Fighting for Light

Hope is what fuels our ability to achieve the unachievable.


Light is where we blossom once more.


Kindness is what transforms even the most broken.


Darkness leads to isolation, fear, despair, uncaring, and malevolence.

We choose, each day, in each tiny act, whether to see and act in this life with light or darkness.


That choice shapes who we are and who we become.


It’s time to fight for the light.

Klamath Woods_DSC_5070

Lest we lose ourselves to darkness.

A Rescue Tale

This story has been embargoed for what seems like forever. I could not wait to report the full happily ever after.

It began in mid-December, when someone who has long been connected to our rescue saw something out of the corner of his eye as he drove down the road. Instead of continuing on, he stopped. He found two dogs, a German Shepherd and a German Pointer, tied to each other in the mud. The weather had been alternating between rain and freezing. Their only shelter was a dilapidated fruit crate. With only three feet of chain between them – only one dog could raise itself above the muck.


Our rescuer spoke to the owners. They claimed the dogs had been dumped, separately, in the surrounding country and they took them “in.” The story took twists and turns as they spoke, but the bottom line was that they would give them up. That was all he needed to know.

He and his wife set about contacting rescues. Relying on foster care, their inns were full so close to Christmas. They worried about bringing the dogs to a shelter given the Shepherd’s age. Given their breeds, they didn’t automatically think of Homeward Bound, but when our president got wind of it, she said “we’ll take them.” They were quickly transported to safety.


The Shepherd, Sadie, had a microchip; the owner on record did not return our call.


Gage had no identification. Our vet put Sadie at 13, and Gage at 6. We had been told that Gage had been joined with Sadie about a year ago.


The dogs had bonded through adversity despite the difference in their ages. Still, their needs were very different. Once freed, Sadie worked hard at keeping up with Gage who ran like the wind. At 13, a leisurely walk was more her speed.


Whenever we can, we keep bonded pairs together. But in this case, we felt that potential adopters would be looking for two very different kinds of dogs and that could significantly reduce their chances. On Christmas Eve, Sadie went home with former adopters who had been searching for a special, older dog to pair with their senior Golden. They fell instantly in love with her.


Gage was temporarily lost without her. I had taken him for a walk while Sadie was being adopted. To watch him search for her when we returned was heartbreaking. But he got extra loving and lots of play time from our volunteers who discovered that – after expending his energy – this adorable boy wanted nothing more than to climb in your lap and cuddle. Gage’s rescuers visiting with him:


We also learned that Gage didn’t have a single hunting instinct in him, which is probably why he was dumped. He walked right by bunnies and kitties, and the sound of gunfire from nearby hunters sent him running for safety.


Over New Year’s, one of our volunteers brought her neighbors out to meet Gage. This special family was already involved with Pointer rescue, and were the adoptive parents of two beautiful (human) girls. They had recently lost one of their Pointers. While they weren’t sure if they were ready, they found Gage’s story compelling.

Hiding in the adjacent yard so he wouldn’t see me, I watched and listened, hopeful, as Gage chased the girls around the Park. The family had a vacation planned and could not take him immediately. We crossed our paws, and they returned last week with their dog, Toby, for an introduction. Toby is a big Pointer mix without a care in the world. His boundless energy put Gage a little on guard. We sent them home for a trial week to make sure all would be well. And after a few days of figuring each other out – it was.


Gage was officially adopted this week. He and Toby are now playmates, and sleeping mates – in the bed, of course!


What a life Sadie and Gage will have now – because someone stopped and asked instead of driving by. It’s a small thing that can turn anyone into a rescuer and give a gift that makes a world of difference in the life of a dog – and quite possibly, yours, too.


Stir Crazy

“The sun did not shine.
It was too wet to play.
So we sat in the house.
All that cold, cold, wet day.”
~ Dr. Seuss

After almost a week of rain, we’re all a little bit stir crazy. So when the clouds broke a bit and the sun shone for oh so short a time, heels kicked up –


and they were off!


There’s just nothing like dogs


or puppies


with the serious case of zoomies to brighten your day –


unless it’s dogs going to their new forever homes.
Fare thee well Breezy,






And Oscar, who found the perfect group of six to wear down his youthful exuberance and get him trained into some semblance of a well-mannered pup!


The rain will return on Wednesday, but until then, we play!


At the Water’s Edge


I returned to the river Thursday after the rain finally subsided.


It had been a week of almost non-stop soaking in three waves of powerful downpours and winds. Go here for a bird’s-eye view.


The Sacramento River is at its highest point since 1997. At the water’s edge, I usually find all sorts of wildlife and birds of different feathers –


most were still burrowing someplace warm and dry. And there was very little edge!


The crows, however, are opportunists;


the ducks are in their element;


and the dogs were just happy to finally get out.


For the first time that I can ever remember, Homeward Bound’s president – who lives on site – closed the rescue to all but the feeders, twice. On the worst night of all, she told even the feeders to stay home. She fed the dogs by herself and took them out for potty one quick run at a time. Leasing the property to the rescue means that she and her husband rarely get private time. Something tells me that even in the downpour, she was enjoying having the place to herself for one dark and stormy night.

The rivers have overflown all of their banks, and weirs that have not been opened in over a decade were lifted – releasing swelling waters into fields to keep cities safe. Thanks to work done over the past few years, the levees held for the most part. There have been a few breaches in rural communities, and another one currently threatened – but an amazing effort by emergency teams that worked around the clock for days to keep us out of harm’s way.

In the Sierra, rain turned snow to slush before the temperatures dropped. Then the skies dropped 10+ feet of snow – more than we have seen in years. This series of monster storms managed to lift Northern California out of five years of drought – and there is more on the way. Mid next week, another atmospheric river will add to our swollen rivers.

We get a few days to let some of the water soak in – and to wash some of the mud off.


Our Cup Runneth Over


They call it a Pineapple Express. An atmospheric river. A once in twenty-five year event. We call it water. And lots of it. This was the river just a year ago:


This year, Winter announced itself, first with a hard frost,


and now, rain. Lots and lots of rain.


After five years of drought, the water is welcome – but the height of our rivers and streams is downright scary. This is a warm storm off the Pacific, so the water melts the snow in the Sierra, and just when you think you’ve been through the thick of it, the rivers swell further with runoff. Sacramento is second only to New Orleans in flood risk. I was here in 1986 as the the water rose so high it brushed the bottom of bridges and the levees failed. If you have any sway with the rain gods, would you kindly ask them to go easy on us this time? Our cup runneth over.

There will be no gardening even if we wanted to: the garden looks like a lake with floating islands.


And there will be no dog walking today. The wind and rain make it unsafe to drive, so all but our feeders have been banned during the worst of it. Today, the dogs won’t mind. With the yards full of ankle-height water, and the relentless shooting of nearby duck hunters, even our water-loving pups prefer to be under cover!


But even these storms bring their own joys: birds.


Some are with us all year,


but much easier to see when the trees are barren.


Others – like the Snow Geese, make their way to our valley only in winter.


And what a sight they are!


Tens of thousands of them.


I have been stalking them for a couple weeks. They are skittish; even the sound of a shutter click sends them flying off.


But they have found food – and sanctuary from the hunters – in the flooded rice fields that surround us.


I usually love the sound of rain, but this rain is worrisome. I should be grateful for it after so long a drought – and I will be – when this storm has safely passed.