Follow Up Friday: Just Add Love

Taylor was the eighth dog of 2018. You may remember his arrival. At three years of age, this Golden Retriever weighed just 40.8 pounds. He was emaciated and scared, but he instantly clung to our people.

Within minutes a tiny grin appeared. That was his true heart shining through.

There was nothing medically wrong with Taylor. Why he was so thin is still a mystery to us. We know he was kept in a kennel during the day – which we understand was long. But the surrendering reason was that he had killed a chicken. Perhaps he was hungry.

The line on the surrender form says: What would be the ideal home for this dog? The answer: “Someone that will love him.” Maybe that was a clue to his past – or perhaps, just a genuine wish for his future. Either way, it was fulfilled in the form of one of our volunteers. Taylor had seen enough of a kennel, and it wouldn’t be the best place for an obviously nervous dog that desperately needed to gain weight. So he went home with Jessica as a foster. As if.

A month later, he has gained ten pounds and is well on his way to full health. All he needed was love.

Most importantly, that tiny hint of a grin has turned into a full-blown smile.

Taylor is now Roo – named for the adorable, bouncy, baby kangaroo featured in Winnie the Pooh.

He’s goofy and playful like a puppy instead of a three-year-old.

From the moment Jessica and Taylor met, he was destined to be a foster failure. Taylor has indeed found “someone that will love him” – forever.

“As soon as I saw you, I knew an adventure was going to happen.” – A.A. Milne, Winnie the Pooh

Late Summer’s Tiny Gems

After a blazing hot summer, the garden is in that in-between moment when the summer riot turns tiny and quiet until the fall steps forward in all its glory. You have to look closely in a sea of green for the garden’s little gems.

Hummingbird-loving Cuphea ignea.

Butterfly favorites Jupiter’s Beard,


and Butterfly Bush.

The purples and pinks of Pentas,



And Cosmos bespeckle the beds – their large drifts long gone.

Dainty Veronica tries to stand tall,

while bright Rudbeckia hides under the White Orchid tree to escape the hot sun.

Only the Dahlias and Sunflowers dare to be bold.

And if you look very, very closely – you might just find some other tiny little gems hidden in the garden.

But that is a story for another week. Stay tuned.

Mac-aroni’s Going Home Day

You don’t have to look at the garden to know that winter is giving way to spring. You can sense it.

You don’t have to envision the flowers and trees in bloom. You can smell them.

You don’t have to behold the sun to know that it is shining. You can experience its warmth.

You don’t have to observe the birds to know their delight in fresh worms and tiny buds. You can hear them.

And 10-year-old blind Mac-aroni does not need to see the love of his new mom on their going home day.

He can feel it.

Congratulations and happy life, sweet boy!

A Forever Friend

“A sister can be seen as someone who is both ourselves and very much not ourselves — a special kind of double.” ~ Toni Morrison


Our recently adopted Yogi and his sister Lotta (formerly Lottie who I wrote about here) were reunited last week for a play date. They had not seen each other since September. If there was any doubt that they would remember each other, it was quashed in an instant. As soon as they saw each other from beyond the fence, the happy crying began.


Let off leash in the yard – fast hello’s gave way to chase.


Yogi’s new brother, Jackson, was along for the ride and fit right in.


Doesn’t this look like the dog version of Twister?


Born of the same litter and raised separately, they were returned to the breeder within a few months of each other. Neither had received any real training. At about 15 months and 80 lbs. wild, they were much more together than the woman could handle. And we instantly saw why!


“Siblings are the people we practice on, the people who teach us about fairness and cooperation and kindness and caring — quite often the hard way.” ~ Pamela Dugdale


We wondered about the scratches and scabs on Yogi when he first came to us. Let me tell you – Lotta can give as good as she gets!


But it is all in good fun.


Lotta lives in Tahoe now with new siblings Beau and Milo. Her new mom takes Lotta for frequent hikes and swims at the lake to wear her energy down – if that is possible!


They send each other pictures via email – and we hope to visit Lotta in the not too distant future when the snow falls. Imagine the fun they will have!


Sibling love. From snarls and tackles –


to kisses and hugs.


A sister is a forever friend. ~ Author Unknown


See you soon, Lotta! XXOO, Yogi.

