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.

Nigel Going HOme_IMG_0659

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.

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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.

15 thoughts on “Fruits of our Labor”

  1. A wonderful new beginning for cute Nigel! I loved your line “and all puppies and young dogs need lots of exercise, training and attention to become their best selves,” and thought, don’t we all! Wonderful, happy post. Loved it.

  2. How wonderful! Another fabulous outcome! I just love these stories, and I tear up every time I see the family’s happiness and this time, Nigel’s peaceful expression. And as for your orchard! Wow!

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