It has been a hard week. To lose not one – but two – of our long-time rescue residents and the companion of a devoted volunteer as well.
Balou was a special boy who never got over the loss of his human.
He was profoundly sad, with trust and mental health issues.
He was beautiful, deep and unpredictable, and so we knew he would be staying with us. He felt safe here.
Reacher was adorable and adored.
Imagine a gigantic bunny stuffed in Golden Retriever costume, rolled over, belly up, with paws flopping every which way just waiting for his rub.
He went home and came back twice due to his severe separation anxiety. We couldn’t believe no one could see past his issues to his wonderful self. But we were very happy to care for him as long as he needed to stay with us.
His stay was both too long and too short. Cancer took them both.
That dreaded c-word seems to dog us lately, afflicting too many of the fur kids from our extended Homeward Bound family. Too much at once.
“There is sorrow enough in the natural way
From men and women to fill our day;
But when we are certain of sorrow in store
Why do we always arrange for more?
Brothers and sisters I bid you beware
Of giving your heart to a dog to tear.”
~ Rudyard Kipling
Are those tears falling from the sky?
No. Rain. A sudden, soaking, blessed California rain providing a cool, revitalizing drink for our thirsty plants, trees and souls.
A reminder that there are still unexpected joys in even the most difficult times.
This weekend, there were quiet chats, remembrances, and hugs – but most importantly – there were people.
Amazing people who show up despite broken hearts to walk and feed
snuggle and train –
and teach dogs how to get up on the furniture –
because they depend on us.
For as long as they need us – we are here.
Sometimes joined together by sorrow – more often, joy.
Honoring those we have lost by treasuring each day with those who need our care – at Homeward Bound.
Reacher photos courtesy of Rob Kessel
“In almost every garden, the land is made better and so is the gardener.” ~ Robert Rodale
We created and keep the Memorial Garden as a gift to the dogs we love and have loved – and for those who dedicate so much to our rescue effort.
Three chance encounters this week reminded me that the work we do at Homeward Bound not only makes life better for the dogs, but provides important comfort to humans as well.
A woman messaged us asking the status of the dog she had surrendered. It was clear that she had loved him, but for whatever reason, she could not provide a home right now. I was only able to let her know that he was adopted quickly to a good family. And while I reassured her that he would be well-loved, I reminded her that we could not share details to protect the privacy of the adopters. She did not need details. Just peace of mind … with gratitude.
A couple visited this weekend. They wanted to ensure that if something happened to them, their beloved Golden would be cared for. This is important planning that people often overlook. They were delighted with the rescue and were comforted knowing that their fur-child will be safe with us if that time ever comes. They left relieved.
Finally, a glimpse of one of our former adopters who recently lost her sweet boy to cancer. She was sitting quietly with our president in the puppy hut with the golden puppies I showed you last week. One dog never replaces another, but puppies have a special way of melting pain and healing hearts. She has to travel quite a way to visit with us, but here she is in the company of people who truly understand her loss.
“Shared joy is a double joy; shared sorrow is half a sorrow” ~ Swedish Proverb
The garden is our gift.
The dogs are our shared passion.
And we’re reminded that the human lives we touch make us better, too.
“Remember, we all stumble, every one of us. That’s why it’s a comfort to go hand in hand.” ~ Emily Kimbrough
I spy something in the meadow. Sometimes you have to look very closely …
And sometimes, they just come rushing to greet you – like my buddy Noah, who I see fairly often.
I love my workday walks on the trail behind our offices.
I never know who, or what, I’ll meet.
Today I spied Presley and Sienna.
I almost mistook Presley for a Jack Rabbit.
Presley, it turns out, is on his third home.
He started as an apartment dog, but needed space to run and dig.
Then, he became a family dog, until he got lost in the shuffle of kids and kid activity schedules.
Hopefully, he has found his third and final home with Wendy. She volunteers at a local shelter and seems to truly understand the needs of a high energy Weimaraner.
Sienna certainly seems to enjoy his company.
If a tired dog is a happy dog, then Presley and Sienna must be very happy dogs indeed.
Great to meet you. See you in the meadow. 🙂
April showers bring … April flowers. In abundance.
The garden is in full bloom making my early morning arrival extra special.
“An early-morning walk is a blessing for the whole day.” ~ Henry David Thoreau
Last week: five long-term residents went home. This week: five arrived in one day. Plus three more for good measure throughout the week.
The universe seeks balance, I guess. No rest for the weary.
We have a new addition to the garden: a beautiful bird bath.
Maria made it for Jody, our president who, with her husband, imagined this whole Homeward Bound effort and works tirelessly to sustain it. It’s the perfect centerpiece for her special bed in the garden.
As beautiful as they are, the flowers in the garden have tough competition from the pups named for flowers. Iris…
All spoken for – from a long list of families that have waited a long time for these rare arrivals.
Until their going home days…we’ll enjoy watching them bloom, as well.
It wasn’t a lot … but it was something … and in our current state of drought, we are grateful for anything.
Just after all the dogs were walked,
dark skies turned to a quick downpour –
with the promise of more on Tuesday. Every drop and every cool day extends our hope for the garden (which looks lush and full in spring) to survive another California summer.
“We never know the worth of water till the well is dry.” ~ Thomas Fuller
Sixty five roses fed on Saturday before the rain … perfect timing.
And, five of our longer-term residents found their way home this week, including two pairs that we promised to keep together: Lucky … who I wrote about in January –
Dexter and Pogo …
And handsome Finnegan and Seamus.
Promise made. Promise kept.
“All that we behold is full of blessings.” ~ William Wordsworth
Do you suppose Saint Francis can request water on behalf of the dogs’ well-being as well as the garden?
I find my faith in nature…
the skies, woods, meadows and garden are my cathedral.
I place my faith in something that has no name. All I know is that it greater than all of us.
I try to live my life by one rule: treat others as you hope to be treated.
“Make yourself necessary to somebody. Do not make life hard to any.” ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson
Spring is a time of rebirth, celebration and remembrance for people of many faiths.
Regardless of which faith guides you, my hope for all during this special time is to find beauty,
that the world might be a better place for all.