Fostering a Dog -A Continuation

“I let my heart break a little, so theirs will never break again.”

Our last blog introduced us to fostering a dog and how it is a win-win situation for shelters, dogs, and fosters.  Simply put, it is saving lives.  Fostering keeps animals out of shelters.  As wonderful as shelters are, they can be stressful for a dog from the lack of quiet, space and exercise.  There is nothing like the warmth and love of a home environment!   Dogs in foster care tend to be less anxious and more socialized.  Learn more from Katie Gallant who is happy to be a foster dog mom!

“I made the decision to foster after the loss of my childhood dog last November. I’m a veterinary student and don’t always have the time or finances to care for a dog properly but needed some canine love in my life.  I couldn’t have asked for a better foster experience. I picked up my foster puppies and immediately panicked that I didn’t know what I was doing, that I didn’t know how to care for puppies so young and wouldn’t be able to train them properly with my school schedule. But everything went smoothly, and they gave me just as much joy as I could hope.

Everyone in my life thought that I would foster fail, because I loved these puppies so dearly. Luckily, fate stepped in to teach me an important lesson about just how important fostering is. I posted pictures of the puppies on Facebook, and a friend reached out about adopting one puppy for him and his new wife and one for his father. After meeting the puppies, they were immediately in love, and their applications got gold stars. The puppies were getting a perfect home with great people, and they would see each other all the time. They also helped to heal a family who had just experienced a big loss.

A lot of people have asked how I can give up puppies that I love so much, but watching these puppies get the perfect forever home and bring such happiness to such great people was inspiring. Just because I haven’t known the adopters of my subsequent fosters as well, doesn’t mean that they’re not as deserving or don’t love the puppies just as much. I’m still in touch with all my adopters and each dog is loved so dearly.

Fostering is not only so beneficial for anyone who is not sure they are ready for a dog or unable to adopt for any reason, but so helpful to animals in need. Fostering takes dogs out of a stressful shelter situation and helps them learn love and life skills that will help them to succeed in their forever homes. I definitely recommend it to anyone with room in their heart and their home.”

Do you have room in your heart and your home to foster?  Please contact us at 215-538-2510.  Stay tuned for more fostering experiences in our next blog!

Posted:  September 28, 2021, by Jill Roggio

Fostering a Dog – Is it right for you?

 “I let my heart break a little, so theirs will never break again.”

Fostering is taking in a homeless dog and giving them care, love and attention for either a predetermined period or until someone adopts the dog.  Fostering is critically important to rescue organizations due to some of the following reasons:

*The shelter does not have space for adoptable dogs

*A dog has not lived in a home before or has not had much contact with people and needs to be socialized.

*A dog is recovering from surgery, illness or injury and needs a safe place to recuperate.

*A puppy is too young to be adopted and needs a safe place to stay until he or she is old enough to go to a forever home.

Fostering a dog can be a rewarding experience – if you know what it entails, and you are ready for the commitment. Most fosters do some training and work on socialization skills for the foster dog, so they have a good chance at being adopted.  They also provide food, exercise and a loving home including introducing the dog to a home environment and possibly getting them used to being around other pets and different types of people.

Joanna Silver is a foster dog mom for Last Chance Ranch (LCR).  Learn more from her thoughts about fostering!

“I’ve LOVED volunteering at LCR for the past couple years, and I’ve always wanted to foster for them – my mom fostered puppies for Guiding Eyes while we were growing up, so I knew what a wonderful experience it could be.  When Covid hit and I started working from home, it gave me the perfect opportunity to foster!  We fostered our first puppy in September of 2020 and knew immediately that he would be a foster fail (Tucker – picture to the left).  Seeing this tiny little fluffball go from being a timid little puppy to a ball of happy energy in just a few days was amazing….it just shows you what a difference being in a home can make.   The wonderful staff at LCR made fostering so easy too, always there to answer any questions or concerns.   My pit bull is the best foster big brother any home could ask for – so patient and playful and sweet, and our foster fail is such a happy, playful pup – that combined with the fact that our first foster experience with LCR was so great, we knew we wanted to keep fostering puppies as long as we could.

