Today, I went to a picnic at Homeward Bound that was put on by the two founders for their volunteers. It's two hours out of the entire year that the volunteers come together to thank each other for their help. It's two hours that the founders get to thank so many volunteers at once. Some of the volunteers are close friends, having been with Homeward Bound for several years. You hear them talking "shop" while eating. You see a dozen or more dogs that were once homeless and scared, now playing fetch or wading in the doggie pools, or even catching some shade under a table (and hopefully a piece of yummy Tri-Tip).
Until you go to a picnic, it's hard to understand just how many people give their time to such an organization. Being the only Golden Retriever rescue in the state of California, Homeward Bound gets dogs from literally all over. There are people who "taxi" dogs from one end of the state to the other, in a sort of relay. Every dog is seen by a veterinarian who donates her time and makes it possible for Homeward Bound to take in, quite literally, any Golden in any condition or of any age. There are the dog walkers. There's the dog groomer who donates her time. There are those that assist in facility maintenance. There are those that clean the kennels and feed the dogs (like me). There are those that help place dogs in homes, help possible adopters find the right dog for their families.
I go there one day a week. I see, maybe three or four other volunteers on that day. I'm a small fish in a very big pond, and until this picnic comes along once a year, it's hard to imagine how many others are out there. It's also hard to imagine how many dogs you've helped save, even when giving a few hours, one day a week.
Last year, Homeward Bound took in nearly 900 dogs. Partly due to the housing crisis. Partly due to horrific back yard breeders. Either way, that's a lot of dogs that were once homeless.
The dogs that people brought today were once part of that. Instead of being fearful and hungry, they are now thriving, happy Goldens who know no fear. It's an honor to help Homeward Bound find these adorable creatures new lives and new homes. And I am only one of hundreds of strangers who give their time. For one cause: