A Letter To Shasta

Dear Shasta,
This is not the post I hoped to write about you. Please don’t be sad or embarrassed that you are back so soon. And if those other dogs tease you, you let them know it will cost them cookies!


That it didn’t work out with those nice people is not their fault. And it is not yours. It’s ours. As much as we thought we knew about you – we just didn’t know enough.

You have worked so hard to shed years of your too-young-life being a dog of purpose and not of the heart. You did what you were trained to do; you hunted with astonishing speed and dogged focus. Shasta at work is a sight to behold!


But you never learned to play. And you never knew the ways of a loved dog –


until we showed you. We expected more from you, and for you. Eventually, you leaned in and trusted us.


And just when we thought you had finally met your match…you are back. What we didn’t know is how strong that hunting instinct still was in you. And when you tried, in wild pursuit, to find your way to freedom, they knew they could not keep you safe. We hadn’t seen that in you – or we missed the clues. And we forgot to teach you something else about humans (perhaps you already knew): we make mistakes sometimes.

But there’s one more thing we hope you know, girl: we don’t give up. We will not give up on you, sweet Shasta. We will hunt and seek until we find your perfect match. And until we do, you are safe and loved with us.

“But ne’er the rose without the thorn.” ~ Robert Herrick


Thank you, Rob, for use of your wonderful capture of Shasta running.

New Dog On The Block

From time to time, you have seen me include photos of our rescue’s dog photographer, Rob, in my posts.
This must be how he got so good.


His photos are pretty extraordinary (I’ve stolen some…below). So is his way with dogs.


A while back, he began fostering some of our toughest cases; dogs that would be considered unadoptable without considerable rehab.


Others just needed a quiet place to recoup before they could be released.


In his care, they made amazing progress…


and they have found their way home.


After much prompting pushing, he made the leap into the blogosphere with us – to share his photos and his stories of his time with rescued dogs.
I hope you’ll take a peak. You’ll find him here. Welcome to the neighborhood, Rob!

It’s All About The Dogs


An Indian Summer drifts begrudgingly into autumn, dragging her last lazy rays behind her.


“Nature bestows her own, richest gifts
And, with lavish hands, she works in shifts.” ~ Gertrude Tooley Buckingham

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It’s too hot to garden (much less fly!)…


much better to just enjoy the company of dogs.


I’ve written for years about our rescue – Homeward Bound Golden Retriever Rescue and Sanctuary. For those who can’t travel to visit us, I thought you might enjoy a video recently completed and donated by our long-time volunteers Bob Murphy and Carolyn Belz. Regular readers might recognize some of the dogs and their stories. It’s a magical place … because “it’s all about the dogs.”
Click here to view. Enjoy!


Big Paws To Fill

When Michele fell in love with Finn, it was with a still-heavy heart.


She had recently lost her beloved Cooper to cancer. They had trained together through our local Lend A Heart Lend A Hand Animal Assisted Therapy organization. Cooper had a very special role at the Yuba City Library reading with children – so much so that they named a special section after him, “Cooper’s Corner.”


Michele’s hope was that Finn would one day be ready to join her and contribute again to this amazing organization. (Note: today, some of the group was at the Butte Fire here in California, lending comfort to those displaced.) I remember her visiting with this fur ball almost daily until he was ready to go home. (This is Finn nearly sleeping through his puppy assessment.)


Sometimes she would wonder aloud if he had the energy or personality to become a therapy dog.


If last week’s class was any indication, I think that question has been answered.

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He just needed to grow into his playful self. And he found the perfect match in Summer! Let the games begin!

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Big paws to fill? Finn’s got this.

Circle of Life

In rescue, you become accustomed to seeing – and accepting – the circle of life. Sometimes it is hard, and sometimes it is joyous. This weekend was joyous. Attending training class was Sophie (formerly Daisy) – reunited with two of her pups, Finn and Posey.


You may recall this beautiful girl who was surrendered to us with her four newborn puppies last spring.


She looked exhausted and a little lost then. It’s hard enough to raise puppies, but to do so in a new and strange place following a medical emergency must have been overwhelming. Done with her life of mom duties, she changed her name – and her appearance. She looks relaxed, happy, and very much-loved.


Thanks to Sophie, these adorable little fluff balls…


have grown into the rambunctious and happy teenagers – on their way to becoming canine good citizens.


The Memorial Garden gave us another ‘circle of life’ offering…a delightful surprise. About a month ago, I wrote about the Gulf Fritillary butterflies laying eggs in the passion-flower vine. Two weeks ago, the vine was covered with spiny caterpillars.

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Emerging from their chrysalis…


the entire garden has come to life with new Fritillary butterflies,


leaving their home base to fly from flower to flower,


sampling each as if to discover “do I like you?”


They quickly settled on the Sage and Lantana –

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while the Buckeye said “leave the Rudbeckia to me!”

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“Amidst the worldly comings and goings, observe how endings become beginnings.”
– Laozi (Lao Tzu)

Happy new beginning to Sophie,


and drinks are on the house pretty butterflies!