Our second foster puppy was a beautiful German Shepherd/Husky mix who came from a tough situation and was incredibly fearful.  The day we brought him home, it took us almost 2 hours to even get him to come out of his crate.  But being around our dogs gave him confidence, and in just a few short weeks, he learned how to “dog” and he was more comfortable being around strangers.   He was a perfect example of why fostering is so important – he needed to be around people and other dogs constantly to show him that the outside world isn’t so scary and that being in a home can be fun.  It’s also so important for foster parents to get to know their puppies and their personalities, so that they can help the staff find the perfect home for them to thrive.   Being in a foster home also gives these puppies a head-start, learning how to socialize with other dogs and people, learning basic obedience, getting started on housebreaking…it’s all so important.   We’ve fostered a few more puppies for LCR since then, and it’s been more fun than we could’ve imagined…. who wouldn’t want to get to spend a few weeks with an adorable puppy?!  Sure, it’s so tough when they leave for their forever home (yes, I cry when they leave!  Happy tears & sad tears), but it’s also so incredibly rewarding.  I’ve been fortunate that most of my fosters’ new families have kept in touch with photos and updates, and I can’t put into words how great it is to see these little puppies grow into wonderful family dogs.   To think that some of them may not have had this chance if they didn’t have fosters.  Fostering puppies is tough, but it is absolutely the most rewarding thing I’ve ever done, and I’m so grateful to LCR for giving me the opportunity.  I read a great quote about fostering that really stuck with me, and I think it sums it up perfectly – “I let my heart break a little, so theirs will never break again.”

Does this sound like something you would like to do?  Please contact us at 215-538-2510.

Stay tuned for more fostering experiences in our next blog!

Posted:  September 9, 2021 by Jill Roggio

Last Chance Ranch

Horses Rescued From Auction

Horse auctions are where people conduct the commercial trade in equines.  People sell or consign horses at auction for various reasons.  For some, the auction is an excellent place for buyer and seller to meet and arrive at fair market value for a horse.  Some auctions sell quality horses and can be a good outlet for owners to relieve themselves of the financial burden of an unwanted horse.  Unfortunately, some auctions may also be the last stop for horses before shipping to slaughter.

The extreme downside to the horse auction is that you will see animals who are injured, need to be trained and have been neglected.  You will see animals who are permanently lame or have neurological issues and are brought back time and time again when the new owner realizes they cannot fix the issue.  You will see horses in pain while the owner is trying to make money, horses that are thrown away because they will not have a career in racing and horses that are used for summer camp and whose owners do not want to take care of them during the winter.  The harsh reality of our current American horse population is there are far too many horses and few too many homes for them.

Those equines that are not purchased by individuals or saved by rescue groups, ultimately find themselves in the kill or “feedlot” pen where kill buyers purchase these horses for pennies on the pound.  Luckily, animal rescues, like Last Chance Ranch, save horses lives when they can.

These horses found a second chance at life after being rescued from a horse auction.  Sometimes we can rescue horses that are turned away from the sale because they are too skinny or too injured to run through.   Vera and Glacier are two of those horses.





Vera- $100- 1st photo, black Percheron mare

Glacier- $150- 2nd photo, chestnut Belgian gelding

Donkeys (Theodore and Earl)- $200 Each

Violet- $185- black mare

These are just a few of the hundreds of equines Last Chance Ranch (LCR) has rescued from auction over the past 20 years. We frequent local auctions when we have the funds and space available.  We currently have an auction horse fund, that individuals can donate to.  These funds are used to directly purchase horses and provide them with any emergency care required while they are in quarantine.

Horses obtained from an auction need to be in quarantine from other animals because many of them are sick, have been exposed to sick horses, have sustained injuries, have chronic issues that have not been identified and if they are purchased without prior vaccination records, the safest approach is to assume that the horse has no prior vaccination history. We are often rescuing horses that require immediate veterinary care (lameness issues, founder, masses, eye issues, neurological disorders, illness and more). Unfortunately, some of the horses we rescue come to LCR to have a few days of love and attention before we must make the difficult decision to let them go, since we do save the more extreme cases at the sale.

We typically spend $500-$1000 to save full sized equines from auction.  For miniature horses and ponies, we spend less than $350. These prices are based on the current price buyers can purchase equines for slaughter/meat prices. We try to coordinate with other rescues at the auction so that we do not bid against each other to rescue as many as we can!

