Who Are We?

Cast of characters:

Ian Achterberg

Ian with Flanner O’Connor (foster #119)
Ian is a high school senior. Photography and media are a passion of his and our first trip was his idea– a chance to see where some of the dogs we foster come from and to use his skills to help raise awareness of the situation. Ian is also a talented writer, having won a Scholastic National Gold Medal for his personal essay about one of our foster dogs. You can follow Ian’s 365 photography project on Instagram at Instagram.com/iachterberg_photo.

You may be curious about Ian’s hairstyle – rest assured it’s not cancer. Ian has alopecia areata universalis, a non-contagious auto-immune disorder that causes his white blood cells to attack his body’s hair follicles. Other than having no hair, Ian is very healthy and in addition to lifting weights, he competes in Varsity Swimming and Track & Field, in addition to playing soccer. If you’d like to know more about alopecia, visit National Alopecia Areata Foundation.

Cara Achterberg

Cara with her beloved Frankie out for a spin
Cara is an author, blogger, and creative writing teacher who is passionate not just about saving dogs, but about organic gardening, writing fiction, and the mountains of Virginia. Her latest book is Another Good Dog: One Family and Fifty Foster Dogs (Pegasus Books, 2018). Her next book (also published by Pegasus) is One Hundred Dogs and Counting: One Woman, A Thousand Miles, and a Journey into the Heart of Shelters and Rescues and will be out summer 2020. You can find more information about Cara on her website, CaraWrites.com.

Our family fosters for Operation Paws for Homes, an all-breed rescue made up of a network of foster homes in MD, DC, VA, and south-central PA. To date, we have fostered nearly 150 dogs and puppies (plus two kittens).

Nancy Slattery

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Nancy with her dog Edith Wharton, a previous foster dog of Cara’s and now a certified therapy dog

Nancy is a photographer who can shoot just about anything, but truly shines when she tackles subjects having to do with the saving of dogs (or her amazing rescue dog, Edith Wharton). A preschool teacher and mother to four baby adults, she loves searching for really good pizza and vintage Alfa Romeos. Lucky Nancy says she is currently married to ‘the best person I know’ for thirty years.



Patty Larson

IMG-0122Originally from Iowa, Patty worked in international development for 15 years and was fortunate to work in more than 15 countries, mainly in Africa. (She was a volunteer in Haiti for 2 years.) Subsequently, she worked in immigration and refugee assistance in Montgomery County, MD where she has lived for 20+ years. She grew up with an English bulldog and two collies and now has three rescue dogs of her own.  Patty and her husband, Jerry, started fostering dogs a year ago after being inspired by Cara’s book, Another Good Dog.  She brings skills and experience in grant research and writing, organizational development, community outreach, strategic planning and evaluation to assist organizations helping dogs in need.  Loves biking, hiking, traveling and learning about other cultures & spending time with dogs of all kinds.