The Dogs of Klamath IV


We made our annual trek to Klamath, CA a little early this year. This place – not far from the border of Oregon, where the Klamath River meets the Pacific Ocean, restores my spirits and renews my energy each year.

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“Everybody needs beauty as well as bread, places to play in and pray in, where Nature may heal and cheer and give strength to body and soul alike.”~ John Muir

On the river,


the trails,

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the sea…


they say it’s not where you walk, but who you walk with. At Klamath, you are especially fortunate if you walk in the company of dogs. Introducing, the Dogs of Klamath, IV:

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Life is better in the company of dogs.


Happiness alights

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The garden is aflutter with butterflies. The Monarchs…the White Cabbage…and Fiery Skipper…


and the Gulf fritillary or passion butterfly.


Usually these Gulf Frits can be found gorging on the Lantana and verbena…

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but this weekend, it’s all about the passion-flower.


This is where they will lay their eggs – because their larva feeds exclusively on the passion-flower vine that covers our arbor.

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Before long, there will be spiny caterpillars covering the arbor…the beginning of the transformation from larva to winged beauty.

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But more than butterfly transformations are underway here.

Abigale was picked up as a stray on the 4th of July. No one ever claimed her from the shelter, which may have been just as well. Overweight, covered in mats with a brewing infection on her underside, she was likely a neglected outdoor dog.


So frightened was she by her ordeal, we couldn’t even go near her to put on a collar. For her first week, she stayed outside in a covered yard refusing to allow anyone near her.


Gradually, our volunteers made their way to her side, and gradually, she came to trust them. Which is how we learned that she loved balls, and water, and kids, and other dogs. This weekend, Abigale found her way to her forever home…a family that could always be counted on to come looking for her if she ever got lost.

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But the most dramatic transformation was in the fortunes of Caitlyn.


Her cauliflower ear and these words in her file: “removed from her home for her own safety” – say it all. She was checked out of the shelter as a boy. But a thorough exam and bath later, we discovered their error. Thus the name Caitlyn.


This malnourished, teddy-bear-faced GIRL had obviously been through a lot. Amazingly, her disposition remained forgiving and loving.


She went home this week as a foster with one of our long-time volunteers.


By all accounts, things are going wonderfully and we are crossing our paws that she will be reclassified soon as a “foster-failure.”

Neither Abigale nor Caitlyn probably ever knew that their new-found happiness was possible.


“Happiness is a butterfly, which when pursued, is always just beyond your grasp, but which, if you will sit down quietly, may alight upon you.” ~ Nathaniel Hawthorne

What a joy for us to be a tiny part of it.


“Beautiful and graceful, varied and enchanting, small but approachable, butterflies lead you to the sunny side of life. And everyone deserves a little sunshine.” ~ Jeffrey Glassberg

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Happy sunshine, Abigale and Caitlyn.

Thanks to photographer, Rob Kessel for lending some photos of Abigale and Caitlyn.

Fruits of our Labor


First they stole our blueberries…


Then our apricots…


And finally, our feathered friends feasted on the entire grape crop.


Thankfully, they are not fans of apples – which we have in abundance. Patience and attention have paid off, and our little orchard is finally producing. This year’s crop was worth all the effort.


It even produced a surprise on our tiny orange tree: grapefruits!


We had another surprise last weekend – the best kind. I shared with you that Nigel, one of our favorite “Not-A-Golden” pups went home. What I didn’t quite relay is why his day was so special to us.

This guy, who is just three years old now, came to us about nine months ago. Cute little puppies grow into big dogs – and all puppies and young dogs need lots of exercise, training and attention to become their best selves.


Nigel had been crated all day and not allowed in the house. His family realized he deserved better and surrendered him to us. His file read like any young boy’s: “Full of energy, enthusiasm, and athleticism. He craves human attention and affection.”


That excited craving for human attention – coupled with his pure strength – made just getting him out of his kennel a long-sleeved adventure. Once out, we learned that his strength and energy were matched by a genuine desire to please. He was trainable.


We sent him to foster so he could learn the ways of a house dog and he made progress. We learned that his favorite time of day was couch time when he could snuggle with his head in your lap and snore himself to sleep. But his energy had to be matched to a human or family that could help wear him down. We also discovered that being in the company of other dogs providing reassurance. Nigel needed to know that he wasn’t being left again.

Like blossoms on our apple trees in spring, we knew there was great potential.


When an active family with two dogs took him home last weekend, we were delighted.

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But this update from our volunteer put us over the moon: “I ran into Nigel and his family on a walk last night. They told me they felt like they hit the lotto with him!”

It took time and a lot of patience for Nigel to find his perfect people. To learn that he is the apple of their eye…well that’s like hitting the lotto for us!


Happy life, boy. You so deserve it!

Nigel photos courtesy of Rob Kessel.

More to Love

Fish gotta swim, birds gotta fly, and Peggy’s got to take home a senior tub-o-love.


Peggy – one of the Homeward Bound Memorial Garden volunteers – was out last weekend. She is an excellent gardener, and a long-time member of our rescue family. She also has a well-earned reputation for working miracles with the senior dogs that have either been loved or neglected into obesity.


“All we ever get are the old and fat ones,” says her husband, Steve. (Excuse me?!)


Not exactly correct. Rumor has it that all Peggy picks are the old and fat plump ones. Just more to love.

A week ago, a parade of svelte, fresh arrivals paraded past Peggy as she worked in the garden. Nothing.


Then Mary came waddling through, and from across the adjacent yard where Peggy had moved to prune the roses we heard: “Hey, who’s that?” Peggy has an eye for our butterballs like our dogs have sniffers for cookies! (Did someone say ‘cookies?’)


So guess who returned this weekend to bring Mary home to foster? You guessed it…


with Steve issuing his pretend protests all the while. You can’t take that man seriously…unless you happen to be a tree that needs to be removed. Then watch out!


Mary was one of seven dogs that went home this weekend. Happy life as well to Buffy…


Max and Libby (a twofer!)


Tabby, now Annie – another foster failure we hope!(You rename ’em…you keep ’em!)



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And our favorite “Not-a-Golden”, Nigel!

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Dogs going home…time in the garden…

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Makes Monday almost bearable.