The first step in rehabilitating a rescued horse, especially in a malnourished or debilitated condition, is to work with a veterinarian and feed consultant to assess the overall health.  A slow steady approach is taken when introducing feed.  Too much, too soon, can cause “Refeeding Syndrome” and can overwhelm the digestive and metabolic system and can end up killing the horse.  The importance of dental care, high grade forage, and quality grain feeds is extremely important in the recovery process.  The costs of recovering a starved horse are very high including feeding, shelter, and medication but if successful, rehabilitating a neglected horse can be a very rewarding experience.

As always, our mission is to provide a safe and secure refuge for abused, unwanted or neglected animals.  There are so many ways to help us save animals.  Please click here to see how you can help!

Posted:  July 12, 2021, by Jill Roggio

Summer Camp Fun at Last Chance Ranch!

Many of us fondly reflect on summer camp and as adults, it may have even been a formative part of our lives!  It is a place that children can not only have fun but learn about themselves, other people, and the world around them.  Last Chance Ranch offers a unique summer camp experience for 9 weeks this summer!  These weeks are divided up between horse camp and rescue camp.

For horse camp, it is just like the name says, it is all about horses!  The weeks are split up this year based on age and riding ability. The beginners have two weeks separate from the intermediate riders (those who can walk/trot independently).  Each day the campers get a 45 minute to an hour-long group lesson.  Each day at camp is a different theme for the riding portion! For example, one of the days will be a games day, so the kids can play games on horseback! Some of the fun games include egg and spoon, dollar bareback, red light – green light, barrel racing and more!


The final day (which is Friday), is a horse show day. This is where we invite the family members of the campers to come and watch the kids demonstrate the skills they have been working on all week. Each kid makes their own course and can decorate their horse for the show.  When not on the horses, the kids get to do other activities that are geared towards equines. They learn that it is not all about riding and horses are a lot to care for! The care they get to participate in includes mucking out stalls and dry lot areas, scrubbing water buckets/troughs, feeding hay and grain, etc. The campers also get the opportunity to watch the farrier (hoof trimming/shoeing), dentist and veterinarian, as all of those are involved in the care of horses. But it is not all hard work during camp! The campers do other fun activities such as scavenger hunts, water games (especially on those 100-degree days), giving the horses baths, crafts and more!

For rescue camp, every day involves a different animal. The kids get to learn about dogs/cats, small animals (such as rabbits, hamsters, ferrets, etc.), but also have a day or two to learn about horses as well. For the horse day(s), the kids get a basic introduction into horses and a group riding lesson. They will all learn how to halter/lead a horse, how to catch one in the field, groom and bathe a horse along with how to tack up before riding.  The benefits of summer camp and learning about animals are endless and can influence children for a lifetime.  Is your child excited to experience the joy of summer camp with horses or animals?

To sign up your child for camp,  go to our program page on the Last Chance Ranch Website:


Posted:  May 12, 2021, by Jill Roggio

Minions at Last Chance Ranch?!?!

We all know and love the “Minions”, those fictional characters that appear in the Despicable Me franchise, but did you know that Last Chance Ranch (LCR) has their own “Minions”?

The fondly called “Minions” are teenagers that are current lesson students at LCR.  They came to Marie’s rescue one Saturday when she did not have an assistant and back-to-back lessons were scheduled all day!  Marie manages the horseback riding lesson program at LCR.  Check out our last blog to meet the amazing horses who are part of her lesson program.

Since that day, the minions help Marie get the lesson horses to/from the fields, get them ready for lessons, give birthday party pony rides (which are temporarily discontinued due to COVID) and assist with summer camp activities.  They also school (this means to exercise/train) some of the adoptable horses.  Even when there is not a lot to do, they will still hang around the barn after school, ready to assist with any project or horse that needs attention.

Why do the minions volunteer and love to be part of this special group?

Here are a few of their responses and pictures of them in action!

“I enjoy coming to LCR, learning about new horses and their abilities as this teaches me how to become a better rider with experiencing all the new/different situations.”

“I love being a minion as it has given me a good start to working with horses!”

“I love working with all the animals and have learned so much here!”







