Some Assembly Required

Gardens don’t just appear. They require constant tending and editing. With lots of effort, what begins as a blank canvas of earth and weeds, takes shape over time.


Sometimes, the progress seems imperceptible and the wait is hard to bear. There are always occasional setbacks and different approaches have to be attempted before it all comes together. Until one day – you look about you, marveling at what it has all become.


Daisy went home today. A five-year old girl who is never without her toys or sweet disposition – but she comes with occasional seizures. The seizures can be intimidating at first – but manageable once you learn what is needed.


She is a quiet, gentle, loving girl who just requires a little tending to. Another girl was recently returned to us. Despite our best intentions, we did not make a perfect match. It turns out that the family was really expecting a perfectly trained, well-behaved dog under two years of age. This pup is not a wild child by any means – but she does require someone who is committed to bringing out the best in her.


We have lots of perfectly trained, well-behaved dogs – but they tend to be older and have come to us because someone – who has put great love and care into the raising of their dog – has had a life change so significant that the dog had to be surrendered. We do get young dogs – but frequently as a result of insufficient initial shaping, tending and care. Adorable puppies can become unruly dogs without guidance.

“Gardening requires lots of water — most of it in the form of perspiration.” ~ Lou Erickson

Dogs – like gardens – or any creature/human, are a reflection of the effort we put in to them. Some assembly is definitely required. It’s hard work – with results that delight.


As I look around the Memorial Garden – drenched in rain and then in sun – I cannot believe that we are only entering our third season.


So transformed is it – from an unruly acre of weeds and a jungle of blackberries. The same is possible for our returned girl. Next time, maybe we’ll find her a gardener.

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I am a nascent gardener, rescuer, and photographer, chronicling the journey of the dogs at Homeward Bound Golden Retriever Rescue and Sanctuary near Sacramento, CA - and the Memorial Garden we have devoted to them.

21 thoughts on “Some Assembly Required”

  1. Wow, the garden is stunning! It looks like it’s been there for many years. Amazing to see what you’ve accomplished! Thank you for making Homeward Bound an even more beautiful place for the dogs and the humans 🙂 . As for the returned girl, I returned my first adoptee as well and it just broke my heart. But a similar situation…he was a year and a half old, a real sweetie but once he came out of his shell, he was more than I could handle. As a single woman working full time, I just wasn’t able to give him what he needed. Bringing him back was so hard, but I knew he needed a family with more time and more dog experience. From what I know, he was re-adopted right away and I’m sure he is a treasured member of his new family. And I ended up adopting my perfect dog, who now owns my heart. And helps me work in our garden, which is coming along but is nothing in comparison to the beauty you have grown at HB.

  2. I love my forever home, momwithoutpaws wants another babywithoutpaws we are waiting for dadwithoutpaws to give in

  3. I hope the next match is perfect for the dog who was returned…so sad. May she find a home where she can blossom like the garden.

    1. She’ll be good. It’s hard sometimes to get the heart and head on the same page when people fall head over heels with such a cute face.

  4. Beautiful garden and beautiful pups. Daisy looks like a sweetheart and I hope she has found her forever home.

    Carol and Maggie

  5. So true about what puppies and dogs need. All have different personalities and many people don’t understand that unfortunately when they get a puppy. We took our Sundog “Nevada” back at seven years old because of “life changes ” by the owners.

  6. Such wise thoughts, beautiful photos, and I’m keeping my fingers crossed that the glorious pup here meets her forever humans who tend her as beautifully and attentively as she deserves!

  7. Such lovely pictures of the garden, and the photo of Daisy with her new family melted my heart. At first I felt a little anger toward the people who returned the other sweet girl to Homeward Bound, but then I decided better that they should give her a chance to find the right home than to allow her to struggle in a spot that wasn’t quite right for her. Sometimes you have to move a plant from spot to spot in the garden before it can bloom. 🙂

    1. Great point, Miss Harper Lee. I think we’re a little mad at ourselves for not making a good match. Sometimes our job is to re-direct and help people understand what they really want. Plants are a little easier that way…they don’t give you sad faces!

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