A Very Special Going Home


“What day is it?”
“It’s today,” squeaked Piglet.
“My favorite day,” said Pooh. ~ A.A. Milne, Winnie-the-Pooh

My favorite days are Saturdays and Sundays, when I can spend gardening time in the Homeward Bound Memorial Garden –


and visiting with the dogs. Meet new arrivals Benjamin…


and Zachary.


But our favorite days at the rescue are Going Home days. To catch you up … Joe went home to Russ’ healing care.


Jack hit the jackpot and found three gorgeous girls to love.


Trevor is a ladies man as well and stole the heart of former adopters.

Trevor Going Home_DSC_2820

Cooper is an official foster-failure. His adoption papers were completed this weekend, and his dad was on site for our Volunteer Orientation so he could help other pups on their journeys home.


And “Not-a-Golden” Bella was all smiles as she headed out with her new mom.

Bella Going Home_DSC_3376

But one Going Home this weekend was extra special. I recently shared a post about long-time volunteers Chris and Steve moving to Colorado. They have always taken on our “special cases” – the dogs who remain unpredictable despite dedication and extensive training. Beautiful Sammie was one of those dogs … “who me?”


Her rap sheet meant that she could only be adopted to volunteers who understood her special challenges and needs. Otherwise, she would find sanctuary here with us. Chris and Steve made a commitment to add her to their family; making it a reality took more time they would have liked. She would have visits in their RV on the weekends, but their home was too small to accommodate all of their pups while ensuring everyone’s safety and security. A promise, however, is a promise.

After an arduous trip in an RV filled with special needs dogs, not to mention a harrowing dog medical emergency along the way, Steve made a return flight to Sacramento. On Saturday, he took Sammie for one last walk down the kennel …


into the bath …


with a stop at the garden for pictures and farewells …

Sammy Going Home_DSC_3158Sammy_Going Home_DSC_3152

and then – wait – what? A car? It was as if she instantly grasped its meaning. This was a Going Home car. Sammie’s Going Home car. At last.


“But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep…” ~ Robert Frost

As I write, Steve and Sammie are completing the last leg of their two-day journey to their new home. There, she will have space enough to meet her needs and allow her to live out her life as a loved, family dog.

Promise made. Promise kept.


Happy life, Sammie girl.

With appreciation to photographer, Rob Kessel for his Sammie photos.

Published by


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.

25 thoughts on “A Very Special Going Home”

  1. What a wonderful story. God Bless Chris and Steve for giving so much to these wonderful dogs. It made me cry. Beautiful pictures. Thank you.

  2. What a wonderful heartwarming story! The look on Sammy’s face says it all.
    Chris and Steve and truly “angels on earth” – they will be missed. There are no words to describe them. We are as lucky as the dogs they have “saved” to have them in our lives.

  3. Oh my gosh! I have happy tears . . . again. 😉 Those last two pictures–Sammie looking up at Steve and that sweet hug and the look on Sammie’s face–got me! And the garden is looking so beautiful.

  4. Those last two photos–oh my I see that others have said exactly the same thing! What a wonderful update on Sammie’s story. Thank you so much for sharing it. There are just so many sad and ugly messages that barrage us every day, and I look forward to the very special stories you tell. I know that every person who has loved a rescue dog knows that we may be offering them a sanctuary, but they offer us something far greater in love and companionship. What a wonderful, wonderful weekend’s story. And that garden always takes my breath away as well! 🙂

  5. I’ve cried so much over this last month, and even though we are so very happy to have Sammie home, and know her whole story, you just went ahead and made me cry all over again! Thanks so much for your kind words, and dedication to telling the dog’s stories. Sammie will have a wonderful life! Love and miss you!

    1. We know she will! Very hard to see you all go…but lucky, lucky dogs in Colorado! Breathe…settle in…and just enjoy for awhile. What a month you have all had! Miss you too. 🙂

  6. What a wonderful blog – I’m so happy for all of those beautiful dogs! Like others have said, I’m so happy that Sammie gets to have a great home with Chris and Steve, two people that I admire so much. Even I would be happy to be adopted by them, I think! 🙂 Best wishes to all the dogs and to Chris and Steve in their new home. We’ll miss you! And thank you, Russ for the incredible photos!

  7. Oh I’m going to miss Sammie girl…When I saw her Thursday it was like she new she was a short-timer. Extra demanding of cuddles and our funny “let me walk between your legs down the kennel” routine. So happy for her, Chris and Steve!! These stories make it all so worthwhile. I’ll miss Bella the bee chaser too!

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