Puppy Reunion

Who says that we don’t get paid at an all-volunteer rescue? Remember my subjects from Puppy Truths?

Cici was adopted right away,

but you might recall that two of them, Timmy and Wyatt, came home with us for a bit last winter when we thought the rains and flooding would never quit.

My Yogi was happy to keep the little monsters company.

It’s still unclear who the bigger puppy was!

Recently, all three returned to Homeward Bound for a reunion.

It’s one of the bonuses for our unpaid work: welcoming back our charges to see what kind of canine citizens they have become.

And look how they have grown!

At almost 10 months now, they are still full of spit and vinegar…

still adorable…

and when you yell “Puppy, puppy, puppy!” they still come running!

Cici is Angel now, and Wyatt is Elvis (it suits him!). But Timmy is still Timmy – through and through.

They were surrendered to us because each had low-level heart murmurs – small enough not to change their quality of life or longevity – but just enough that three lucky families got to call them their own.

Lucky people.
Lucky puppies.
Lucky me for the chance to spend time with them.

“You make a living by what you get, but you make a life by what you give.” ~ Author Unknown

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.

A Poppy Blooms


Iceland poppies are a cool season favorite – but they are not the only poppies blooming in our garden.


Poppy is a tiny seven-month-old Golden girl. She was the timid but loved dog of a young man who went off to college. Unfortunately, she spent most of her most impressionable first year puppy months outdoors with her two canine siblings. With him gone, and his mother coping with the remaining house full of kids, Poppy had little human time. The mother decided that placing them up for adoption would be in the best long-term interest of the dogs. She turned to Homeward Bound. When Poppy lost her human, and then her two siblings were adopted, Poppy’s fragile world collapsed – and with it, what remained of her confidence.


Terrified of her new surroundings, and separated from her pack, she worried away her calories and hid from humans.


To help win her trust, we gave her frequent play time with other dogs. She was included in our weekly puppy class and even had a play date with my Yogi and Jackson. Jody, our president, thought that Yogi could bring Poppy out of her shell. Instead, he was instantly smitten and chased her all over the yard with dishonorable intentions!


Not to worry; Poppy can hold her own.


And while they arranged a truce, Yogi’s keen interest was clearly not reciprocated.


Thankfully, a newcomer – Max – was a perfect companion. We shamelessly used him as bait to get her to go on walks and interact. The progress was slow.

For several weeks, a woman and her beautiful Bernese Mountain Dog, Trinity, had been visiting in hopes of adopting. Some people come wanting to find a perfect dog. She, on the other hand, wanted a perfect project; someone who needed her as much as she needed them.

I watched as she tried to coax Poppy out on a walk. When Poppy hugged the ground, the woman just sat and waited.


I don’t know what she was whispering, but ten minutes later, Poppy was in her lap. The tail was still tucked – but there is no denying the smile on that face.


With Trinity providing reassurance that that a canine friend was nearby,


Poppy was up and walking. And then, the walk turned into a ride. A ride home.


We can’t wait to see the transformation that is sure to follow. I’m betting that by the time the Iceland Poppies are fading – a brand new Poppy will have bloomed.


The Boys: Together Forever

Max Felix_DSC_9875

I absolutely love these boys. But then, so do all of the volunteers at Homeward Bound.


They are the quintessential Goldens – loveable, huggable, and Velcro.

I wrote about Max and Felix a couple of weeks ago. Their humans tragically perished together. It’s hard enough for us to suffer the loss of our dog companions. Imagine how confused and lost ten-year-old dogs feel to lose their humans.

Rumor had it that there was an adopter on the horizon. When that fell through, I forced my husband to bring our Jackson out to see if they might be a foster match (not so secretly hoping we would be foster failures). Jackson has been sorely missing his canine sister, Bella. At the very least, I hoped we could provide Max and Felix with a place to wait in comfort, while providing some companionship for Jackson.


