The One That Got Away

On Christmas Day, I returned to the garden.

It has been about a month since I have spent any real time there except to rake and do light cleanup.

That’s what happens when foster puppies come to call.

Little Daisy—now Gabby—was with us for a month. Arriving at only seven weeks, she had already been passed around and surrendered for the birth defect on her eye.

At 11 weeks, she was healthy and fat and strong enough for her surgery.

Her eye was removed as the hairy tissue had grown to cover nearly 90 percent of her cornea and was extending to her lower lid. She sees better now without the constant obstacle blocking her view. She recovered quickly and was home in time for Christmas—her new mama’s bundle of joy (and potty-obstinance!).

Happy life, little girl.

In Northern California, we don’t put the garden to bed for the winter as much as we tidy up.

There is still color and foliage to admire –

but work to be done.

When the blossoms fall, the bees finally retreat enough to find the source of the pesky Bermuda grass. The damp ground Is much more gracious about giving up the fugitives it harbors – abolishing all excuses. As the leaves shed, the structure of the garden comes into view. It’s time to start editing select trees and shrubs being careful to leave basal foliage growth protected against expected frost.

Time is measured by the passing seasons –

and the growth of foster pups.

Lily was one of this year’s foster puppies. One that I never wrote about. Not because she was not memorable – but because she was too much so.

People ask how my husband and I can foster puppies and never want to keep them. We had never been tempted. We see ourselves as a part of their journey. Their parting is bitter sweet but we are excited for their new families. Our house is full of doggie love and we know that keeping one might prevent us from helping more.

But Lily was different.

At eight weeks of age, she was found “stray” in a parking lot with a broken leg and taken to an area shelter. Thankfully, she came to us quickly in time to do surgery and save her leg. The photo I took upon her arrival is heartbreaking.

She recovered at our president’s home until she reached a point where she needed regular swim therapy to help rebuild the atrophied muscle around her still growing bones.

So she came home with us where we could swim her in our pool multiple times throughout the day.

We fell in love immediately.

She gained strength quickly. Too quickly. Before we knew it, she had been promised.

She is the one that got away.

Lily has an incredible mom and dad, and to be honest, a life more full of adventures than we could have provided. She could not be more loved and doted on. That is what we want for all of our foster babes.

Still, I keep her photo on my desktop. And when she came to visit this weekend, I was filled with joy and tears.

She is where she is supposed to be. And so am I. In the garden awaiting the next foster arrival.

10 comments

  1. Corie Turner & Poe

    So understand your love for Lily…those eyes. But, with true strength (that many could not match) you gave Lily the chance at another beautiful life. That is true love. Sending our love to you, Poe & family.

  2. Deborah Nicolle

    From 2008 thru 2011 I literally brought hundreds of Goldens to Homeward Bound from Southern California. A piece of my heart went with every dog I dropped off. But there was one golden that was my “the one that got away”. His name was Bertram. It was love at first sight. Had my circumstances been different I would have kept him in a heartbeat. I think of him so often and hope he found a wonderful family that adored him.

    • Leslie, we always need fosters. There are different opportunities from day outings to overnights and weekend stays so we can learn more about the dogs outside our environment. Short term foster for dogs recovering, puppies, or those just in need of some additional support to get ready for permanent homes. And long-term permanent foster where Homeward Bound provides the medical care for the dog for life so they can be home. You can read more here and submit an application if you are interested: https://homewardboundgoldens.org/foster.html Thanks for your interest!

  3. Jana Hook

    You are so wonderful for fostering the puppies! What a wonderful start they get from you, your husband and Jackson and Yogi!! You are special indeed Audrey.

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