The Year To Come

Ina and I spent Sunday in the Memorial Garden, cutting back the perennials after the first hard frost of the winter season.


Most everything survived the recent deluge, although a few of the youngest trees are worrisome – their roots not yet deep enough to withstand so much water and wind. Ina cleared their bases to ensure they would dry out well. We’ll see what happens over time.


I could not resist playing with my new Christmas present: a macro lens. There are few blooms left in the garden (sunflowers, still!), but those that remained were happy to let me practice. Much to learn.


Homeward Bound was very busy with adoption and foster appointments this weekend. While I do not have the official list to share just yet, there is one I am confident of.


This is Norman. A very sweet boy with a very sad face.


He came to us recently, full of lumps and bumps; thankfully, benign. His age is listed as 10+…which could mean anything north of that. He has difficulty walking, and we suspect, hearing. The walkers had to wake him to entice him out. Once up, he was happy to go and grateful for the company…but had little chance at a forever home due to his age and special needs. Until Edna showed up. Some of you will remember Edna from the “heroes in the garden” post I wrote last August. This week, she is Norman’s angel, taking him home as a likely permanent foster. Late in the evening we heard that he was happily curled up with a kitty in his new home.

Smiles from the threshold of the year to come,
Whispering ‘it will be happier’…” ~ Alfred Tennyson


It will be a happier new year for Norman, thanks to his angel, Edna. We wish the same for all the pups out there still waiting. Happy New Year to all.

Appreciating the season

“At Christmas I no more desire a rose
Than wish a snow in May’s newfangled mirth;
But like each thing that in season grows.”
~ William Shakespeare


The deluge is over for the time being and I am looking forward to being back in the Memorial Garden this weekend. It is time to trim back the perennials, mow the now unruly lawn, and clean up from our small flood. The season of flowers is past, replaced with the more subtle beauty of browns, grays and sprinkled golds.


There is nothing special about the subject matter today. Just a canvas of winter color to appreciate in its own right.


I’m scheduled to take pictures of some of the Homeward Bound Sanctuary pups this weekend. I’m excited to bring you their gray, gold and white faces –


appreciated “like each thing that in season grows.”

Wet Walk Around


Walking dogs between rain storms provided a chance to spend some time in Homeward Bound’s other eight acres – beyond the Memorial Garden. Here are a few vignettes from the pond which has overflowed its banks, and a very soggy landscape. This is what winter looks like in the Sacramento Valley. Good thing dogs can paddle!



Our Holiday Cheer

“And the Grinch, with his Grinch-feet ice cold in the snow rain, stood puzzling and puzzling, how could it be so?


It came without ribbons. It came without tags. It came without packages, boxes or bags. And he puzzled and puzzled ’till his puzzler was sore. Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn’t before. What if Christmas, he thought, doesn’t come from a store. What if Christmas, perhaps, means a little bit more.” ~ Dr. Seuss

It has been pounding rain again. There will be no gardening this weekend, unless you count water features.


And few Goldens in the garden, because everyone is too focused on getting them walked and warm again. But that does not mean we are without Christmas cheer. Remember the story of Hunter and his transformation? (You can revisit it here.)

Part of Hunter’s pained look when he first arrived at Homeward Bound was very real pain in his ears.


Thankfully, he received the care he desperately needed. Unfortunately, the result was deafness. Sad as that is, it was an obvious relief to Hunter after the hurt he had endured for so long. You can see it on his smiling face and in his rebounded spirit.


So, after such a long recovery and wait for adoption, where’s the cheer? Hunter went home this week – in time for Christmas.


So you see? Even in the rain and cold and wind, we are surrounded with blessings and cheer.
What miracles have walked through here.


Best wishes for a joyous holiday and a new year filled with small miracles – to all our visitors and readers from the gardeners and the pups of Homeward Bound.

You make it so

“All gardeners live in beautiful places because they make them so.” ~Joseph Joubert

And not just gardeners. At Homeward Bound, it is the volunteers, the foster families, and our amazing veterinarians who find the beauty in abandoned and neglected pups. You remember Snuffy from September?


This poor pup arrived with a thyroid condition, terrible skin, and barely-there hair. He looked more like a sad and drowned rat than a Golden.


A pill a day, and the loving care of his foster family, showed progress by late October.


And this week? This beautiful boy found his forever home…


because our dedicated team made it so. Hugs to all the quiet heroes of Homeward Bound – from Snuffy, with love.

