Knowing When To Surrender

The tree that I mentioned last week which was so concerning me – is gone. The arborist found root rot and no sap running through it. The property has a natural slope away from the barn which helps to keep the dogs drier in the winter, but it flows to the garden when we get big rains. With our clay soil, the water collects and stands in low spots – sometimes for a week at a time.

The center of the garden lawn is the worst – where the large Mulberry was. It was apparently, finally, too much.

To do rescue, you have to believe in miracles. And they do happen. But you also have to be able to recognize when to surrender. Sometimes, it is the kindest choice. The tree was not going to get better. Saying farewell to it now was for the best; another transformation will occur where it once stood.

Little Leroy’s human called it quits after just five days.

A purchased puppy – his human thought he was getting a Golden Retriever. The tell-tale double dew claw and spotted tummy and nose clearly indicate a Great Pyrenees mix.

The man said that Leroy was a little terror, costing him a week of sleep because he peed and poo’d everywhere. He must have had him loose overnight in the house, because this puppy sleeps almost through the night in a crate by the bed and lets out a tiny whimper indicating when it’s time to go potty. During the day and early evening, he plays hard with the big dogs;

in between – he naps – allowing plenty of time to get things done.

A simple joy to have around. But this man was not destined for puppy-fatherhood. Thankfully, he recognized it early on and asked us to find little Leroy a better home. Mission accomplished.

Emma was not so lucky.

At three and a half, she was largely left in the backyard. When she was inside, she was crated with little or no interaction with the family. She arrived with no vet records, no leash skills, and no training. Both Emma and her people would have been better off to recognize that things were not going to get better and to have surrendered her sooner. Emma’s most impressionable years were not well spent. It’s up to us, now, to ensure her transformation to a happier life – which we will gladly do.

The arborist recommended a Tupelo tree for the spot where the Mulberry was. It can withstand the water in winter and drought in summer. It will grow large and shady – and be stunning in fall. It was hard to give up on such an established member of the garden – but life would not have gotten better for our stately Mulberry. Sometimes, you just need to know when to surrender.

Thank you, big Mulberry…for the joy and shade you brought us as long as you could.

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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.

7 thoughts on “Knowing When To Surrender”

  1. Hooray for Leroy and his new family. And kudos to the gentleman who recognized he and Letoy were not a good match. I have no doubt Emma will soon be at the head of the class and heading for her forever home.

    The photos of your gardens take my breath away with their beauty. The endless hours of hard work have created a magical place for all of us to enjoy. I hate to see a tree die….plants too, but especially a tree. But when it can’t be saved, you make way for a new growth. Looking forward to seeing the Tupelo tree as I am not familiar with it. It sounds like a perfect choice for that spot.
    🔹 Ginger 🔹

    1. With the heat coming on, the tree planting will likely wait until fall. In the meantime – the roses that surrounded it will love the extra sun! And you are right…Emma will be a rock star! She is adorable.

  2. Aw, the poor Mulberry tree! Well, at least it’s no longer suffering. I never heard of a Tupelo tree – did it get its name from the city in Mississippi?

    Kudos to Leroy’s first puppy dad for recognizing he wasn’t cut out for the job. And to you and your “pups” for teaching him how to be a good pup! Glad he’s found a new family so soon!

    Poor Emma! Geez, I hate when people get an animal and then have nothing to do with it!! Why bother getting one in the first place?! I’m glad you and HBGRR took her in! At least now she’s in good, capable, loving hands! If I could, I’d come out there to adopt her and bring her home with me! Give her some hugs and kisses for me.

  3. It’s hard letting go of an established tree. But as an arborist pointed out to us when we had our beloved almond tree removed: either you take it down or it’s coming down, possibly on to the house. Sigh.

    One of the things I love about our local humane society is the detailed interview and questionnaire required before you adopt and animal. I wish breeders did the same. You provide a wonderful service for these dogs. We’ve always thought of our cats as members of the family. They need love, patience, lots of attention, guidance and all the other things that go into raising a child, two or four-legged.

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