Peace and Results in the Garden


Yes, Gunther. You still have to go to dog school today, even in the rain!


Yes, rain. California rain. Two weekends in a row! Come on El Niño!


Just as the garden was about to succumb to winter brown after a summer of scorching drought,


the rain has brought it back to life.


As one thing falls away – another comes to life.


Fall is a gardener’s busiest time of year, I think. Even more than spring. This weekend – before the rain – we enlisted the help of three hard-working youth volunteers to cover our well-worn paths with a fresh layer of bark and shreds. It has been three years since we last did this. And El Niño threatens a season of muddy walks. Take a look back to see how much the garden has changed.

This time, the load was only half the size – as the beds are twice theirs.


But everyone pitched in to get it done in record time.

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Their reward? Dogs. We lunched with Scrappy.


got bowled over by Bailey…


And witnessed just about the sweetest “going home” ever.

Holly is one of our Taiwan rescues. She came all this way to find a forever home – but no one seemed to understand her. That is, until two adorable and smart young girls came in and spoke to Holly in her native Mandarin! They have been studying the language at school and are already quite fluent. When they sang “Happy Birthday” to Holly in Mandarin it was as if someone unlocked her world. The deal was sealed and Holly found her home.

Holly Going Home_DSC_8056

Awesome youth volunteers. Paths dressed. Holly’s adoption. Rain. And more tiny frogs.


“There is peace in the garden. Peace and results.” ~ Ruth Stout

On a Wing and a Prayer


Small miracles surround us. Hummingbirds…


Baby Mourning Doves…


Honey bees…


and Love in a Mist (aptly named).


This collection of miracles flew in just a week ago on a wing (traveling from Taiwan – where it’s not so good to be a dog) and a prayer (of rescue and a forever home).


One – Mary – has already found her way there.


Abigail – another of the ten Reservoir Dogs rescued from a hoarding situation – has recovered from her ear surgery and also found her way home this weekend.


In a world that sometimes feels filled with bad news, these small miracles help to balance our corner of the universe.

Two seasons ago, all Maria had to do was plop a sunflower seed in the ground and it sprouted a stalk rising over our heads.


Last year was disappointing, and this year’s seeds and sprouts have either been swept away or served up to snails as appetizers (balancing out the snails’ universe, I guess). She is still putting her faith in another round of seedlings started at home; but she put her money on a few sunflowers from the nursery.


Sometimes, prayer just needs a little help.

“Grow flowers of gratitude in the soil of prayer.” ~ Terri Guillemets


Happy week, all.

The Language of Love

Judy, from Homeward Bound, shares that we had some honored visitors in the garden, recently. I’m going to piece together the story for you, borrowing many of her own, well-written words. How wonderful that the Homeward Bound Memorial Garden could serve as a backdrop to this amazing reunion.

On Friday, September 28th, Johanna Quinn came to Homeward Bound to visit dogs she had rescued in Taiwan and sent to the Homeward Bound sanctuary. Johanna (far right) is an American living in Taiwan, and she works with shelters there, and rescue groups in the U.S., to save these dogs’ lives and find them better futures.

As every gardener knows, flowers have a language of their own. Blooms express sentiments that, sometimes, cannot be spoken.

These pups have a language of their own as well. “They come to us with names we don’t recognize like A‐Tong and Momo, GinDian and San Li,” Judy writes. “Their paperwork is green and in Chinese. When we talk to them they look confused and don’t seem to understand us. But when we scratch their ears and tummies, and when their tails wag and they melt into our hands, these differences don’t matter – because we are speaking the same language; the language of love.”

In the past few years Homeward Bound has taken in over 30 dogs from Taiwan, traveling thousands of miles in search of a better life. Thanks to dedicated volunteers of the Taichung Universal Animal Protection Agency (TUAPA) and Asians for Humans, Animals & Nature (AHAN), Golden Retrievers – and countless other breeds, from Taiwan are getting a chance to live the doggie version of the American Dream.

Their medical expenses while in Taiwan, and all of their travel expenses are paid by the Taiwan rescue groups. Homeward Bound’s responsibility is getting a driver to the airport to meet the flight, and then finding the Goldens the best possible home. Many volunteers have made the trek to SFO to meet the flights, and witness the amazing arrival of Goldens coming through customs, along with other breeds that have been rescued by TUAPA and AHAN.

Only one of the rescues Johanna sent to Homeward Bound is left, and that’s Tom (below) known as ‘A-Tong’ in Taiwan.

When Johanna saw him for the first time she spoke to him in Chinese. “His ears perked up and he jumped on her with pure joy at the recognition of not only his rescuer, as she had spent a great deal of time with him, but of his language,” says Judy. “He clearly understood Chinese better than he did English!”

Judy writes: “I took Johanna on a tour of the facility and we started – where I always start now – in the Memorial Garden. As we were walking the garden, Jeff and Nancy Rogers, and a dog that Johanna had rescued, came to visit.

Ping-Ping came to us in 2009 and it appeared that she had been hit by a car, or otherwise injured, so that a portion of her mouth was missing. Although she had some surgery in Taiwan, Homeward Bound did additional structural and cosmetic surgery on her after she got here.

I worked on the adoption. The family – along with their two twin daughters about 13 years old – were looking to adopt a younger dog. We had very few young females available, and a lot of people didn’t want their children to meet Ping-Ping because of her deformity.

But these girls didn’t care at all, and they made it very clear that they wanted to adopt a dog that needed them. Ping-Ping was their girl. I don’t remember all of my adoptions, but I remember this one because the girls were so unique for 13 year old’s. Looks didn’t matter; it was about who needed them.”

Many of the dogs have been adopted by Homeward Bound volunteers, as well as others. Because Homeward Bound does not turn away a Golden in need, no local dogs are displaced by the arrival of the Taiwan dogs; all are welcomed here.

“We are grateful that TUAPA, AHAN and Homeward Bound all speak the same language. It’s the language of rescue; the language of love,” says Judy.

For more information about AHAN and TUAPA, please visit their websites: AHAN at:, and TUAPA at: