Dog Days of Summer: 2019

I know I have been away too long when this takes up residence in the entry arbor.

After an easy pace to the first half of the year, it has been raining dogs, lately.

My co-volunteers carry the heavy lifting of feeding, cleaning, vet trips and walking while a couple of us make sure that photos are taken, their bios get to the website, and we get the word out. It truly takes an army.

Jared has been with us since February. He arrived via another rescue that was having difficulty understanding his needs or finding a willing foster. He stayed with our foster for a bit and then came into our program. He was malnourished, anxious and acting out. Today, he is a dog transformed. Jared’s reward came this weekend when a like-hearted man saw straight into his soul.

Lola was pulled from a Southern California shelter but when their foster homes were all booked up, they told her rescuer to return her.

Her rescuer saw that this dog was extraordinary and was not having it. She took Lola to her home already overflowing with foster dogs where Lola comforted her severely autistic son and the rescuer began reaching out across the state. She found us. She had Lola flown to us.

And Lola found a family where two broken hearts – one human and one canine – were mourning the loss of their canine companion. Lola’s rescuer is now a member of our family, too.

Little Wyatt was dumped in front of a shelter at the age of only five months. He was malnourished and had a horrible skin issue but this wiggly boy wormed his way into everyone’s heart. Meds, good food, and TLC restored his health and coat – so his new family could see in him what we saw all along.

If everyone who put in an application for Mabel took home a dog, our kennels would be empty.

This girl is terrified of thunder, gunshots, fireworks, and loud noises. She lived in Utah where she was experiencing one storm after another. Mabel was transported to the safety of our Sacramento Valley where thunderstorms are extremely rare. Her new home will ensure the peace and quiet this girl needs and deserves.

And my husband and I have been hosts to these adorable puppies since the 4th of July.

The product of a Golden Retriever mom and a Dobie daddy, they inherited his looks and her heart. All are now adopted; one will stay with us for another week.

Meanwhile, the garden has been on automatic pilot where spiders are free to weave their webs across our arbor, bermuda grass runs wild, and the hot colors of summer have replaced the blues, purples and pinks of spring.

Time races by.

Before I know it, the Asters will be in bloom and the cycle will begin again.

But for now – these are the dog days of summer.


There is a reason why gardeners are increasingly moving to native plants.
Unlike fancy hybrids, native plants are uniquely adapted to their landscape. Having developed over time, they are resilient and well-suited to the available soil, water, and sun or shade.

As a result, they thrive where others languish – providing valuable habitat to others.

Today’s designer dogs are much like plant hybrids. Mixed breeds combined in the hopes of a perfect mix of genetic traits. Bernedoodles are apparently the latest rage: a mix of Bernese Mountain Dog and Poodle.

Unfortunately, these designer dogs bred (and inbred) with limited gene pools by unscrupulous “breeders” run the risk not only losing the desirable traits of each breed but also inheriting health issues and undesirable traits from both sides. The result: Forrest.

Neurological damage. Inability to walk. One leg longer than the others. And seizures.

God may work in mysterious ways – but this is a man-made travesty.

Some would call it collateral damage. I call it a grave injustice.

If Forest’s heart could will his body to heal – it would be done.

This guy – with his tangle of legs and constant right turns – is bound and determined to get somewhere. We’re just not sure where.

It remains to be seen if we have a miracle for Forrest. But we will try.
For Forrest’s sake, help us spread the word. Let Mother Nature be.

She knows best.

Chocolate (Puppy) Love

When a new group of puppies arrived in December, I was the last to know. Seems I have been hogging the puppies of late. Can you blame me? This group has had the good fortune of having Puppy Mama Judy looking after them – and while they are not quite ready to go home, they are all spoken for. Thus, I am allowed to break “puppy silence.”

Mama dog, Lady Godiva, is a beautiful – and young – chocolate Lab.

A few days after giving birth, she was hit by a car. Don’t ask me why a new mama dog was allowed out in traffic; it is beyond me. She needed surgery to save her leg but her people said ‘no, let her go.’ That, of course, would mean the loss of the puppies, as well. They agreed to surrender her and them. A kind vet saved her leg and life – and with it, six more.

She asked for our help and we were delighted to be there.

Mama healed beautifully. Throughout, she nursed and cared for her young charges like a natural with plenty of assistance from Judy and her helpers. I’m not sure if it’s because they had the gift of so much extra time with their true mama, or because they were in the care of such an experienced Puppy Mama, but they are an especially sweet litter of puppies.

They are also big, fat, healthy adorable bundles of chocolate-themed love.

I was finally invited to take photos…as if that would be enough! We needed a full photo and video shoot for the luscious litter and their gorgeous mama, Lady Godiva. She has found her forever home; theirs will follow in a few more weeks. Viewer caution…adorableness ahead! (Note: if you receive this by email and are viewing on a phone, click on the post to view the video…technology!).

Chief’s Gratitude

We have been blessed and blessed and blessed.

And if April showers bring May flowers…we are in for quite a show.

Our five years of drought are officially over – and with the weekly rains, our gardening has been largely on hold;

called on account of cold, soggy ground.

Quick to forget, people naturally stopped counting our blessings and started whining, prompting one of my favorite nurseries to send out an email: “Don’t be a grumpy gardener!”

To complain about a planting delay after so long without water is to be ungrateful. The sunflowers will keep, or they’ll be started anew.

“He is a wise man who does not grieve for the things which he has not, but rejoices for those which he has.” ~ Epictetus

To complain about anything when I look at this face seems doubly silly and small.

We call him Chief, but he wasn’t always called that. He was probably called some pretty awful names – none of them repeatable here and best forgotten, anyway.

His journey to Homeward Bound was unexpected. Chief’s “people” took him for a drive out to the fields nearby, opened the door, and shoved him out. Then they closed the car door and sped away. Chief chased after them futilely – afraid of being left alone. A kind lady saw what happened and alerted the authorities. They suggested calling us as well as we were right down the road. It took three days for them and our president, Jody, to coax/trick Chief out of the field. Once gotten, she gladly welcomed him – saving him from the pound despite his obvious lack of Golden pedigree.

He was terrified and – naturally – untrusting. For a good period, Jody was the only one he would go out with. He sought refuge in his kennel and by her side. But gradually, he became curious about the kind people around him, and – bit by bit – started to let some of them into his heart.

Chief takes things slowly because he doesn’t want to be hurt – or left – again. But just wait until you get to know him! He really is just a puppy at heart.

And most of all, this half Great Dane, half Lab is resilient and full of gratitude and love that wants to be given in return for the smallest kindness.

“Gratitude is the fairest blossom which springs from the soul.” ~ Henry Ward Beecher

Gratitude is not relative, and it is not soon forgotten. It lives in the heart and is always available. If Chief can move forward from his past and wait patiently for his future, we can wait for the rain to pass.

With grateful hearts and hopes for sunnier days – for our little sunflowers – and for Chief.