There is also a small group of adult volunteers who dedicate a couple of hours each week to help Marie work with the adoptable horses.  When someone wants to volunteer to ride, they have an evaluation ride on one of the lesson horses, so their abilities can best be matched to the appropriate horse(s).  Marie wants the volunteer riders to feel safe and never wants them to work with a horse that they are uncomfortable with.  It is not always riding that needs to be done, as some days, certain horses need to be groomed and lunged, or assistance is needed with an adoption appointment, etc.

Without volunteers, Marie would not be able to accomplish all the things that need to be done with the horses and the lesson program.  As with all the volunteers at Last Chance Ranch, they are very appreciated!  LCR could not be what we are today without our volunteers and friends!

Posted:  April 6, 2021, by Jill Roggio

Meet the lesson horses at Last Chance Ranch!

Marie Koder manages the horseback riding lesson program at Last Chance Ranch.  Her program is English based, with an emphasis towards Dressage.  All the students have the option to ride in an English or Western saddle, so they get to choose what makes them most comfortable.  Since Last Chance Ranch is a rescue facility and not considered show-oriented, lessons are geared towards giving students a solid foundation in all the basics including how to groom and tack/untack a horse.  Students can apply these essentials to any riding discipline, advancing to a show-oriented barn or getting their own horse.

The lesson program runs 5 days a week, Tuesdays through Saturdays with a varied schedule.  The program has grown vastly over the years and ranges from first-time beginner riders to students who have adopted an equine and want to sharpen their skills.

Part of our mission at Last Chance Ranch is to rehabilitate and train adoptable equines and we are lucky to have some great stars in our lesson program!

Cobalt                                  Cobalt and Triple

Cobalt is a 23-year-old Pony of the Americas who was found running around the streets of Philadelphia with another pony. He has been a part of the program for the past 5 years. He is super sweet, who takes care of his riders while making them work hard.  He teaches all the little kids how to ride as he can be quite lazy!  He has many nicknames, but the one you will hear him called the most is “Coco”.  Cobalt has done it all- birthday parties, dressage shows, cross country schooling, parades and has participated in our open houses.  He is a very brave steed and not much phases him other than the noises from people popping bubbles while chewing gum and using clippers.


Triple                                  Triple and Frosted


Triple Sec, fondly called Triple, he is a 20-year-old Arabian gelding who was an owner surrender. He has been in our program for the past 9 years!  He will happily tote around beginners of all ages and then will pick up the pace and jump a course with more advanced riders.  Even though Triple is perfect to ride, he does have some quirks!  He can be spooky, especially when ridden on the trails.  Plastic bags and paper are super scary to him no matter how much desensitization work we have done.


Finn                                    Finn and Cobalt

Finnegan, fondly called Finn, is a beefy Percheron/Standardbred cross who is the biggest horse in the program. Despite his large size, he is athletic! He has started going to some dressage shows this past year and loves all the action/attention he gets at the shows.  Finn is only 10 years old, and we got him from auction in 2017. He has one of the best personalities and is like a puppy dog!  He will put just about anything in his mouth and is always game to try new foods.  He loves different foods like watermelon, banana, Doritos, pop tarts, etc.





Frosted came to our program in April 2019 as an owner surrender. He has turned out to be a fun lesson horse, who is used from beginners of all ages through advanced riders.  His favorite things are jumping and going for trail rides!  Frosted is a very sweet horse who is always looking for attention.  He has joined Finn with attending dressage shows and hopefully will be able to go to more this year!



Cinnamon is a new addition to our program.  Cinnamon was obtained from auction in December 2020. She came to us very underweight, and quite shut down. She would not take any treats or grain by hand or a bucket and did not want to be caught in the field.  After giving her time to settle in and realize that things were not going to be bad here, she has slowly started to come out of her shell, and we are seeing just how sweet of a horse she is!  Cinnamon has a calm demeanor and is enjoying the attention from all her students.  She has learned that treats are a good thing, and her favorite is carrots!  A fun fact about Cinnamon is that she has a cool lace pattern along the top of her backend and as she gets older, it is supposed to get bigger.  Cinnamon does have a lip tattoo, and by the order of the numbers/letter, she was a racing Quarter Horse who is 12 years old.


Brisk is the newest addition to the program and the youngest at only 7 years old. He is a cute pony that came from the Amish and was the kid’s pony.  He has a fantastic personality and is always the first one over to us in the field.  He craves attention and is happy to do anything we ask of him. He is still getting into shape for the program, but he will make his debut soon!


