My Little Man

He is my sugar-faced little man. It seems like just yesterday, he was my little boy.

Serious and uncomfortable with the camera,

it all melts away for Daddy.

Our Bella picked him out as a puppy and raised him right.

They were inseparable.

There has never been a human or animal he did not befriend.

In his grief at her passing, he chose a wild child named Yogi.

He does his best to keep our hooligan in line. No matter their size difference, Jackson always wins. Or Yogi always lets him.

He tolerates the foster puppies that Yogi welcomes with joy. And yet, they gravitate to him like a cranky old grandfather.

He is treated with deference.

He is cat-like. Independent. Solitary. Never a hugger. For years, he would find his own quiet spot in the house and always slept at the foot of the bed. Away.

Now, at 11, he is different. He wants to be near. I find him sleeping on the pillows by morning.
He welcomes kisses.
He insists on greeting everyone with a toy and dares you to chase him.
We always let him win.

His ridiculous gaping smiles…

have turned to hilarious toothless grins.

He snores. He imposes his will with relentless stares. And he is sweet beyond words.

He is my sugar-faced little man.

And I hope he is with us forever and ever.

Who’s Your (Foster) Daddy?

When Marshall first arrived, he was so frightened, he literally slid his body low to the ground under his kennel bed and hid.
In hindsight, we’re pretty sure it was a ploy. The dogs talk, you know. And word has been passed from yard to yard that there is an awesome Foster Daddy who lives next door to Homeward Bound. Getting picked to go with him for “rehabilitation” is like winning the dog lottery. Marshall was determined to be selected, so he made himself look as pathetic as possible. And Marshall can do pathetic pretty well!


It worked, of course. Once there – his true colors came out. Marshall treated humans just like puppies treat each other. He probably never learned any better (yeah…we’re going to go with that!).


Instead of gratitude, Marshall tried to turn his Foster Daddy into a chew toy with tugging, tackling, and flat out conquering.


“There’s not much to like about this guy,” black and blue Foster Daddy muttered in utter frustration. Foster Daddy is pretty darn patient – but this one was a true test.


Good news for Marshall…Foster Daddy does not give up. He exhausted his playbook of training methods: rewards and ignoring, yelps and silence, time together and time outs. It was probably not one single thing, but the cumulative effect of all that turned the tide. Or maybe Marshall finally came to the realization that no matter what he did, Foster Daddy was not ditching him. And then – he was a different dog.


“I’m going to miss that guy,” Foster Daddy wrote. Marshall had hit his second jackpot: a home. And not just any home…a home with one of Homeward Bound’s dog walkers.

_marshall-adopt_750_3938Photo Credit: Rob Kessel

Marshall take note: Foster Daddy and your new Daddy have traded notes. They are both wise to you! So be a good boy…and visit us often.


And don’t forget to say “thank you” to your Foster Daddy.


Note: Foster Daddy is kind of shy…so I haven’t mentioned his name. But if you look closely, you’ll find it. Just sayin’.

Update: Foster Daddy has outed himself. For his post about Marshall and a gallery of photos, visit here.

Emmie: A Gift from the Universe

“We cannot stop the winter or the summer from coming.


We cannot stop the spring or the fall


or make them other than they are.


They are gifts from the universe that we cannot refuse.


But we can choose what we will contribute to life when each arrives.” ~ Gary Zukav

To the person who left sweet, thirteen-year-old Emmie at the shelter, emaciated, sick, and alone – in the winter of her life that she could not stop from coming;


thank you for this gift from the universe that we could not – and would not, refuse.


She brings light to our lives,


and purpose to our days. Our contribution is surrounding her with love and kindness, for whatever time is left.

Regardless of the sadness we know is coming,


this is what we choose. It is your loss that you could not do the same.

Update: Sweet Emmie passed peacefully and gently, surrounded by our volunteers the week that I wrote this post. We knew her time would be measured in days, not weeks or months. In a very short time, she touched so many hearts, not the least of whom was the woman at the shelter who alerted us to her need. Upon Emmie’s passing she writes: “I cried tears of sadness and anger when I got the call from the former owner stating she was bringing her to the shelter I work at. I am now crying tears for her passing. I am eternally grateful to Homeward Bound and for being there to show her love…she deserved nothing but the best, yet her owner was tossing her away. I will never understand that. Big hugs of thankfulness to every person at Homeward Bound! You are an awesome group of people.”

Fly free, sweet Emmie. You are our gift to heaven, now.

Thanks to Rob Kessel, of, for the beautiful photos of Emmie.