When Worlds Collide

by Tina K. VaLant

So, I was toughing it out at my first back-to-the-real-world of work, two weeks covering an international junior golf tournament at Trump National Doral.

Tina, toughing it out at Trump National Doral with her favorite reading material.

I have served as the official photographer for The Optimist Junior Golf tournament for over ten years. It was cancelled last year, so I was really HAPPY to be back, in the swing of things (pun intended).

Delighted to be at this beautiful resort, I always enjoy being outside covering golf, capturing the game, players, families and volunteers. But, I was really missing my (five rescued) dogs. Only one dog was at grandma’s (my mom). Everyone else was home with their dad (the hubs). As I was heading back up to my suite, to upload pics of the day’s golfers, the elevator opened, and out walked this large, happy reddish dog –– right into me. He had to have known I was missing my pack.

Dooku is an eight-month-old Rhodesian ridgeback, and the “third son” of the Van Winden family of Houston, Texas. I chatted with René, the dad for a few moments, commenting on his dog’s handsomeness and great personality. He was named for a character in Star Wars. The next day, I see my canine friend again, but this time with his lovely mom, Rebecca. It turns out their oldest son, Bo is in the tournament. Talk about serendipity. When worlds collide.

While Bo braved the Blue Monster course, with dad and brother Wade cheering him on, Rebecca and Dooku went on a little road trip. They traveled two hours north to West Palm Beach, to the Jupiter-Tequesta Dog Club’s Show. It was their first show, and they came back with ribbons: Best of Breed, Owner-Handled and Best of Winners.

You meet the nicest people through dogs. Of course, they went home with their own copy of The New Barker. ###

About the author: Before she became an international expert on all things butterfly, Tina was rescuing dogs, and anything else that needed help. She has been a contributor to The New Barker for 13 years, as a photographer and rover reporter, traveling the state to cover all things dog. Tina is shown here with Piper, one of the many dogs she has met along the way.