Vienna Pet-Pal Stories

Vienna Pet-Pal Stories

Cinnamon Dirth with Ava and Cal Dirth. Dara Dirth, Vienna.

Cinnamon Dirth with Ava and Cal Dirth. Dara Dirth, Vienna.


Emily Korff, Vienna, and Nico.

Every pet-family has a story, some happy, some poignant.Their stories are a reminder of the unconditional love and devotion that pets bring into a home.


“My youngest dog, Nico, is a rescue who has lived in our house since the day he was born. Nico’s mom had given birth to seven puppies in the three-hour drive in the HART transport van from the shelter in rural Virginia, and gave birth to one more when they arrived at our house. We raised Nico and his littermates as fosters until they were old enough to leave their mom. As a photographer, I really enjoyed capturing sweet moments with the mother and her little puppies. We ended up adopting Nico, and, most of his litter-mates were adopted to other families we know in Vienna, and we have enjoyed continuing to see them grow up.”


Rio and Katie, loved by Mary Kay Claus and Jim Sweeney, Vienna.


Rio, with the frosted face, and Katie adopted us in 2006 and 2011 from Lab Rescue of the LRCP Inc. Our lives have never been better.

Rio embraced the role of big sister and has taught Katie how to give Mom and Dad that ‘special look’ in order to be rewarded with butt-scratches, tummy rubs, ear rubs, and full-body massages. The girls enjoy taking Mom on a walk every morning and hanging out at the dog park a few times a week.

And, they are pretty sure their dad is the most special guy in the whole world. Mom isn’t so bad because she feeds them and gives them treats for dessert. Rio and Katie have several favorite places to hang out: leather sofas, comfy dog pillows and area rugs. But, their most favorite hang-out space is Mom and Dad’s king-sized bed. They are eternally grateful for their much-needed early morning snuggle time. Rio, aka the ‘love sponge,’ makes sure the deer stay out of the yard and away from their outside toys. Katie’s hidden talent is her ability to do a spot-on Chewbacca imitation when she is yawning … or, when she just feels like it.

Together, we make one big happy family.


Photo is of Katie DiFrancisco, surrounded by the six puppies - Scout, Bella, Patches, Chase, Grayson and Kierra. All have been adopted out. Elizabeth DiFrancisco, Vienna.

Why foster?

When I spy a photo of an innocent dog, I ask myself, how can I make a difference? My foster,, rescues Great Pyrenees from high-kill southern shelters and help finds foster and forever homes for the rescued pets.

Our family has opened our house to almost 30 Pyrenees and has found homes for every single one of them. The rescue cross-posts with and we network via social media to find homes. Though it tugs at the heart each time a pup leaves our home, we know that they are in good hands as each forever home is thoroughly vetted prior to placement. Our family loves to foster the babies. We have had three litters; the youngest group was only five weeks old. Though housebreaking and chewing can be a challenge, our older dogs help out and make the process fun. We always have teenagers visit and come to socialize the babies with us. It is amazing to see the compassion these teens have when they hear the stories of each dog we foster. Our favorite was a group of six babies. The pups were about seven weeks old when they arrived, straight from a high-kill shelter via a transport shuttle. We were allowed to name them, which is always fun. If our home was larger, we would have kept all of them. Thankfully, all six found forever homes and are thriving.

Can’t wait for the next group of babies to arrive.


Krause girls Maddie and Chloe with Luna as a puppy. Katrina Krause, Vienna.


“Little did we know when we adopted Luna in 2015 that she would completely change the pulse of our family. She has brought an energy and level of excitement into our home that we didn't even know we were missing. She loves to play ball and run after her Frisbee, but her most favorite pastime is [going to] the creek. She can't get enough playtime when it comes to the water. We love her to pieces and couldn't imagine our family without her.”


Cinnamon Dirth with Ava and Cal Dirth. Dara Dirth, Vienna.


One Saturday morning in September of 2013, we set out to a PetSmart store where the Lost Dog Rescue League was holding an adoption event. As we drove to the store, my husband and I made sure to tell the kids we were only looking and weren’t adopting a dog that day. Once we walked into the store, we saw a litter of beagle/Jack Russell Terrier puppies and I began to realize I was going to have to go back on my word since we all immediately fell in love with this litter of adorable six-week-old dogs. After a short interview and some paperwork, we were taking Cinnamon home. She was named Pearl, at the time. She has tan spots, including one on her side that we all thought looked like the shape of a heart.

From the first day, Cinnamon was a sweet, energetic, and cuddly girl who is, without a doubt, a member of the Dirth family. The entire family participates in caring for her, including walks to the bus stop and feeding her twice a day. She’s also always featured on our annual holiday card and, on occasion, we even bring her to the Lost Dog Café (and sit outside) to thank the folks at the restaurant for our sweet puppy. The Lost Dog Café also runs the rescue league where we found her two-and-a-half years ago.

Now, Cinnamon is a two-and-a-half-year-old happy and healthy dog and I can’t imagine our family without her - even with all her quirks, including occasionally barking at what seems like nothing in the backyard or trying to get leftovers off the kitchen table.

That’s our Cinnamon, also known as Cinna-monster.