Bruce’s New Addition


I was talking with a friend this week who is undergoing a major mid-life career change, one not totally her idea at first, I suspect, but one which suddenly has her feeling something she hasn’t felt for some time – excitement.


If we are not careful, age can make us jaded, dulling our senses as we adopt the “been there, done that” attitude toward everything we see or hear.


I’ve not been immune to it either. I used to stand by the mailbox, reading the latest Arts and Crafts auction catalog before even walking back to the house. I used to get excited about starting another remodeling project, heading out on another road trip, or spending the day in my workshop. Rest assured, I’m not tapping this out while sprawled on our couch, but it has dawned on me that I have to take responsibility for putting some fresh excitement into my life.


So, we got a new dog.



Leigh Ann and I have had dogs in our lives since the 1980s, but our two 14-year-old companions, Jasper and Daisy, both passed away this summer after long and happy lives. As you may well know, those are tough days. We agreed to take a break from chasing dog fur down the hallway with a broom and worrying about them when we were traveling, but that only lasted about three months.



Nicky is a mini-Aussie, short for a miniature Australian shepherd, which means he will hover around twenty pounds. He came to us already three years old, having had a brief, uninspiring career as a show dog before being placed up for adoption. As a result, he is well-behaved, quiet, and polite, something I’ve rarely experienced with my previous farm dogs, most of which enjoyed scaring the mail carrier, chasing bicyclists, and daring other dogs to set one paw onto our hay field.

But the new excitement Nicky has brought into our life is not all doggy treats and long walks along the creek. He spent most of his last year living on another farm with several other dogs who never bothered to learn the distinction between where it is appropriate to pee and where it is not. So, while we slowly assimilate Nicky into our schedules, we also are living with dropcloths on our couches and chairs, and all our rugs rolled up and pushed against the wall. To a small dog, a brown Morris chair leg doesn’t look all that much different from a brown tree.


But we are making progress.



And I am enjoying once again the companionship a dog offers, while slowly convincing Nicky that he can trust me. We are his third home, as a previous placement resulted in Nicky running away and spending five days alone and lost in the woods. He is teaching me patience, and reminding me that many of the things we want — and the relationships we cherish — come not in a dash, but in small, carefully-placed steps.


Until next week,


“Dogs are not our whole life, but they make our lives whole.” – Roger Caras


“If there are no dogs in heaven, then when I die I want to go where they went.” – Will Rogers