Emmie: A Gift from the Universe

“We cannot stop the winter or the summer from coming.


We cannot stop the spring or the fall


or make them other than they are.


They are gifts from the universe that we cannot refuse.


But we can choose what we will contribute to life when each arrives.” ~ Gary Zukav

To the person who left sweet, thirteen-year-old Emmie at the shelter, emaciated, sick, and alone – in the winter of her life that she could not stop from coming;


thank you for this gift from the universe that we could not – and would not, refuse.


She brings light to our lives,


and purpose to our days. Our contribution is surrounding her with love and kindness, for whatever time is left.

Regardless of the sadness we know is coming,


this is what we choose. It is your loss that you could not do the same.

Update: Sweet Emmie passed peacefully and gently, surrounded by our volunteers the week that I wrote this post. We knew her time would be measured in days, not weeks or months. In a very short time, she touched so many hearts, not the least of whom was the woman at the shelter who alerted us to her need. Upon Emmie’s passing she writes: “I cried tears of sadness and anger when I got the call from the former owner stating she was bringing her to the shelter I work at. I am now crying tears for her passing. I am eternally grateful to Homeward Bound and for being there to show her love…she deserved nothing but the best, yet her owner was tossing her away. I will never understand that. Big hugs of thankfulness to every person at Homeward Bound! You are an awesome group of people.”

Fly free, sweet Emmie. You are our gift to heaven, now.

Thanks to Rob Kessel, of robanddog.com, for the beautiful photos of Emmie.

If Dogs Could Fly


I enjoy photographing birds almost as much as dogs. Off topic as they are, birds make their way here quite frequently. Theirs is not the easiest life, but you have to envy their freedom – which got me to wondering: if dogs could fly…

would they hover close to home, or travel the world?

dog world
Would they pull sticks from the tree tops?

dog stick
And catch balls in mid-flight?

dog wings
Would they travel in packs?

Or set a solo sail?

Old Dog
Would old dogs become young dogs?

old young again
And young dogs never grow old?

Could they fly free of pain and injury?

If dogs could fly, would they bark our friends ‘hello’ just over the rainbow bridge?

Rainbow Bridge
Would they reach for the stars and try to touch the moon?

fly to moon
And still tumble back to earth when the dinner bell rang?

Tumble home dinner
If dogs could fly, would they always find their way home to us?


A Christmas Wish Delivered

‘Twas two weeks before Christmas, and all through the rescue –
All the creatures were stirring, believing something would ensue.
Whispers and wishes hung in the air,
In hopes of Bilos’ special someone. Could we dare?

Bilos is blind, born without eyes,
But we knew when we met him – he was a special prize.

Smart, and sweet, and anxious to please,
He surprised and delighted and adapted with ease.

Special needs dogs need special humans as well,
It takes patience and commitment to help them excel.
We understood it would take time, but impatient we grew,
Bilos was truly deserving of love, this we all knew.

And then…

A quiet visitor arrived not once, or twice, or even thrice,
But over and over, seeking answers and advice.

With great thought and great care she made her decision,
And two days before Christmas, took Bilos home on provision.

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To first foster our boy she dispatched –
With paws crossed and prayers said,
We hope for a forever match.

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In her first update she writes that she feels lucky and blessed,
Our joy and gratitude, we cannot express.

A Christmas wish whispered and delivered with speed,
Merry Christmas, sweet Bilos! With prayers answered, indeed.

Where the Sugar Flows

In the big dog Park, the rough and tumble play.


But on the other side of the fence is where the sugar lives.

Sugar Shack Acres is home to Homeward Bound’s most senior dogs: the sugar faces –

our sanctuary dogs – like once-and-forever feral Red –

and dogs who just love being with other dogs – like Lucy, who is only five, but desperately needed to lose weight. After a couple of weeks with her Sugar Shack friends, she dropped nearly ten pounds (and was on her way home!)

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These pups may be a little slow,

But they still get around.

And everyone gets along.

As they say: it takes a long time for a soul to get this sweet.

Some of our volunteers spend all their time in this sanctuary – where the dogs have their own house and a large open yard so they can come and go freely.

Some just pay a visit after walking, feeding, and cleaning up after our “dorm” dogs – only to be mobbed by smiling faces, tail wags and kisses.

And when the young dog pack leaves the Park…guess where the sugar flows?


Yellow Billed Magpie

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Yellow-billed Magpie.

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Common in the open oak woodlands in central (and apparently, Northern) California –

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but found nowhere else in the world.

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Lucky us.

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It likes open areas with large trees and streams,

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and forages in grassland and fields.

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Which means it lives and soars above the rain-restored meadow behind my work.

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Lucky me.

Hope Delivered


Oh the weather outside was frightful…but rain in California is delightful. We are so grateful for (count them!) two storm systems this week, moving through our drought-dried state. While it dumped in buckets, it was still very manageable (for most of us…sorry little bee!).

The walkers who braved it today were rewarded with a brief blast of sunshine by the end.


And of course, dogs!

This is pre-El Nino cheer bringing hope to our thirsty state.

The weekend also delivered on the hopes of five of our dogs. Our ”going homes” include Booker – who is the perfect foil to his new human, Mark.

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Talk about mugging it up for the camera.

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Charlie got the thumbs-up from gorgeous alum Goldie to come home and stay with her (and to shed a few pounds!)

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Babe couldn’t wait to get in the car and go (not that she didn’t appreciate her time with us!)

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And Precious and Lexi. These two came to us when their person could no longer care for them. I hope it brings them comfort knowing they will be in good and happy hands.

Precious Lexi_Going Home
Dogs going home. A kennel that is half empty. The garden nearly put to bed for the winter. And rain.

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The perfect way to end a weekend.