Have you ever dreamed of learning how to ride a horse?  Whatever your age, it is never too early or too late to start!  Contact us today to sign up for a lesson:

Posted:  February 25, 2021, by Jill Roggio

A dog will never talk you out of going for a walk!

Are you sticking with your New Year’s Exercise resolution?

If you are and want to stay committed, we have a partner for you!

Dogs make great exercise partners because they just want to spend time with you.  Think about it!  People make up all kinds of excuses not to exercise, but dogs are always ready to go.  Dogs don’t care if it’s raining.  Dogs don’t care if it is cold.  Dogs don’t have a meeting or another obligation.

If you commit to a daily walk, your dog will start to expect it and look forward to it (which will also help to keep you on track!).  Having a dog as an exercise companion is simply………. Rewarding!

Check out some of our featured dogs that would make great exercise buddies:

Carl was bought as a Christmas gift in 2019, and his owners decided in 2020 they no longer wanted him. They unfortunately did not do a lot of training with him or even spend a lot of time with him, but despite his “ruff” start in life he is a friendly boy who is looking for a home with the time and patience to finish up his training and give him tons of mental and physical stimulation.  He is an active, strong, and smart boy from his mix of breeds and we are so saddened that his previous home never spent the time with him to give him proper outlets! He would NOT be good in a home with small dogs, cats, or young children (under 14). He would benefit from a fenced yard or a VERY active home!

Libby is a chunk Bull Terrier mix that is 5-6 months old and weighs just over 30 pounds. She is a young pup who does not know her size and needs a home that has the time, patience, and ability to finish up all of her much-needed training needs! She is a little rough and tumble with her playing and will need a dog that likes to play like she does! She can be very mouthy, and until she learns what is appropriate playing, she will not be good in a home with children under 12 years old. She is a loving puppy that just needs some finishing touches and a family that will do that for her!

Beefcake truly lives up to his name! This 80-pound goofy dog is affectionate, sweet, friendly, and playful! He is a BIG boy and he is very strong on leash and will need a refresher course on basic obedience but he does know how to sit, give paw, and to lay down! He is good with other dogs but definitely needs another big strong buddy to play with. He is even good with cats! We think he would be best with children 12 years and older just due to his sheer size! His is going to need someone to help him finish up some basic obedience training to help him be the best dog he can be! He would benefit from some structure and rules as well.

There is so much you can do with your dog!  Walking, hiking, running, throwing and fetching a ball or Frisbee, rollerblading and swimming.  If you are starting to feel bored with your normal route or type of activity, change it up by trying a new path, or a longer walk.  Explore dog-friendly trails in the mountains, by a lake or at the beach.   Try out some dog parks.   Don’t be afraid to get your “paws” wet and go for a swim!

Please remember:  Like humans, you’ll want to slowly start an exercise plan with your dog.  Consult with your veterinarian before you start, that way you can set attainable and sustainable activity goals for your pet.  You may want to start with a short walk or hike, and then begin to increase the length and challenge as you and your dog gets accustomed to the exercise routine.  As your vet will tell you, for dogs with joint problems or osteoarthritis tendencies, it’s much healthier to undertake activities like swimming, paced hiking or walking, over high-intensity exercises like running.

We can’t say it enough!  Having a dog as an exercise companion is simply…… rewarding.

If you are interested in adopting any of our animals please fill out an application on our website

Posted:  January 26, 2021, by Jill Roggio

Happy Pet Friendly Holidays!

The holidays are going to look a lot different this year.  Just because this 2020 holiday season will be far from normal, many of us still want to make it meaningful with delicious traditional foods and decorations!

As most pet lovers will agree, our furry family members are a part of every memory we make, so below are reminders on how to keep them healthy and safe during holiday celebrations!

It may be tempting to offer your pet the same delicious food you are preparing and enjoying but doing so may cause severe problems for your furry friend.

Did you know the following foods are unsafe?

Onions and Garlic – can be lethal to pets   Onions and garlic cause destruction of red blood cells in dogs and cats, potentially leading to anemia.

Fat trimmings from meat and bones – they can be dangerous to pets as the fat trimmings from meat can cause pancreatitis and bones can be choked on or actually splinter and cause obstructions in the digestive system.

