Everything In Its Season

I love the velvety purple stalks of Mexican sage. It heralds fall; its amethyst hues offset by the season’s golden leaves. A perennial in most gardens – but not in our Homeward Bound Memorial Garden. It is too wet in winter, and too hot in summer. The clay soil and baking sun are too much for this tough, but not quite tough enough, sage.

The first three seasons, I moved it to different spots in the garden hoping I would find just the right home for it to thrive. But no amount of pampering made a difference. It was magnificent in fall and gone by spring, never to sprout again.

Now, I treat it as an annual. I find a spot where it can be spectacular while enjoying and enhancing the company of others.

And when it is finished blooming, I thank it for its beauty, plant spring bulbs over it, and bid it a fond adieu.

Despite our best efforts, some things we love are not meant to be with us for long. I think that only makes them more precious.

Lindsey was our miracle puppy. Born an insulin-dependent diabetic, she should not have seen a few weeks much less nearly a year.

“She’s going to break your heart,” our Doc said. It is a kind way of saying ‘let her go.’ If Lindsey had been in pain, we would have seen the wisdom in that. But while Lindsey was a perpetual tiny girl…

she was happy and loved and fawned over until she left us as suddenly as she came to us – passing quietly away in the night.

Cavanaugh is 14.

Karma, only eight.

Both were left in shelters with terminal medical issues. For both, their time is likely measured in weeks, maybe months, but not years. Both were deserving of a much better ending. So they came to us and we were told, “just love them and spoil them.”

This is one of the most important gifts we can offer. Without any expectation that they will see the coming spring, we can be there for them when they need us most.

Karma will be going home this week. We call it hospice foster, matching special needs dogs with extraordinary angels who know that it is not the number of days that count, but the quality of our time together.

It’s hard to love them so when you know the time is short. Still, because the time is short, it is impossible not to love them even more.

“Every blade in the field, every leaf in the forest, lays down its life in its season, as beautifully as it was taken up.” ~ Henry David Thoreau

Dogs, like people, do not come with expiration dates. Love while you can. Live every day. Give what you are able knowing that you made a difference. You never know how something beautiful will be reborn.

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I am a nascent gardener, rescuer, and photographer, chronicling the journey of the dogs at Homeward Bound Golden Retriever Rescue and Sanctuary near Sacramento, CA - and the Memorial Garden we have devoted to them.

15 thoughts on “Everything In Its Season”

  1. Hospice care…such a great gift, both for the caretaker and the one receiving. Many blessings on those who do it well.

  2. I was just reflecting on some of our shorter-term family members in a recent post … adopting a senior or special-needs companion can be a wonderful experience, and I am certain we will welcome more “short-timers” into our lives from time to time as the opportunity presents itself. They always seem to choose us, rather than us choosing them, so we will see when that happens next …. This post was so heartwarming — they all deserve love for as long as they are with us.

    1. I’m sure that Bruce, Snowy, Duffy, Corbin, Sadie, Krugar and Winnie would all approve of you opening your heart and home to another when you are chosen again. Thank you for loving them all.

  3. Beautiful, heartwarming post. It never gets easier to let a sweet angel go off to the Rainbow Bridge. I take comfort in the love that so many people showed them while they were here on Earth.

  4. I’ve concentrated so much on your happy-ending stories, it never once occurred to me the number of “early departures” you have facilitated. Heartbreaking, certainly! Yet I’m so impressed and filled with admiration for all the volunteers who give their hearts and their very best care, loving these pups until the very end.

    1. The hardest and one of the most important of our duties for the dogs. It takes special people with strong hearts – and I am grateful for them all.

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