The year has certainly flown by. I suspect publishing a quarterly magazine makes the year go by even faster, with deadlines looming, people eagerly awaiting their subscription, and advertisers to satisfy. It’s a pressure that’s exhilarating, and one that I wouldn’t give up for the world. A long time publisher and a mentor to me, Aaron Fodiman, recently celebrated Tampa Bay Magazine’s 25th anniversary. He told me, “I sat back and realized, that’s around 150 magazines we’ve published, which means that’s around 150 deadlines we thought we’d never live through.” Amen, Aaron. And congratulations to you, Margaret and staff on a job well done. Here’s to another 150 deadlines.
The dogs in our home also seem to be reminding us how quickly time moves along year after year. Is it possible that more than six years have gone by since The New Barker dog magazine was just an idea? The years have grayed Rita the MinPin’s muzzle. We notice flecks of gray on Dougie’s coat. Chloe remains our perpetual puppy, never seeming to age even though she is around 12. In fact, she seems to have become livelier lately as she and Dougie, our Scottie, spar and play together. A special thanks to Dunedin Dog Rescue for finding Dougie, an unplanned adoption for this household, but a wonderful addition, nonetheless.
The biggest reminder of time adding years to our lives is my Zoe, my shadow, my one special lifetime dog. I remember bringing her home almost 14 years ago. She was so small, so soft and oh, so sweet. She is still all that, and more to us. Her presence brought a spring in the step of our old Golden Retriever, Elmo all those years ago. He hung on another four years and we credit Zoe for that.
Now, Zoe is the old dog in our home. She moves slower, is hard of hearing and has trouble with her vision. Other than that, she is in good health. She loves to eat (she’s not fat, she’s fluffy, you know), and enjoys being around people and other dogs. She’s always been very sociable. Lately though, I’ve noticed, as she sleeps in her bed under my desk, how she doesn’t stir when things are going on around her. While the other dogs are vocal about going outside or wanting to eat, there is Zoe, still sound asleep with hardly any movement and no sound emanating from her. Sometimes, I walk up softly to lean over her, just to make sure she’s still breathing. A couple of times I’ve had to put my hand on her body or my ear close to her mouth just to make sure. My heart skips a beat at those moments.
Zoe always has to be by my side. If she wakes up and I’m not in the room, she’ll come looking for me, using her strong sense of smell, nose to the ground, to search me out. As soon as she spots me, I swear her eyes light up, she opens her mouth as if she’s smiling, and she comes running towards me. I love to hear the patter of her paws on the floor running after me to keep up.
We will always have more than one dog in our home. The transition of bringing a new dog in to learn from the other dogs is such a wonderful experience. You don’t realize it’s happening. One day, you notice how the dynamics have suddenly changed and everyone is living in harmony. Of course, it wasn’t all of a sudden. Dogs, who are said to love us unconditionally, come in and out of our lives in what seems to be a short life span, compared to our own lives. It’s been said the reason is, they’re trying to teach us to get it right. That is, to finally love unconditionally, to stop and smell the breeze, to enjoy the moment.