The Seeds You Planted

Don’t judge each day by the harvest you reap but by the seeds that you plant.” ~ Robert Louis Stevenson

It has been a year since you left us. Your presence is felt as strongly today as it was then. Only now we can speak of you with a smile instead of tears.

Recently, friends and volunteers gathered to dedicate the chapel you coveted – built by your siblings – housing the ashes of dogs returned to Homeward Bound. Among them, Chelsea’s ashes – the Golden girl that inspired your vision for this very special place on earth.

We learned that you wanted the chapel placed by the pond you enjoyed in solitude as the sun set and you closed out your days of toil – physical and emotional. Your spirit is strong there. You would be so pleased with the result.

One of our guests lamented so many new faces, feeling out of place. Another noted that as a good thing. I agree. It means that we are strong and welcoming a new generation of people devoted to your vision of rescue, rehabilitation, home, and sanctuary. But we need old friends as well as new to provide perspective and context. The blood, sweat and tears that went into making this vision a reality should always be shared and remembered lest it be taken for granted.

One guest walked the property remembering the bare ground of 20 years past – recounting your vision: “Here we will house the dogs, here, a vet clinic; here, a swimming pool for rehabilitation; here, a pond; here, grassy yards to run and play; here, a place to gather and train; here, a place for puppies to grow strong; here – a memorial garden.” They strained to see it and remembered playing along – pretending to believe. And yet – here it is. All of it.

Time does not stand still, and neither have we. The dogs require it. It has not been easy, but you took care to plant good seeds. They have grown strong and taken root. Things are different. But you would be proud. We persevered. The dream lives on.

“The sap of another generation
fingering through a broken tree
to push fresh branches
towards a further light,
a different identity.” ~John Montague

In loving memory or Jody Jones.

Tree of Remembrance

Jody Jones is Homeward Bound’s president and our tireless leader; a woman with a passion for rescue. She and her husband, Mike, planted the seeds of Homeward Bound Golden Retriever Rescue & Sanctuary years ago. Over time, it has grown into something truly remarkable.


The Memorial Garden was her vision as well. With saving lives as the priority, the undertaking was frequently sidelined. For years, it remained mostly a dream. But Jody is a woman full of (stubborn) patience, optimism and determination. “Tomorrow’s another day; it will be better,” is a familiar refrain. After years of fits and starts, the right mix of gardeners finally came together three seasons ago to make it a reality. I think Jody simply willed it into being.


Her latest project developed in much the same way. It is for the garden.


Jody and her father created it together. Over-sized coils collected over the years;


a giant hole dug in the ground – waiting; a pole eventually planted in concrete; a plan clear only to the two of them.


Finally, this artful, rusted metal version of a weeping cherry tree sprouted from their labor.


The tree will don the most special leaves; the tags of thousands of dogs who have come through our doors on their way to their forever homes. Some wait for us over the Rainbow Bridge. Saved, remembered, and cherished here.


Of course, exactly how long the process of adding thousands of these “leaves” will take remains to be seen. But no matter. “Tomorrow’s another day.”

This beautiful piece of art is a gift from father to daughter and daughter to father – a remembrance of time shared together.


It is a gift for all of us as well. A lasting tribute to all the golden friends that we have known; and a reminder of why we do what we do.


Something Remarkable

Have you heard this worry expressed before: “I want to do something remarkable in my life?” I take it to mean, “I want my life to matter.”

Some, in history, are remembered for a single contribution – but to those closest to them, it is the sum of their life – the tiniest things, not the most celebrated, that are most meaningful and memorable.

The best gardens are not remembered for a single flower or seasonal display.


They are a collection of trees, shrubs and blossoms


– quiet corners and bold displays – evidence of contributions, large and small, made over many seasons.


“A tree is known by its fruit; a man by his deeds. A good deed is never lost; he who sows courtesy reaps friendship, and he who plants kindness gathers love.” – St. Basil

In pursuit of the “remarkable” – sometimes we overlook what is truly meaningful: a life changed by a simple gift of time and effort; friendship extended; compassion displayed.


“The purpose of life is not to be happy. It is to be useful, to be honorable, to be compassionate, to have it make some difference that you have lived and lived well.” ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

At Homeward Bound, I am surrounded by people doing remarkable things. Each seemingly small contribution adding up to so many lives saved, enhanced and transformed – human and canine. Happiness is found through our usefulness, the melding of our accomplishments – and the difference we make together.

“Enjoy the little things, for one day you may look back and realize they were the big things.” ~ Robert Brault