The Divine Miss Blanche


In December, I shared a post about the senior dogs who live in what we lovingly refer to as Sugar Shack Acres. These are dogs that are unlikely to be adopted due to age, illness, or both. They enjoy the company of other dogs and live happily in their own house and yard where they can be closely looked after and receive their doting visitors daily.

Blanche was one of our much-loved residents – and a favorite of Santa’s I might add.


This morning, we lost her. While I try to keep sad news at bay, she touched the hearts of so many – and a chronicle of the dogs would not be complete without celebrating her here. Rather than speak for her, however, I’ll share the words of Tatia – one of her devotees – who delivered the news to our volunteers tonight.

“Homeward Bound’s senior sanctuary has lost beloved Miss Blanche. Blanchie was somewhere between 10 and 100, and in spite of battling cancer and severe arthritis, she was the happiest old lady you could meet.


She loved her people and she loved her cookies, and she loved clean fresh beds, and naps and pets. She welcomed new dogs in with equal grace and the occasional snark (NO one stepped on Blanche!), and kept all the roughhousers in check. She also had laryngeal paralysis which made her breathing sound raspy, especially when she got excited – which she did over each visitor who came to see her, and the prospect of a cookie.


None of her ailments got her down though: Blanche passed due to a sudden onset of bloat, and she was let go quickly and peacefully so as not to suffer. She was so loved by the HB volunteers, and gave it right back, times ten. HB was her home and we were blessed to get to have her. Rest in peace Blanchie girl, you are already missed.”


Fly free sweet girl. We were blessed to know you.

And the Oscar Goes To…


The red carpet has been laid out I know you’re all abuzz about tonight’s Academy Awards.


The critics and pundits continue to speculate about the winners – as well as the surrounding controversy. There seems to have been a noticeable lack of diversity among some of the nominating categories. Notably, the complete absence of canine representation.

For the Academy’s consideration, I offer the following nominations: For Best Animated Feature:

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Best Short Subject:

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Best Costume Design:


Best Visual Effects:

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Best Foreign Language Film:


Best Actress:


Best Actor:


Best in a Supporting Role:

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Best in a Leading Role:


Best Photography:


Best Director:


Best Picture:


The best picture always goes to “going homes.”

Catching up to Forever

Alice: “How long is forever?”
White Rabbit: “Sometimes, just one second.” ~ Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland

I have been away from the Homeward Bound Memorial Garden for what feels like forever. Actually, it has only been a week. But when spring approaches, everything changes in the blink of an eye.

Making an appearance this week: Bradford Pear Blossoms, Daffodils, Iris, Calendula, Anemone, Hyacinth, Rosemary, Snapdragons, Ranunculus…

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and very soon…Tulips!


Winnie the Pooh: “Did you ever wonder what it’s like being a flower living underground all winter and coming up in the spring?”
Eeyore: “Very uncomfortable. I shouldn’t wonder.” ~ A.A. Milne, Winnie the Pooh

The flowers are not the only things I miss by not being at the rescue daily. So many dogs! They have been coming and going so fast, it is impossible to keep up! Playing catch up…here are just a few:

Truffles was appropriately adopted on Valentine’s Day, because what better Valentine is there than a chocolate Truffles?


Samson was, sadly, surrendered by his family. I hope they will be relieved to know that we had a great one waiting for him, and that they feel blessed to have him in their lives.

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Alice will be assisting at a local assisted living center that we have worked with before. She will be one spoiled and well-loved girl!


Max was a long-time resident of ours and one of the many who benefited from the love and support of “Foster Daddy” aka, Rob.


Without his intervention, Max might still be with us. But the help of Rob and all of our volunteers, Max is home.

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And Issac.


Rescued and transported by our volunteer, Fred, who wrote this touching post about his experience:

“Yesterday I was asked to transport a dog from an animal shelter to Homeward Bound. At the shelter I was told the dog had not been temper-tested and could bite. I sat with the dog for a while and then the lady from the shelter said if you do not take it, the dog will be euthanized. When I heard that I slowly put a collar on him wondering if I was going to get bit. I did not get bit, and when I got the dog out of the shelter it kind of danced on the leash and was just so happy. The Golden then jumped into my car and I think both of us were smiling on the hour and a half trip to Homeward Bound. So many volunteers have helped and saved the lives of so many dogs. I know I have helped some dogs but this was the first dog I know I saved the life of. Yesterday was a good day for the dog – and it was a good day for me. I just thought I would share this.” ~ Fred S.

On that day, Issac adopted Fred by putting his faith and trust in a total stranger.


Today, Fred adopted Issac and brought him home…


for forever.

Dog Kidnaps Heart


Benson is an adorable Golden who arrived with a hot-mess list of ailments that would turn anyone upside down!


The poor boy had both hookworms and Clostridium (a bacterial infection) which led to puddles of diarrhea. He also tested positive for heartworm. Triage was in order.

We dealt with the hookworms and Clostridium first (because no one is a fan of cleaning up runny poo!). Then, we needed to put some weight on him before beginning the heartworm treatment. While all of this was going on, Benson earned the coveted office dog spot where he could be closely monitored.

