Spring Will Come: Red-y or Not

I am trying desperately to keep up with the advancing spring…in January! Crocuses, hyacinth, narcissus…even ceanothus and mid-season tulips are pressing up.

We only had two days of mild frost this “winter.” The roses were still blooming when we did our annual pruning.

There is no stopping the youthful march of spring now – either in the garden or in the dogs’ Senior Yard.

Affectionately referred to as Sugar Shack Acres, this is where dogs that are unable or unlikely to be adopted due to their extreme special needs live in their own little house and large shaded yard, surrounded by love. Since 2012, Red has reigned over this sanctuary section of our rescue.

At the age of seven, Red and his cohort of feral friends roaming a property in Oregon were rounded up by cowboys, put in a barn, and adopted out to an unprepared public. Turning a feral dog into a family dog is not for the faint of heart – especially a dog that has lived wild for seven years. Accounts are that most of the dogs found their way back to the wild. The woman who adopted Red quickly understood what she had gotten herself into and surrendered him to us where he would be safe.

It took a long time for Red to feel comfortable. There is still a part of him that is very much wild. If given the opportunity, he would still run. But now – at the age of 15 – he has found peace and contentment (and cookies!) in the company of like-minded dogs.

Like winter, they had settled into a gentle quiet. And then…

Over the past month, a series of boisterous youngsters sprang up like spring bulbs to disturb his tranquility. First, Brie – a one-year-old girl with an old lady problem (ectopic ureter).

Then, Laila – a ten-month-old hydrocephalus (water on the brain) girl. She is blind – but that doesn’t slow her down one bit.

And now CoCo – full of spunk and play, hanging out while she waits for her forever family to take her home.

They have recharged the visiting Ladybug….

and then exhausted her.

While Red and his fellow seniors, Violet,


and Tana must be wondering…who let the pups in!

It’s inevitable Red;

spring will come whether you are ready or not – so embrace it and enjoy!

At the Heart of Gardening…and Rescue

“At the heart of gardening there is a belief in the miraculous.” ~ Mirabel Osler

Who would have believed that an acre of weeds and thistle would turn into our memorial garden.

Or that seeds, bulbs, saplings and bare roots would grow into this.

Yes, it takes hard work, water and sun, and a fair amount of luck – but what unfolds is kind of miraculous.

Rescue requires its own belief in miracles. Here are a few of the tiny ones we have recently had the privilege to know.

Patsy was likely hit by a car and dragged. This little puppy arrived from a shelter with a broken leg and a body covered in bruises and scrapes.

She did her rehab like a quiet trooper in her little prison, giving no hint of the awesome Yoda personality inside.

As she recovered, it came shining through.

She was listed as available for less than 24 hours before a lucky family scooped her up and carried her away.

Miss Pickles puppy came to us with hydrocephalus – water on the brain.

Already nearly blind, the condition could result in full blindness down the road as well as seizures and behavioral issues. But don’t tell her or her mom that she is anything less than perfect,

because Miss Pickles – now Autumn – is perfect for her.

Tiny Johnnie was dropped off at a shelter and marked as stray. He was abandoned.

He has swimmer puppy syndrome. It is a developmental deformity showing up shortly after birth which causes the chest or thorax to flatten. Puppies with the syndrome have a hard time eating or drinking, and those that survive the first few weeks lack strength in their legs to push themselves up. Their legs – particularly their back legs – are splayed, moving side to side – thus the name swimmer syndrome.

Johnnie is lucky to have pretty good use of his front legs. Intensive physical therapy can reverse the impact to his back legs if begun early.

He has found a foster daddy who will work with him – including regular swims – to get those back ones into gear.

Sometimes, miracles are just good people with kind hearts. And we are blessed with good people who understand that…

“Where there is great love, there are always miracles.” ~ Willa Cather