Our volunteer gardening army has grown to more than 20. The progress at Homeward Bound’s Memorial Garden reflects it. Visiting last weekend, I was amazed at how much has been accomplished in the middle of winter. While we desperately need some rain soon in our Sacramento Valley, the dry December provided an opportunity to get the gardens and paths caught up for the winter and ready for spring planting.
Most impressive is the progress made on the entry path and arbor. Now laid, bordered and ready for the memorial stones ready to be placed. The messages tell of the amazing bonds between families and their golden friends. You lose one, and you don’t think your heart will ever heal. And then one day, something furry saddles up beside you, a paw is offered, and soulful eyes pierce you. When you’re ready, the amazing placement team at Homeward Bound is ready for you.
I even see tonight on HB’s website that sweet Jack, who I met a couple of weeks ago, is ready for adoption. I hope he finds the right family soon.
This is the fun part! Sorting through plant lists; organizing by size, color, season and shape. All spread out on the table like a patchwork quilt to bring some order to the chaos. Hours and hours of rearranging to produce a “natural” look for our perennial Homeward Bound Memorial garden bed.
Irrigation allowing, we’re going for rich, intense colors inspired by my garden buddies love for Dahlias. We’ll take a few liberties with perennial bulbs to have a garden blooming from early spring until very late fall.
My husband donated his truck and his back to help me cover the garden bed at Homeward Bound with redwood bark, tucking it in for the winter months. This will keep the weeds at bay while my garden buddy, Deb and I work out the plan for spring planting.
The progress is amazing in the Memorial Garden, which is actually looking now like a garden, instead of overgrown weeds and tangles of hoses. Give passionate people a project and they’ll make you proud. Nothing, however, compares to the passion of the volunteers who work with the dogs waiting for adoption each week.
Today I met Bones. Aptly named at this point, but that is changing. He is as gentle and sweet as can be, but completely deaf – the result of untreated infections in his ears. He is in better hands now, and ready for someone to fall in love with him. Also met a family meeting their potential four-legged addition for the first time. Pictures were flying to Dad who could not be there. Rose, may be more than just ‘golden’, but she is a total sweetie in need of an active family that will devote some love and attention to her training. I hope she found her home today.
Just as patience leads to progress in the garden, the same is true of the rescued dogs who find their way to Homeward Bound in search of permanent homes. Today I met Delores, a volunteer working with a beautiful, lab/retriever mix, Jack. He desperately needs to put on weight, and while he is very human friendly, he is learning how to be comfortable with other dogs. Amazingly, she devotes five days a week to his recovery, both physical and emotional. She brings him special meals to supplement his diet, proudly noting his weight gain. And she walks him in, out and through the huge compound running pens, providing an opportunity for gradual exposure to other dogs. Patience, and progress. For our garden, and for Jack.
I have volunteered to help rescue the Memorial Gardens of Homeward Bound Golden Retriever Rescue and Sanctuary in Elverta, CA. Through this work, our volunteer army hopes to support the rescue of more beautiful golden retrievers. Gardens are like paintings; a blank canvas and clutter of colors taking shape in imagination of the artist. These gardens require a great deal of imagination right now. But from this pile of weeds, my garden buddy and I we hope to make magic for the goldens of Homeward Bound.