Slowly, The Evening Comes

It is a rare treat to be in the Memorial Garden at sunset.

After the feeders leave, a hush falls over the entire rescue as pups – exhausted from a day of play – bed down with full bellies for the night.

“Slowly the evening came. The sun from the western horizon, like a magician, extended his golden wand o’er the landscape.” ~ Longfellow

Instead of dogs barking, the air is full of the sounds of birds chirping, bees buzzing,

and wings fluttering while everyone gathers their own evening meal.

Bunnies come out of hiding and watch with curiosity as I go about my weeding and dead-heading; and you get the sense that eyes are upon you from everywhere.

Our president and co-founder owns and lives on the property that she and her husband purchased and lease to Homeward Bound. They moved to the county when their suburban house outgrew their rescue dream.

She told me once that the minute she laid eyes on what was then a barren field with only a house and barn – she knew she was home.

What has been built for the dogs is nothing short of a miracle requiring many hands and able bodies.

And yet, the best part of the day is when all the volunteers go home and quiet falls over the property like a blanket as the sun lowers on the horizon.

A perfect place to call home for those who are homeward bound.

Summer Upon Us

Everybody in the pool! The dog days of summer are upon us.

We’re getting a taste this weekend of what promises to be a long hot summer.

In the morning, everyone is busy trying to get in their work,

play –

and tussles

before the heat calls for a long, lazy nap.

The good news: as the thermometer brushes 100-degrees, the searing sun kills the black spot fungus spores that have invaded our roses.

Never before have we been faced with this scourge. But never, in the garden’s history, have we had such a long, cool, wet winter. While its spread is, so far, limited, I wonder: remove the offenders now – or prepare to do battle as the seasons change?

This is a simple, inconsequential thing to ponder in the scheme of things. The decision for our new arrival, Eddie was a little harder.

A recent transport from a rescue group we work with in China, he had been hit by a car and his little leg – left untreated – was growing in crooked. With one growth plate progressing and the other halted, the leg would eventually adopt a 90-degree angle ensuring a painful break in his future. Our Doc decided it was best to say goodbye to the leg now – while he was young enough and resilient enough to recover fully.

It’s hard to see him go through this trauma at such a young age and so soon after his arrival, but we know that putting the worst behind quickly means a better and happier future ahead.

Ina suggests patience with the roses; so they will remain for now. Which is just as well. It is TOO HOT for another chore.

We opt instead for lounging on the grass.

A dip in the pool.

And lazing in the shade.

It is May. And the dog days of summer are upon us.


A River’s Story

Water. In drought, we pray for it.
In floods, we fear it.
And when the soul needs refreshing – we seek it.

The ocean – in its vastness – offers perspective about our small place and insignificant worries in the scheme of life.

A river is about discovery; something new lies around every bend.

“A river does not just happen; it has a beginning and an end. Its story is written in rich earth, in ice, and in water-carved stone, and its story as the lifeblood of the land is filled with colour, music and thunder.” ~ Andy Russell, The Life of a River

Like life, a river is full of surprises; things you can’t see until you come upon them. From a vignette  –

to the tiniest detail.

“Who looks upon a river in a meditative hour, and is not reminded of the flux of all things? Throw a stone into the stream, and the circles that propagate themselves are the beautiful type of all influence. “— (Ralph Waldo Emerson, Nature)

We took the dogs and loaded up the car for a long weekend at Russian River – not far from Bodega Bay in California.

A tiny cottage with a gigantic lawn on the river’s edge.

The 110 mile river flows through nine counties, joined by others on its route to the Pacific Ocean. Originally known among the Southern Pomo as Ashokawna  “east water place” or “water to the east”, and as Bidapte, “big river,” it takes its current name from Russian Ivan Kuskov who explored the river in the early 19th century. Russian people from Sitka, Alaska settled in the coastal area founding Fort Ross in 1811 and erected buildings at Bodega Bay. The river and its surrounding towns have managed to survive floods, fires, the 1906 earthquake, and other disasters – leaving small but devoted communities, and carrying many stories.

By William Keith – An Autumnal Sunset on the Russian River Evening Glow by William Keith, 1878 – Butler Institute of American Art

Last year, this river was but a trickle after five years of drought. With the winter rains, it flooded the town of Guerneville. In May, it still runs fast and deep; too fast to send the doggies in – but they had more than enough adventures.

A mystic morning.

A hike through an old redwood grove.

An afternoon at the beach.

A nap on the grass.

Perspective restored.

“There’s a river somewhere that flows through the lives of everyone.” ~ Roberta Flack

Forever One: The Giants Litter


“Like branches on a tree we grow in different directions yet our roots remain as one. Each of our lives will always be a special part of the other.” ― Anonymous

Last year at this time I was one of the “puppy mamas” to a litter of 12 adorable Golden puppies that came to our rescue with their mom, Molly, and Dad, Harley.

They were only three weeks old when they arrived; I wrote about it here.

We named them the Giants litter – for the favorite baseball team of their transport angel – and, as it turns out, prophetically about their gigantic size!

I watched them make their first exit from the whelping box, cleaned their poopy messes, taught them to play in the kiddie pool,

and joined my fellow volunteers in helping them on the right path through those critical socialization weeks.

And then, you have to say ‘goodbye’ – and they scatter like the wind.

A couple of them return regularly for “school” (if you ask me, it’s more for play). And many stay connected with their own Facebook group.

They had a small get-together at about five months which I was lucky to capture.

But last weekend, a full-blown party was planned to celebrate their one-year birthdays!

Molly and Harley put in special appearances with six of their pups. Molly…


And pups.

Not bad considering three of the pups went back to our partner in the rescue, Forever Friends Golden Retriever Rescue in Ventura.

There were hugs,

a little too familiar greetings,

and the usual shenanigans between siblings.

Some things never change!

They have different names now – so keeping track of them is very much a game of “who’s on first.” But when I yelled, “Puppy, puppy, puppy!” something kicked in and they all came running.

They have their mom and dad’s height, curls, and wonderful dispositions. They all got along beautifully. A testament to the benefits of proper socialization through early puppyhood – and the patience and skill of their adopting families.

I am hoping that they can stay connected. The bond between them is something special.

Until we meet again, my puppy friends! May each year be better than the last.