Cookies – raw dough can cause gastrointestinal issues.  Chocolate, raisins and nuts (especially macadamia) can cause vomiting, diarrhea as well as increased heart rate, tremors and seizures.

Artificial sweeteners are incredibly toxic to dogs, particularly Xylitol.

Additional foods on the “do not feed” list include coffee, avocado, grapes, raisins, spices and alcoholic beverages as they are poisonous.

If you pet has eaten any of these foods and is displaying any of the symptoms described, please consult your vet or an animal poison control center like ASPCA – immediately for assistance.

In addition, be careful with holiday decorations and plants as they may be attractive but could pose a risk.

Securely anchor your Christmas tree as cats may want to climb!  Our feline friends also like nibbling on tinsel, ribbons and wires which could lead to an electrical shock or intestinal damage if any of them are swallowed.

Take care with poinsettias, lilies, holly and mistletoe as they can cause pets to suffer nausea, vomiting and diarrhea if the leaves are ingested.

Do not leave lighted candles unattended or within reach of your furry friend to avoid singed whiskers and burnt tails.

Keep breakable ornaments out of paws reach to avoid breakage and injuries.

Happy Pet Friendly Holidays from your LCR friends!!


Posted:  December 18, 2020, by Jill Roggio

$21,268 Raised on Giving Tuesday!

We cannot thank you enough! We set a goal of $12,000 with the help of two matching donors, Rebecca Rynkiewicz and Von Thun Farm. We reached our goal by 4pm, looked up what we made in 2019 ($15,097) and increased our goal to $15,098! So many donations came in during the evening and our grand total at midnight was $21,268!

Still interested in helping?  Please donate through the platform below:


How did Giving Tuesday start?

Giving Tuesday, often referred to as #GivingTuesday for the purposes of hashtag activism, began a few years ago in 2012 in New York City.  It was developed as a way to respond towards the consumerism that is Black Friday and Cyber Monday.  It was devised to give back rather than spend money on useless items because they are at a good price. #GivingTuesday has really caught on and has raised millions of dollars in just one day.

In its inaugural year in 2012, it is recorded that Blackbaud (the main giving service used) raised over $10 million. That is not even counting other giving sites. Over the next few years different sites and foundations have become more and more involved in #GivingTuesday.  Facebook became involved in 2016, while the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation became involved in 2017.  Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation would match $2 million in donations, and Facebook waived its 5% fee for US based non-profits. How great is that?!

Keep in mind that Blackbaud and Facebook are not the only ways to give. World organizations such as Google, Microsoft, UNICEF and others participate in #GivingTuesday.  Local organizations participate as well.

NOW interested in participating in #Giving Tuesday?  Please help us with animals in need and donate through the platform below:


Posted:  November 30, 2020, by Jill Roggio

Look At That Face (part 2)!

Considering a potbellied pig?  Here are some more pig points to sway you.

  • They love to be petted, especially on their bellies and many will happily cuddle with their owners.
  • They are very trainable.  They can learn to walk on a leash, sit and perform some tricks.  If you keep them inside, they can be trained to go in a litter box. Outside, they usually use the same bathroom spot.
  • Potbellied pig owners need to set rules and boundaries for an overall great relationship.  Consistently praise positive behaviors and redirect bad behaviors.  Patience and repetition (as with any pet) are the key to producing a well-mannered pig that has a great relationship with its family.
  • A potbellied pigs intelligence means it will be bored and potentially destructive when it doesn’t have enough social interaction and activities.   They also have an innate desire to root (use their snouts to search)!  They may knock over objects in your home or tear up your yard looking for food.  Hiding food in treat puzzles or outside where you don’t mind them rooting, will help satisfy this behavior.
  • Outside in the winter, they need adequate shelter and love to snuggle in blankets, rugs or straw.

Here are some of our potbellied stars with their new families!

Overall, potbellied pigs adore having a pig partner but they also enjoy other animals.  In fact, due to their social nature, keeping multiple pigs together is often better than having just one.

We leave you with one last thought…. Winston Churchill is quoted as saying “I am fond of pigs. Dogs look up to us.  Cats look down at us.  Pigs treat us as equals.”

We love our pigs and hope you will too!


Posted:  November 27, 2020, by Jill Roggio

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