Our boy gets along with everyone, so it was not surprising that there were no issues. But there were no sparks, either. No connection. If anything, Jackson was a little nervous around Max while hanging a little closer by Felix. Not quite willing to give it up, I reintroduced them and supplied photo proof that they could at least eventually settle down together.


My husband relented and agreed to foster them, but the concession came too late. Or maybe not. Had they been home with us, they would not have been seen by a young couple who came in that same morning looking for a dog. No particular dog. No particular gender. Young or old. Golden or mix. It didn’t matter. Just a good dog. They found not one – but two. Once they laid eyes on Max and Felix, it was a done deal.


And I wasn’t even around to get the photo! With thanks to my friend and fellow blogger, Rob of “Rob & Dog”, I present Max and Felix’s going home photos!



What good people to open their hearts and home to two very bonded brothers whose lives had been turned upside down.

My husband was probably correct in believing that Max and Felix would not be Jackson’s forever dogs. We know what a true connection looks like for him when we see it. It begins with a play bow and doesn’t end until both are exhausted.

We’ll find it. Eventually.

As for Max and Felix – tragedy brought them to us. But we send them home – together and forever – as promised, with all our love.

Max Felix_DSC_9869

Happy (long) lives, boys. We are all going to miss you.

Do The Waggle Dance


Honey bees are social insects. They live communally and depend on each other for their very existence. Everyone has a role, and when these tiny toilers pull together, amazing things get done. An entire colony is built and fed; the young are cared for; everyone has a home.


To succeed, they need to communicate. They share vital information about food sources by performing a dance when they return to the hive. The “waggle dance” indicates that food is far away, while a “round dance” signals a shorter flight and quick payoff. The more vigorous the dance, the better the food – which means success for everyone.


Rescue works like this. It’s generally not mugshots or desperate pleas posted to websites or social media that gets displaced animals to new homes. It is the communication between people and our communal network. Of course, the photos and stories are important. Great photos create that first connection. And since dogs can’t write, we have to tell their stories for them. But the exchange of information – one person reaching out to another – is how we build a strong network (our hive) and truly connect people to animals in need.

Case in point: Lilly & Lucy’s story was shared hundreds of times across social media. But it was a long-time volunteer who knew that a neighbor had been looking for a bonded pair of dogs that may have made the difference for our two Pakistani girls. This weekend, the family drove hours through thick traffic and scorching heat to meet the dogs. We are very hopeful that it is a match.


Faith and Hope’s story was also viewed extensively. But it was a connection made between friends that may spell hope for Faith. One friend knew that the other had recently lost her dog at age 18 and was looking for a pup that could fit comfortably into her menagerie. We’ll know this week when they meet.


Our paws are crossed for all three because someone made the very human connection.

Everyone can play a role in rescue – but posting sad pictures of animals in distant shelters to a rescue’s social media channels doesn’t get it done. It is in doing the dance and making very personal connections right where you live.

You don’t need to travel too far from the hive. If you can’t volunteer your physical self, familiarize yourself with a local rescue or shelter’s animals and process. Then, become the crazy dog/cat/whatever person that everyone knows at work, church, or in your neighborhood. Talk to people about responsible breeders, training, spay and neuter. Learn about their animals, companionship needs, and when their heart and home might be ready for another. And then connect the dots. Do the waggle dance. Spread the word. Extend the community. Communicate.

That is how rescue works. One person – and one animal at a time.

Bee_White Rose_DSC_8319

New Dog On The Block

From time to time, you have seen me include photos of our rescue’s dog photographer, Rob, in my posts.
This must be how he got so good.


His photos are pretty extraordinary (I’ve stolen some…below). So is his way with dogs.


A while back, he began fostering some of our toughest cases; dogs that would be considered unadoptable without considerable rehab.


Others just needed a quiet place to recoup before they could be released.


In his care, they made amazing progress…


and they have found their way home.


After much prompting pushing, he made the leap into the blogosphere with us – to share his photos and his stories of his time with rescued dogs.
I hope you’ll take a peak. You’ll find him here. Welcome to the neighborhood, Rob!