As volunteers at Homeward Bound Golden Retriever Rescue and Sanctuary, we should know about the “occupational hazard” of being around so many wonderful dogs in need. One of our volunteer gardeners showed up a couple of weeks ago with spade and shovel; she left with a dog.
On a pretty Sunday in early June, Sue planned to garden, walk dogs, and then join other volunteers training shelter dogs in the obedience class. If you are a regular reader, you’ll remember that Sue has a special needs Homeward Bound rescue named Brock, a couple of cats, a very active grandson, and is a devoted volunteer. She also has a huge heart for those in need.
The dog she expected to work with that day was “taken” – or was it? The dedicated teams at Homeward Bound have a special knack for match making. Winston, a puppy, was suggested instead. Not exactly a Golden Retriever on the outside. But he has the heart of one on the inside.
This chocolate pup was a stray, picked up by the City of Stockton Animal Services and named Mateo. The shelter has few resources, and dogs are not kept long. He was lucky to make his way to Homeward Bound where he was renamed Winston.
Sue caught her first glimpse of Winston shortly after his arrival and evaluation in late May. He had been momentarily confused with Brock – who was with Sue while she was gardening with her grandson that day. The confusion was quickly cleared up, but the resemblance shared by the two was unmistakable. That should have been a clue.
“By the end of the hour, Winston had shifted from feisty, flighty and floppy to calm, collected and charming,” said Sue. “He epitomizes ‘puppy eyes.’ When I returned Winston to his kennel, I sat with him a loooong time.”
We expected Sue to stop by the garden before leaving for the day. Instead, she was captured with this bundle of energy packed in her car and a huge smile on her face. “Winston drove home with me that afternoon. I later realized that Brock came home with me two years ago on the exact same day – June 3rd.”
He has since been renamed Cooper. He has all of the usual puppy behaviors to work through, along with other issues resulting from lack of attention and training. A work in progress. But he also loves snuggling, is a velcro dog, is great with Sue’s grandson, adores Brock who looks like his twin, and now has a forever home.
You just never know what the garden will turn up.