Winter Wools


“The leaves fall, the wind blows, and the farm country slowly changes from the summer cottons into its winter wools.” ~ Henry Beston, Northern Farm

We all had on our winter wools this weekend, with a light frost blanketing the garden on Saturday morning. It’s early for that in the Sacramento Valley. It disappeared quickly, but left the garden a little too wet and cold for any heavy duty effort.


Only a few blooms remain in the garden now –


Mostly, the palette has changed to the colors of the season. Greys, browns, silvers and antique golds replace the brilliant colors of summer.


The pups don’t seem to mind the the low, cloudy skies, as long as they are outside, walking, and among us.
“A dog is one of the remaining reasons why some people can be persuaded to go for a walk.”

This is Norman,




and George and Lucy.


I have a crush on George.


I met another Homeward Bound pup this weekend; an alumni named Brody. His human Dad is the manager at one of my favorite places – Green Acres Nursery in Sacramento.


Brody is apparently in charge of customer relations. What a handsome boy! An invitation was issued to visit us in the Memorial Garden, where many of their plants now reside. Although, they might want to wait until we are back in our summer cottons and looking at our colorful best!

Teach the people

If you think in terms of a year, plant a seed; if in terms of ten years, plant trees; if in terms of 100 years, teach the people. ~ Confucius


One of the greatest challenges of any organization whose bottom line is social good, is ensuring that the work will be carried on by the next generation. The 2012 Millennial Impact Study has good news about this next generation, and also outlines the challenges. Like: 63% of Millennials surveyed volunteered for a nonprofit in 2011; 41% said they planned to do more in the next year; but 58% said they preferred a short-term volunteer commitment. (Sigh.)


At Homeward Bound, we blessed to have many dedicated teen and young adult volunteers, but we also recognize the need to do more than just plant seeds.


We need to engage and “teach the people” so, someday, they will be ready to take the lead.


I know many of you are involved in other good works, or are young yourselves. So, for the sake of the dogs, please share. What motivates you, or the young adults at your organization?


We are all ears. And thank you.


What Blossoms Here

After last weekend’s deluge, it was good to be back in the Homeward Bound Memorial Garden, focusing on clean-up. Lawns were mowed, leaves were raked, and spent blossoms were removed. It seems that more than a few of our favorites haven’t figured out that it is December. Many of the roses are still pushing out blooms,


The Blue Geranium that struggled all summer in the heat has made an appearance,


The Daylilies are still gracing us.


And Maria’s Sunflowers? Well, don’t tell them or their Bee friends that it is winter.


The day was so beautiful, Maria took advantage of the warmth and finished planting the newly reconfigured St. Francis garden with Gardenias, Lavender, Thyme, and more.


She was a little distracted – in the best way – as she spent time getting acquainted with Champ, who will, hopefully, go home with her next weekend as her second, permanent foster.


Homeward Bound rescues Goldens and Golden mixes no matter what their age or medical condition. Some, like Champ (who has cancer), have medical issues that make them unable to be adopted. Special people, like Maria, take them as permanent fosters.


Homeward Bound covers their medical expenses, while fostering families or individuals donate their homes and hearts, knowing that in many instances, their time together may be short.


This week, Champ will meet Maria’s other permanent foster, Beau. If it is a match, their family will grow. Many other times, medical needs can be addressed, clearing the way for a long, healthy life. This is Lincoln – who arrived before Thanksgiving, with a broken leg and ribs, having been hit by a car.


Surgery put him on the road to recovery, and when he is ready, to adoption as well.


The sun was not the only thing shining down on us after such fierce storms. Good fortune recently graced many of the pups you’ve seen here as they found their forever homes, including Gracie…


Mama Bear…




And little Scout.


Proving once again – more than flowers blossom at Homeward Bound.


When it Rains: Walk

“Some people walk in the rain, others just get wet.” ~ Roger Miller

Day three of five, of pretty much non-stop showers, punctuated by downpours.


The garden is a pond at the moment, but at least the water is in the paths – the beds having been built up with soil and mulch.


Everything seems humbled and bowed in the garden;


no point in putting things right with the fiercest of the storms due tomorrow. We’ll just wait, watch and deal with it when it clears.


But the rain will not dampen our spirit at Homeward Bound.


The feeders, walkers, cleaners, groomers and more were still out in force – covered in muck. We walk in the rain; the dogs don’t seem to mind.


Even Santa put in an appearance! Annually, he takes time out of his busy schedule for holiday photos of the dogs with homes in support of dogs without…rain or shine.


Many thanks to our photographer Eric Schuman, who’s much-better photos will grace our holiday album.


A full, wet, windy day of juggling pups leaves even Santa tired!