Some Things…

Some things make me laugh.

Some make me smile.

Some fill me with joy – like the asters in fall.

And others make me want to say, “Don’t worry boy, didn’t I tell you you’d be home in a flash?”

Some touch my heart.

Some fill me with hope.

And some make me wonder how a boy ever thought that peeing on a new girlfriend would win her over?!

But this just fills me with pride.

Last year, I told you about a young airman shipping out to South Korea for a year of service. She left her one-year-old boy in the care of our loving foster family.
This week, I was honored to be invited to witness their reunion –

and to share their story again.

Some things make me cry…with pride and joy. I could not love this “work” more.

Fall Project #3: Where Did All The Dogs Go?

This is not my project…but it’s a big one that impacts everyone who volunteers at the rescue. We had been waiting for the weather to turn to get it done.

This weekend, the guys removed all 25 kennels and lined them up in the yards where they will wait for a week.

Monday, the floor installers will come and begin putting down flooring that has been vet-tested for endurance. It should withstand the wear and tear and make cleaning easier and more thorough – and anything that helps to reduce germs is a good thing in a kennel environment. But it will require up to a week to complete. So where are all the dogs???

First…we put out a plea for short-term foster help. So many people raised their hands; it is truly gratifying. Not only will it be less stressful on the dogs, we’ll learn more about them from their time in foster. A few might even foster-fail if we are lucky!

Second…the dogs have been getting adopted as fast as we can get them ready! This seems to happen in waves. Sometimes, they will be here for weeks with little activity, and then the floodgates open. The timing could not have been better and we LOVE going homes!

Third…with the weather cooler now, the remaining dogs will spend their daytime hours in the yards.

Our walkers and feeders are so conscientious about getting the dogs out. Their days look like this: Feed and run. Nap. Walk and play. Nap. Swim or playgroup. Nap. Feed and run. Bedtime. With the kennels removed, they are not getting their naps which brings me to…

Fourth…thankfully, we have a large facility with lots of places to stash dogs when necessary (puppy palace, office spaces, conference room, senior yard, laundry room, and isolation unit). With so many at foster or adopted, everyone found a cozy place to stay at night. They won’t have quite as much room this week at bedtime…but without their daytime naps, I am betting they will be so tired that they won’t even notice.

Like I said – this is not my project. Hats off to the guys doing the heavy lifting, Lori and Jody doing the heavy planning, the adoption and foster counselors and placement team doing the getting ‘em home, and the feeders and walkers for braving the chaos to ensure that the dogs are comfortable and cared for through the process. ‘Cause like we say…”it’s all about the dogs!”

Fall Project #2: The Puppy Pad

Maria’s decorations signal that fall has arrived in the garden…but gardening had to wait this weekend.

I’m a big fan of completing one project before starting another (the Virgo in me) – so I was hoping to complete the new bed this week. But when the success of a project depends on the muscles of others – you adapt! My crew was available this weekend…so this weekend was dedicated to the new Puppy Pad.

We built a Puppy Palace in 2014 with a dedicated shed, kennel, and a little enclosed yard for our youngest guests.

All was well until…the well! The pumping equipment was adjacent to the Puppy Palace, and when it needed replacing, it encroached upon the puppies’ yard.

While the shed and adjacent kennel space still provide excellent housing for newborns and puppies up to four weeks,

after that – the little monsters need more room to run and play.

For the past year, this meant carting them to the much larger puppy yard. They quickly outgrow wheelbarrow transfer leading to weeks of one-by-one carrying.

The solution: Puppy Pad South – or as I like to call it, Juvenile Hall. An enclosure within the large Puppy Yard that can house puppies when they reach four weeks or so.

The guys fenced off a space and built a shed at the end of the yard with a large tree providing all-day shade.

The surrounding ground, however, was a disaster. So we got to work leveling and setting pavers to provide a safe play space that is easily cleaned. While Kermit supervised…of course!

On one end, is a small patch of real grass and another tree. And under the large shade tree where grass doesn’t grow, artificial turf will be installed. The puppies will have plenty of safe room to play and stay – and when we have eyes on – the gate will open onto their very large, grassy puppy yard.

No more hauling back and fort! And everything a puppy needs for play and socialization.

Fall Garden Project Number One

No, really, there are no remains in the Memorial Garden…although you might suspect otherwise if you saw this.

While we were away, fall signaled its arrival.

Just hints so far, but the creatures know.

And with cooler days come a mountain of projects. First on the list: a complete demolition and re-do of the raised bed area of the garden.

Once, these housed a mountain of overgrown and deadly blackberry brambles. They spread their spikes throughout the garden, so they were banished to the perimeter a few years ago where they (and the bunnies) thrive safely out of the dogs’ paths.

Blueberries, California Poppies and a bed of Rosemary took their place, but the spot was too dry and hot for the blueberries, the boards were rotting, and the Bermuda grass was winning the war on all fronts. I have learned to let nature have her way…to a point which does not include Bermuda grass!. So, the raised beds have been razed and the blueberries donated – and in their place will be gentle mounds hosting native and drought-tolerant selections more appropriate to the site while echoing other sections of the garden.

The first order of business, however, are trenches.

When it rains, everything on the property flows from the dog yards and kennel to the garden. It helps to keep the dogs drier (our first priority) but creates lakes in the garden. We lost one tree this year to the swamp that collects in the center; we want to prevent that going forward. So, in the design are trenches and mounds – to act as catch basins for some of the deluge while keeping drought-tolerant plants high and dry.

Maria helped me with phase one: the blueberry and box frame removal while unearthing and capping the existing irrigation.

Nash came to the rescue to cut down and remove the heavy redwood boards.

And while the dogs did not quite grasp the principle of sled dogs to help in moving wheelbarrows of gravel,

Kermit the cat was happy to provide supervision and amusement.

A few plants will go in this fall to get established, but mostly, we’ll fill the bed with fresh compost and leaf mulch and let it “cook” over the winter to be ready for spring planting. I have learned the hard way: preparation and patience pays rewards in the end.

What’s on your fall garden list?