Regular readers are familiar with the office dognapper – aka, my gardener buddy, Anna.


Soon, I began noticing that my gardener was disappearing, and my camera was loaded each week with images of Anna and Benson.


So it was no surprise that Anna showed up on Sunday with her Jenni and Royce (16!) for a meet-and-greet.


With a thumbs up, the red-heads headed home together – where Benson has found a comfy and quiet spot to rest while he finishes his heartworm treatment.


It seems this wormy boy has wormed his permanent way into our dognapper’s heart.


Lucky Boy!


Love Will Find A Way


When Lori brought her new Foster, Darcy, to class at Homeward Bound in December, I was worried for her heart.

Lori is a volunteer at Homeward Bound – and one of those dog whisperers you hear about. Frightened, shy, and anxious dogs find comfort, acceptance, and hope in her welcoming arms. Her heart is equally open, which means that she takes losses particularly hard.


Dogs are lost for only one of two reasons at our rescue: because they are terminally ill and suffering; or because, despite all efforts at rehabilitation, they are a proven risk to humans. It happens rarely, but we said goodbye to a dog late last year for behaviors we could not change. It was heart-wrenching, and Lori was filled with self-questioning, thinking there was something she could have done. There was not.

It was not long after that Lori showed up for reactive dog class with Darcy an American Staffordshire Terrier (aka Pit bull) that she found at a local shelter.


In even the best shelter, the odds are stacked against a dog like Darcy. By agreeing to foster her, Lori surely saved her life.


The reactive class is for dogs who have issues with other dogs; their exposure is safely – and gradually – increased to their canine fellows. Calm reactions are rewarded, replacing fear and anxiety with positive associations. Trash talking and snarly faces are par for the course, but what I witnessed in Darcy was something more. Lori is an experienced dog person – but Darcy’s reaction seemed so over-the-top that Lori was afraid to enter the class. She left in tears, full of self-doubt – but not defeated. Under that soft, gushy heart is an iron will. Lori does not give up on dogs in need.

Lori and Darcy returned every week after that. Lori sought advice from everywhere but worked particularly closely with our certified trainer, Kathryn, and another of our dog whisperers, Rob. In one-on-one sessions, Darcy was gradually exposed to other dogs. From a walking distance at first;


then at the fence;


and ultimately, side-by-side.


Darcy’s issue was not aggression. At 18 months old, she had never been socialized. She had the behaviors of a six-week-old puppy in a full-size dog.


The high-pitched squeal and bark were reactions to constraints of fences and the leash. Darcy wanted to get at the other dogs to be part of the action, but her boundary-less behaviors and yelling were perceived as threats.


At home, Lori kept Darcy separated from her two Goldens for weeks. It must have been quite a juggling act. They smelled each other through closed doors and caught glimpses of each other from safe walking distances. Most people would throw up their hands; but not Lori. If love can find a way – Lori was the right person to help Darcy find and feel that love.

Distances gradually closed; encounters grew more frequent and successful; until one day by (don’t-try-this-at-home) accident, her dogs found themselves in the same room together. Holding her breath while offering treats – she found success!

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Darcy is still a work in progress, but with careful introductions, Lori has proven that Darcy can peacefully co-exist in a doggy world.

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And Darcy has proven that she can learn from other dogs about appropriate behaviors and boundaries. This dramatically altered her adoption potential, moving from the “at-risk” category” to “available.”

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Through her work in rescue, Lori has touched and changed many lives: dog and human.


Darcy has helped to heal Lori’s heart and to show her that as a patient foster friend, she can save lives, too.


Love finds a way.

The Other Puppy Bowl

I know all you dog lovers are glued to the Puppy Bowl this weekend, but there is another one that goes on every weekend at Homeward Bound!

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It comes complete with tackles,

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and unsportsmanlike conduct!

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I’ve brought you play-by-play on a couple of them. You’ll find them here and here.

Last week, I shared photos of Sybill and her sister, Kensie at our weekly puppy bowl. Our newest, and smallest additions to Kathryn’s puppy class were feeling a bit overwhelmed by the bigger dogs –

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until this weekend! Please welcome tiny Lilu!

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To look at her, you wouldn’t know that this little girl has a near-criminal past! Lilu came to us by way of a local veterinarian. She was brought in on an emergency basis – the result of an apparent larceny. It seems she pilfered her owner’s stash. She was in pretty bad shape. The owners wisely chose to surrender when presented with their options.

The vet named her “Felon,” and put in a call to us asking if we could take a Golden Retriever puppy.
We always find it humorous that a vet gets confused about dog breeds when they are hoping for a rescue. 🙂


We renamed this adorable, pint-sized offender a non-too subtle “Mary Jane.” She was with us about two minutes before she was adopted.


Her family rightly selected a new name and enrolled her in class so she can be properly socialized and get a fresh start in her rehabilitated life!

Unlike Sybill and Kensie, she was not intimidated one bit by the big dogs…

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she mixes things up and then makes a quick getaway, finding a proper hiding place!

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And happily, Sybill has found someone (almost) her own size to play with.

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All winners…no losers…in our puppy bowl!