The last puppy is home! Garrett stayed with us for an extra week until his new mom came back from her vacation.

He was a joy to have. Smart. Funny. Playful. Sweet. A bit of a baby who gained some much-needed confidence with the big boys away from his littermates.

He has taken to his new family like water…forgetting all about us like yesterday’s news!

The thermometer topped out at 106 so the weeds were allowed to continue their march. Relative cool returns tomorrow and so will I to uproot the blasted Bermuda grass and free the sizzled garden.

Fifteen dogs are on their way to us, but the lull this week was lovely. After submitting my last work project on Friday, I started organizing old photo files. For the website, we look for a direct eye contact and a happy face. Looking into a dog’s eyes is where people first fall in love. But it is the outtakes that warm my heart and truly capture their personalities.

The brat…

The faker…

The “I thought I saw a kitty cat!”…

The joker…

The “I am safe” look…

And you name this one!

Somehow my teammates managed to get 11 dogs home this week before adopters passed out from the heat. All are special, but a few are especially so.

Casey lived such a sheltered life that he attached too strongly to his mom to the point of fearing all others—including her husband. The situation became impossible. His whole life was uprooted when he was surrendered to us. He gradually accepted a select few into his inner circle; their job was to expand his circle and help him learn how to adapt to new people and surroundings. His adopter has traveled two hours each way to visit him weekly and earn his trust. This week, our team will transport Casey to her so his transition to home is as smooth as possible.

Blackie is the other half of Blondie and Blackie.

These 10-year-old Shih Tzu mixes came to us through a volunteer when their human dad could no longer care for them. We thought they would be gone in a heartbeat, but two videos and one special appeal later, only Blondie had been adopted. They adapted surprisingly well as little dogs in a big dog rescue, but home is where they both belong. Another volunteer took Blackie home this week and will be flying him to his mother who has been searching high and low for a boy just like him.

Little Libby has a fan club. She was dumped in a field in Southern California mostly blind and deaf and covered in mats. She was picked up by animal control and taken to a high-kill shelter. Imagine the terror. She could not stop whimpering. A campaign was launched to secure her release and she was ultimately transported to us where she received good care and medical attention; still, she was inconsolable. Which made her the perfect candidate for our well-known dognapper who scooped her up and quickly became a foster-failure. Libby is now home.

Not a Golden Retriever in the mix and we couldn’t care less. All are deserving of a second chance and a place called home.

Joy Spread. Joy Returned.

“Don’t you just want to take them all home?” new volunteers ask in worry. The truth is, no. My two boys fill my heart and our home. And while we truly enjoy our occasional tiny foster guests, the quiet following the mayhem is blissful. That doesn’t mean that it is easy to say ‘goodbye.’ Adoption days at the rescue are often bittersweet. But our job is to be the bridge on the dogs’ journeys to their own forever homes. If we all filled ours to the brim, there would be no time or capacity to help others.

The hardest part of being a puppy mama is handing them off to their new families. The best part is staying connected and watching them grow up without having to deal with house training accidents, disappeared shoes, or destroyed gardens.

The Giants litter of Summer ’16 returns for reunions every six months –

now all towering over their lanky mom, Molly and dad, Harley who watches from the tennis ball sideline.

Timmy and Wyatt – my February fosters – returned this summer with their sister, Cici.

Journey’s mom stays in touch regularly to share how much my little tomboy is loved.

And now, my puppy worlds have collided – with Bonnie (formerly Latte) of Irish’s Litter

attending puppy class with Yves and Andre of the Doodle litter.

This prompted each to follow the Giant’s litter example and set up a Facebook group page to stay in contact with the families of the litter mates.

Reunions are sweet –

and raucous – with joyful greetings quickly turning into jousting displays of sibling love.

Some things never change.

Siblings seem to pick up right where they left off.

It is a joy to play a small role in a dog’s journey home. Even more so when we receive updates like this one from the couple who adopted Gage, written about here:

“Happy Thanksgiving HBGRR! Forever grateful for your love and kindness to your Fool’s Gold pups! Gage was rescued just before Christmas last year after he and Sadie were pulled by a good Sam from their life chained together. He just spent a week on the central coast watching sunsets (or birds) running the hills off leash and cuddling with his brother Toby! We adore this guy!”

Joy spread. Joy returned.