassion to their new companions.
A woman adopting two goats who cried almost ceaselessly
sensed their terror
and comforted them with her presence
until they felt more at home.

Two veterinarians confirmed my concern that Molly would be delivering several large puppies. (It turned out she had been impregnated by a pit bull.) I added her story to several online prayer circles for pets. In the past, posting prayers for the sake of both humans and animals has worked very well (too many coincidences to be coincidences?). In any case, a week later, far-from-easygoing Molly serenely whelped seven hefty puppies on my couch, a caring friend and I “attending.”

No respite. In a few days, a call came in that a beautiful female Staffordshire mix had been found running free along one of our island’s main roads.

A woman had reported the young dog missing and searched, without success, for her person. She’d let the dog stay in her barn, and fed and walked her. The sweet pup had to be moved right away, however, and — so far — no one had offered to take her in.

Refresh page to reload this video.

Click the play button, above, on Mercy’s video.
See why Mercy moved me so...and later moved a family to adopt her.

I was able to locate a second temporary fosterer in a housing project in town. If no one claimed the Staffordshire mix, I intended to film her then post a video of her online to help her be adopted to a loving home.

Then someone at the housing project failed to see the beauty in her and reported her to the project manager who banned her instantly. This the manager did despite this dog’s lovely ways. This he did without meeting her. According to her current fosterer, I had half an hour to scoop her up before the police arrived.

Scoop her up, I did. At once, I saw the good in her. I wished mercy for her and named her Mercy. Before we drove away, I filmed her meeting a new friend.

for a better viewing experience
1) buffer completely before watching
2) play full screen
3) turn up volume
4) choose HD setting (click on the little settings wheel)

Also: Like, Share, Comment, SUBSCRIBE!
What a difference this makes for the animals!

Do read each conversation's YouTube description.

That afternoon, I made calls to shelters and individuals throughout Maine to see if I could find yet another fosterer. All the while Mercy stayed with me in my van, which I’d parked beside my rental cottage.

Her eyes spoke volumes. I didn’t want to confine her. But the cottage I was renting was small and featured a fairly open floor plan. Now, with Molly and the pups (plus Muse and me) in residence, it felt jam-packed.

I walked Mercy as much as I could, considering Molly and Muse needed walking,too. And of course Molly’s pups needed tending. Weaving between these responsibilities, I calmed all (including myself) best I could, the chubby puppies faring best of all.   

A friend who lives over an hour away on Mt. Desert island offered to let me introduce Mercy to his pack of rescues, some of whom are pit bulls. “She’s welcome to stay if they all get along with her,” he told me over the phone. Mercy and I made the trip to his home while a Stonington neighbor watched over Muse, Molly and the puppies.

All my friend’s dogs did get along with Mercy — all his dogs . . . but one. I intended to stay positive, but my heart sank. A young woman at my friend’s house took one look at my face and at Mercy’s, then at once came up with another Mt. Desert island lead. I followed it, but the situation didn’t feel right. I kept Mercy with me.

The sun was setting as we started back to Stonington. I stopped at the store in Ellsworth where I buy dog food and asked every customer with a kindly face if he or she would foster Mercy even for a little while, or try to think of someone responsible who might foster her.

Those I spoke with sympathized with Mercy — and they encouraged me — but no one took her in or could think of anyone who might do that.

I didn’t know how Mercy and Muse and Molly and her pups and I would get even a wink of sleep that night or how we’d get through the coming days. I did know, if need be, we’d get through them together.

Thinking of others in similar circumstances
— and much stronger circumstances —
I pictured the same good for them and the animals in their care
that I pictured for Mercy and for myself.
I knew I’d be helping strengthen animal fostering efforts
in Maine, and beyond, so that fewer people would have to go it alone
     with an Animal in Need who deserved sanctuary.

When we got home to my island neighborhood, I slept with Mercy in my van next to my rental cottage porch. I walked her between our “naps,” all the while checking in often on Molly and Muse and the pups. Barking would have started Muse and Molly barking and Molly’s pups scrambling. Mercy did well. No commotion.

The next morning I called one of the shelters I’d phoned the day before. The assistant manager, whom I know and respect, had reconsidered accepting Mercy. Hearing I could bring her in, I nearly melted with relief. During the two-hour trip to the shelter — Muse, Molly and the pups safe at home and watched over — Mercy next to me, soulful and calm, I filmed a few more clips for the video I’d be making on Mercy’s behalf.

The shelter staff welcomed Mercy with open arms. She responded, tail wagging. I trusted she’d be safe until she found a loving home. Still, my heart ached. I could barely leave her behind.

During the previous twenty-four hours, I’d listened to good people in every circumstance tell me why they couldn’t take in another animal, even temporarily.

Before I adopted Molly, I had my own reasons: I’m on my own. I’m moving in a month. Both my summer and winter rental spaces are small. I won’t, in winter, safely be able to walk two dogs of different sizes and temperaments. I’m not sure I have enough money to care for another dog.

Some individuals literally
cannot rescue or foster or adopt,
even though they want to.
It’s also true
that what may be a challenge to one person
may not be as much a challenge to another
or, that to some people,
challenges simply are a part of living.

Some very old people
rescue, foster or adopt, responsibly.
Some people who are ill
— or who experience physical challenges —
do as well.

So do people who are renting, moving, allergic,
having a baby and so on.
Each person must determine
his or her capacities and motivations and priorities.
Animals don’t need a perfect life to be happy.
(Who has a perfect life?)

What they do need and deserve
are humans who see them deeply
and recognize all they may have suffered
purely to stay alive —
humans who treat them respectully
and with compassion
in ways animals themselves can feel.

Patience is key,
as are consistency and wholeheartedness.
In the best homes, animals are family.
They are teachers.

It is we who are fortunate to have them
not merely the other way around.
We can measure who we are
by how they are in our company.

Witnessing individuals living happily
with several animal companions inspires.
Desire to welcome in an Animal in Need
replaces fear of doing that.
Hearts open wider, and so do doors.

Help more Animals-in-Need. Make Open Wide the Door more than just a nice idea.

bell's palsy TELL YOUR STORY, via video or audio conversation. Be as private or as PUBLIC as you’d like to be.
bell's palsy Share this OPEN WIDE THE DOOR webpage on your social media sites and blogs.
bell's palsy Attach it to emails you send, asking those you email to do the same.
bell's palsy Those who cannot rescue, foster or adopt still can help — donations, dog/cat walking, nail trimming, grooming, visiting. There is no end to the ways you can help if you want to do that, and there’s no end of need.

maggie s davis
324 Grant St., Ellsworth, ME  04605

How wonderful that more and more individuals
(whose lives — like yours or mine — may be far from suitable)
strrrrrretch beyond their comfort zone
and welcome in an animal who has no one.
Each time an animal is welcomed in,
one fewer animal suffers.

  Some do this in honor of animals
they already care for every day,
or animals they have cared for in the past
who remain dear to them
— or in honor of animals loved ones have loved.

  To forestall concerns and overcome obstacles,
these folks utilize out-of-the-box creative thinking.
They fine tune their attitudes as well as their living space.
They explore others’ solutions
to rescuing/fostering/adopting issues.

   Despite an occasional — or even ongoing challenge —
they honor their heart’s response
to an animal who needs them,
and wouldn’t have it any other way.

color bar

In honor of an animal/animals in your care, past and present, WATCH and LISTEN here.

color bar