Getting Our Feet Under Us

Mother Nature has been taunting us. Sending daytime temps soaring, then blowing in a light freeze. To boot – a bone-dry, record-breaking February. Not a drop of rain.

As I undertake the annual editing of Asters, I’m glad that I moved summer-blooming perennials in the fall. Apparently, there is an old gardener saying that this helps them get their feet under them.

Someone else needed some help getting her feet under her. Her name is Babe. And she stole my heart.

Babe was destined for China’s dog meat market. Having been used to raise puppies for three years, she was loaded onto a truck with dozens of other dogs and shipped off. Brave activists literally stop these trucks on the highway in confrontations that can get ugly. While eating dogs is not illegal in China, the (barbaric) slaughter of animals without health certificates is. Still, officials look the other way and let these warriors of heart fight it out themselves. Thankfully, Babe’s rescuers were successful. She and many more were pulled from the truck and taken to a shelter where they were quarantined and tested, receiving required vaccinations and health certificates as they waited for a chance at a real life.

Dogs like Babe don’t get adopted in China. It is illegal to keep a dog her size in the city, and there is a bias against anything “used.”

She is a timid girl. Submissive and frightened in new environments. All of this was a lot for her. She arrived in early January with a group of dog and spent another two weeks in communal quarantine where I was one of her caregivers.

At the beginning, she had to be lifted out of her kennel to the yard. She is extremely thin, but her frame is large and heavy.

Over the course of the two weeks, she went from crawling and cowering to full-on play with the group.

When she left the safety of her quarantine for the kennels, it was a setback for her. So she was moved to the senior yard where she lived and thrived in the company of other dogs.

Babe reminds me of our Boris…another one from China.

We weren’t sure he would make it that first morning after his late night arrival. Finding the right home made all the difference. He came by for a photo shoot recently; the transformation is hard to believe.

This is what love will do.

Babe needed a home like Boris’. A loving, patient and quiet home – providing time and stability so she could get her feet under her and learn the ways of a loved family dog.

We found that for Babe recently. And the family says she is blossoming – just like Boris and the plants I moved last fall.

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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 “Getting Our Feet Under Us”

  1. It is a blessing to read a happy story on the internet, what with the COVID-19 dominating cyberspace these days. Entertaining and happy photos! Thank you

  2. It is a blessing to read a happy story on the internet, what with the COVID-19 dominating cyberspace these days. Entertaining and happy photos! Thank you

  3. Paul and I accompanied Boris to Kibbles and Bids last fall. We could see his beauty underneath those bones. It is so wonderful to see him now and to learn how well he is doing. I know the same thing will be true for Babe. Thank YOU for your beautiful photos and words and thanks to Homeward abound for doing what you do❤️🐾❤️

  4. Thank you so much for sharing these stories. We are also so thankful that HBGRR is helping Goldens from China. Wish we lived closer. Love and hugs to all from Poe and family.

  5. Oh! My! doG! She is a beauty!! Bless you all for taking her in, taking such good care of her and preparing for family life, and bless her new family!!!

  6. Another happy ending in this challenging time is always wonderful to read. Applause doesn’t seem enough to all the people involved in creating this happy ending. Love your posts and photos. You do a great service to many folks, both two and four legged. 🙂

  7. I thought you would like to know that Babe is thriving and enjoying life here in Petaluma as a pet dog. We have been working on walking off leash and she is doing great! She willingly approaches strangers and new dogs on our walks with the assumption that they are all friendly. She also knows “sit, stay” for her meals and waits until I snap my fingers. She knows “leave it” when picking up strange things on our walks. She greets me enthusiastically and with great excitement every morning. And her new name for her new life is Piper.

  8. I thought you would like to know that Piper (formerly Babe) has been able to pay it forward. We visited True Love Rescue and brought home an 11-month old golden retriever, Eartha (now named Phoebe,) that arrived from Taiwan on March 31, 2022. They love each other and Piper is teaching her how live as a loved pet dog.

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