Dog Kidnaps Heart


Benson is an adorable Golden who arrived with a hot-mess list of ailments that would turn anyone upside down!


The poor boy had both hookworms and Clostridium (a bacterial infection) which led to puddles of diarrhea. He also tested positive for heartworm. Triage was in order.

We dealt with the hookworms and Clostridium first (because no one is a fan of cleaning up runny poo!). Then, we needed to put some weight on him before beginning the heartworm treatment. While all of this was going on, Benson earned the coveted office dog spot where he could be closely monitored.

Regular readers are familiar with the office dognapper – aka, my gardener buddy, Anna.


Soon, I began noticing that my gardener was disappearing, and my camera was loaded each week with images of Anna and Benson.


So it was no surprise that Anna showed up on Sunday with her Jenni and Royce (16!) for a meet-and-greet.


With a thumbs up, the red-heads headed home together – where Benson has found a comfy and quiet spot to rest while he finishes his heartworm treatment.


It seems this wormy boy has wormed his permanent way into our dognapper’s heart.


Lucky Boy!


Of Diamonds and Pebbles

“The butterfly counts not months but moments, and has time enough.” ~ Rabindranath Tagore


For anyone who has every passed up a dog of eight or nine, or even ten years of age out of concern that their days or years are numbered, I’d like you to meet Hunter…age 16!


He’s one of a boatload of dogs who recently arrived – and despite the snowy face and slower gait, he’s got a lot of life and love to give.


For anyone who thought that dogs needed to see to deliver love and companionship, I’d like you to meet Bilos.


Born without developed eyes, he’s never known any life but a sightless one, and it doesn’t stop his rush to greet you with big sloppy kisses.

And for anyone who has ever passed up a dog for an imperfection that seemed like too great an investment…please meet Weezer.


He has esophageal paralysis – which simply means that he will need to eat his food as slurry for the rest of his life. He’ll be going home too…to people who understand that the effort bestowed will be returned tenfold in joy.

Sometimes, guarding your heart from hurt, or holding out for everything, simply leaves you with nothing.

Every garden has some weeds.


Every living creature has imperfections.


All of these little flaws only make the best parts shine brighter.


“Better a diamond with a flaw than a pebble without.” ~ Confucius

And P.S…two other “Going Homes” you missed…Nala and Lizzie.


Life is good.

Who Let The Dogs Out?


Who let the dogs out? Well, actually, I let some of them out, interrupting gardening chores today to help get the dogs out while most everyone was at the Reunion Picnic. Once a year, Homeward Bound takes over a local park where dogs from the “Class of 2000” on come together. It’s a great opportunity to see the results of our work in the happy faces of the adopted dogs and their humans. Here’s one group courtesy of my friend, Rob Kessel:


But what I was really referring to is how empty our “dorms” are after so many going-home celebrations last week. At least George will be on our list this week. Happy life, George!

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But don’t feel sad for those of us left behind today. It was blissfully quiet, with plenty of friends to keep us company.


The bunnies are surprisingly patient posers…


And the birds are nesting everywhere.

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They are so resourceful, hiding their nests in grape vines, shrubs and under chairs (leave it to the Killdeer!). But this one pretty much takes the cake.

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Speaking of bunnies…yes, indeed…they were the culprits. The dahlia replacements protected by chicken wire are alive and thriving.

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We have delicious apricots on the tree…


apples and grapes in our future…


just don’t ask about the lawn. We’re sacrificing it in favor of the beds this year with even more limitations on water.


By August, we’ll be brown, but today – the kennels are nearly empty, the garden is lovely, and all is well.

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“Rejoice in the things that are present; all else is beyond thee.” ~ Montaigne

Because They Need Us


It has been a hard week. To lose not one – but two – of our long-time rescue residents and the companion of a devoted volunteer as well.

Balou was a special boy who never got over the loss of his human.


He was profoundly sad, with trust and mental health issues.


He was beautiful, deep and unpredictable, and so we knew he would be staying with us. He felt safe here.


Reacher was adorable and adored.

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Imagine a gigantic bunny stuffed in Golden Retriever costume, rolled over, belly up, with paws flopping every which way just waiting for his rub.


He went home and came back twice due to his severe separation anxiety. We couldn’t believe no one could see past his issues to his wonderful self. But we were very happy to care for him as long as he needed to stay with us.


His stay was both too long and too short. Cancer took them both.

That dreaded c-word seems to dog us lately, afflicting too many of the fur kids from our extended Homeward Bound family. Too much at once.

“There is sorrow enough in the natural way
From men and women to fill our day;
But when we are certain of sorrow in store
Why do we always arrange for more?
Brothers and sisters I bid you beware
Of giving your heart to a dog to tear.”
~ Rudyard Kipling

Are those tears falling from the sky?


No. Rain. A sudden, soaking, blessed California rain providing a cool, revitalizing drink for our thirsty plants, trees and souls.

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A reminder that there are still unexpected joys in even the most difficult times.


This weekend, there were quiet chats, remembrances, and hugs – but most importantly – there were people.


Amazing people who show up despite broken hearts to walk and feed


snuggle and train –


and teach dogs how to get up on the furniture –


because they depend on us.


For as long as they need us – we are here.


Sometimes joined together by sorrow – more often, joy.


Honoring those we have lost by treasuring each day with those who need our care – at Homeward Bound.


Reacher photos courtesy of Rob Kessel

The Comfort We Bring


“In almost every garden, the land is made better and so is the gardener.” ~ Robert Rodale


We created and keep the Memorial Garden as a gift to the dogs we love and have loved – and for those who dedicate so much to our rescue effort.

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Three chance encounters this week reminded me that the work we do at Homeward Bound not only makes life better for the dogs, but provides important comfort to humans as well.


A woman messaged us asking the status of the dog she had surrendered. It was clear that she had loved him, but for whatever reason, she could not provide a home right now. I was only able to let her know that he was adopted quickly to a good family. And while I reassured her that he would be well-loved, I reminded her that we could not share details to protect the privacy of the adopters. She did not need details. Just peace of mind … with gratitude.

A couple visited this weekend. They wanted to ensure that if something happened to them, their beloved Golden would be cared for. This is important planning that people often overlook. They were delighted with the rescue and were comforted knowing that their fur-child will be safe with us if that time ever comes. They left relieved.

Finally, a glimpse of one of our former adopters who recently lost her sweet boy to cancer. She was sitting quietly with our president in the puppy hut with the golden puppies I showed you last week. One dog never replaces another, but puppies have a special way of melting pain and healing hearts. She has to travel quite a way to visit with us, but here she is in the company of people who truly understand her loss.

“Shared joy is a double joy; shared sorrow is half a sorrow” ~ Swedish Proverb

The garden is our gift.

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The dogs are our shared passion.

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And we’re reminded that the human lives we touch make us better, too.


“Remember, we all stumble, every one of us. That’s why it’s a comfort to go hand in hand.” ~ Emily Kimbrough

Wherever Faith Finds Us

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I find my faith in nature…


the skies, woods, meadows and garden are my cathedral.

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I place my faith in something that has no name. All I know is that it greater than all of us.


I try to live my life by one rule: treat others as you hope to be treated.

“Make yourself necessary to somebody. Do not make life hard to any.” ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson


Spring is a time of rebirth, celebration and remembrance for people of many faiths.


Regardless of which faith guides you, my hope for all during this special time is to find beauty,








and awe…


that the world might be a better place for all.