How a Rescue Named Rhubarb Threw the Loop Family for a Loop

Resting its head on a blanket, dog looks up at camera

When the Wake County Animal Center urgently called upon the community to step in and adopt dogs, Dr. Caroline Loop, Deputy Director of Wake County Environmental Services, quickly responded to this call for help by reaching out to her colleagues at the Animal Center and offering to foster a dog.

After browsing through the photos of available dogs online, Dr. Loop created a list of potential candidates that could fit into their family. When she visited the shelter, Rhubarb was the first one she met.

"As we were initially only intending to foster, I didn't see a reason to look at any other dogs," said Dr. Loop. "Once we had Rhubarb at our home, she immediately charmed my husband, who doesn't even really like pets. Everyone fell in love with her and we knew within 24 hours that we wanted to keep her."

The adoption became official the next day perhaps the fastest fostering fail the Animal Center had ever witnessed! "Foster fail" is a term used when fosters have no intention of adopting a pet but, for one reason or another, simply can't part with the animal.

They now call Rhubarb ‘Ruby for’ for short and she quickly became part of their family, often cuddling on the couch as they watch football together. Ruby's intelligence and terrier-like curiosity add a special spark to their lives. She remains friendly and affectionate toward people she meets and they’re working on helping her interact better with other animals.

Ruby is getting used to her new family. They've changed things around, tried different sleeping spots, and found toys that match her playful energy. With the assistance of one of Dr. Loop's daughter's friends, Ruby has started to learn some new tricks.

Ruby was diagnosed with heartworm, so the family remained dedicated to her well-being, ensuring she received the necessary treatments and all the love she deserved.

" She’s strong and fast and we look forward to when she is healthy enough for our twins to take her on runs," said Dr. Loop.

Dr. Caroline Loop sits on the steps with Rhubarb the dog
Dr. Loop with Rhubarb

Reflecting on their experience, she has some advice for anyone considering adoption.

"Consider what you have to offer a pet," said Dr. Loop, who had never tried to foster an animal before. "Dogs encourage exercise and provide a lot of entertainment and comfort. If you can make space in your life, a pet will make your life richer. Adopting a dog that has been cared for previously and has already developed their own personality is such an overlooked luxury. I find it much easier to get to know what they like and integrate them into your household. And the Wake County Animal Center has a variety of animals – not just dogs!”

The Loop family's decision to respond to the Wake County Animal Center's plea for help didn't just rescue Ruby; it also made their own lives much better.

"We have always had only one dog at a time and they've always come from a shelter," she said. "I prefer adopting older dogs because you learn more about their preferences. I'm immensely grateful to the people who fostered our previous dogs, working with them before they came to us. I've never had to house train a dog and I've never had a dog that chewed furniture because they were taught those things before coming into our lives."

So, if you're looking for a new companion to bring some joy into your life, be sure to visit the Wake County Animal Center at 820 Beacon Lake Drive, Raleigh. The shelter is open for adoptions daily from noon to 6 p.m., seven days a week.

Press Release