From Korea, To Love


Last week, our rescue, Homeward Bound Golden Retriever Rescue, received a call from the San Francisco SPCA asking if we could support a very special needs boy. Talgi was one of a group of 64 dogs rescued by the Humane Society International from a South Korean dog meat “farm” in February, 2016. There have been a series of these rescues. The Humane Society contracts with the farmer to shut them down and transition them to a more humane livelihood. Sadly, their work has only begun.

When we said we would happily accept Talgi and explained our facility, they asked if we could take another…and another…and another. We, of course, said ‘yes’ to all four.


I wrote this story for our rescue. Since many involved with our effort have seen it, I will simply provide a link to it below and invite you to read it. Nothing graphic is shared, but I will say that it makes me very proud to be able to play the tiniest role.


Those on the front lines are credited in the story. And there is a devoted team here at Homeward Bound responsible for helping them complete their journey.


Before you read, watch this video of Roger – the pup – and Tag, the one year old. When you view the first photos in the story, you will be amazed at how far he has come in just a few short days.

Here is the link to the full story: From Korea, To Love

And before I close, a special thank you to my friend, Alys at Gardening Nirvana for her lovely note…


And her generous gift for the pups of Homeward Bound through our Amazon Wish List!


Thank you, Alys! And thanks to all involved in this thing we call rescue.

Down the Rabbit Hole


I find myself in Wonderland. Down the rabbit hole we go,


where crazy people undertake a kennel remodel with dogs still in residence.


Shuffling dogs from one place to another to accomplish in one week what would take mere mortals at least four.


“I’m not crazy. My reality is just different from yours.” ~ Cheshire Cat

Simultaneously making good on a “Picnic in the Garden” auction item –


“It’s always tea time.” ~ The Mad Hatter


for five human guests and their five canine companions…and expecting everyone to get along?

Alice: “This is impossible.”
The Mad Hatter: “Only if you believe it is.”


Then, just for good measure – add in a Volunteer Appreciation Picnic for 100 and their dogs.


The Mad Hatter: “Have I gone mad?”
Alice: “I believe so. You’re entirely bonkers. But I’ll tell you a secret. The best people are.”


We all go a little mad sometimes.
The good news: one week of chaos, and it will all be done!


“Begin at the beginning… and go on till you come to the end: then stop.” ~Lewis Carroll, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland

Wish us luck!


Back to Reality


Back from an adventurous week on Kauai and returned to a whirlwind of work and house guests. Among them was my sister, Beth and her husband, Gordon. Their stay was brief, but good – with a request to see Homeward Bound and the Memorial Garden which they have known only virtually.


We made our way there Friday, where the garden is beginning to look a lot like summer…

Nasturtium_Butterfly Weed_DSC_9811

and the puppies put my sister through her paces. Yes, those are razor sharp puppy teeth hiding behind all that cuteness!


Sunday was puppy aptitude test day,


which apparently involves umbrellas (something we have little need for!) –










and naps! Puppy tests are exhausting!


These little monsters are spoken for, but we have three remaining from the litter that was left in a box and delivered to our door. They are adorable 100% mix-breed, nine-week old pups named after the Lion King characters. Mufasa:




And Rafiki.


Other guests included Allie, a rescue, who is about to be enrolled as a therapy dog for our local Lend A Heart organization…

Allie_Therapy Dog_750_7179

And Sedona, the Homeward Bound alum of Martha and Randy.


Needless to say, I got little work done – which is just my speed right now! I’ll be back to my old self soon (I think). I may even sneak in a few more pictures from Kauai if you’ll indulge me. Until then … mahalo. It’s good to be back in the garden.


New Additions


April showers bring … April flowers. In abundance.


The garden is in full bloom making my early morning arrival extra special.


“An early-morning walk is a blessing for the whole day.” ~ Henry David Thoreau


Last week: five long-term residents went home. This week: five arrived in one day. Plus three more for good measure throughout the week.


The universe seeks balance, I guess. No rest for the weary.

We have a new addition to the garden: a beautiful bird bath.

Bird Bath_DSC_8036

Maria made it for Jody, our president who, with her husband, imagined this whole Homeward Bound effort and works tirelessly to sustain it. It’s the perfect centerpiece for her special bed in the garden.


As beautiful as they are, the flowers in the garden have tough competition from the pups named for flowers. Iris…




Sweet William,

Sweet William_DSC_8068

and Stephanotis.


All spoken for – from a long list of families that have waited a long time for these rare arrivals.
Until their going home days…we’ll enjoy watching them bloom, as well.