Moderator: On this magic day, the Winter Solstice, I sat down with some expert dogs (as opposed to dog experts) to talk about the last couple of years. Here are my questions and their insightful answers.
Moderator: Can I first ask you to tell us a bit about yourself?
Bailey: I am a Plott hound mix with a gorgeous brindle coat. As a young pup I was hit by a car. My back left foot got mangled, and I was no longer able to be a hunting dog. This was an excellent twist of fate for me as I adore my new family whom I rescued in early 2021. They let me run to my heart’s content and don’t mind that my favorite activity is licking their ears. I come to work at Green Hope with Vicki.
Bella: I am the ancient and wise one in the Green Hope office, and the others respect me as such. I was a super hero in my youth. Once in a while I surprise myself and everyone else by turning on the jets as I used to do. I come to work with Jen. I chose this photo as I may have lost a toe or two in my adventurous life, but I haven’t lost my sense of humor.
Sheba: My life is quite complex as I manage the comings and goings of the two families who live on the farm property, the UPS man and an office of staff goddesses of the human and canine kind. I am the only one who doesn’t like Bailey licking my ears, but I always have time for a belly rub. I chose this action shot of me welcoming Bella to work with some fresh office gossip. My rescue papers say I am a miniature poodle. I am NOT a poodle, thank you very much. My terrier and chihuahua genes shine through in my chatty behavior, but I have other hidden depths in my lineage. For example, I run like a squirrel, AND I run with the squirrels. You can draw your own conclusions from there.
Huck: I was a guest lecturer in residence at Green Hope Farm for a number of weeks this year when my people had a new baby and asked me if I wouldn’t mind staying at Green Hope while they got adjusted. I didn’t mind at all. I love tearing through the hayfields here, and Molly has kindly given me my own bespoke garden to dig. In addition, Sheba and I are old friends and we don’t mind crowding people on one bed or another. I will be texting my comments today as I am back with my people in Massachusetts. The new baby is lovely, thank you very much. I chose this photo because it shows how handsome I am. Dogs as well as people stop me on the streets to remark on this. My rescue papers may say mutt, but a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.
Moderator: Your people may sometimes refer to this time as “the pandemic” or “lockdown” or “a difficult time” or other mysterious terms. How has it been for you?
Bailey: Wow! Absolutely the best of times. Lots of teenage boys to rumble with and Vicki to always take me on bike rides so I can run like the wind. What’s not to love?
Bella: The last two years have been fantastic. I spend all my time with Jen, and she is better than any lady’s maid on Downton Abbey. Attentive to my every wish.
Sheba: I am one lucky dog. My people always worked at home, so I always got a lot of TLC. However, for some reason they are even more mellow and seem to have a lot more time for long belly rubs.
Huck: I love my new life. My people used to have to work someplace called the city, but now they are home all the time. Nothing beats this for entertainment value. There is always something going on and someone to let me in and out when nature calls. At night, they may be a family of four, but I still take up half the bed. Bliss.
Moderator: How has the food been?
Huck: One of my people is a toddler and the other a baby. This means the food that falls to the floor is spectacular and abundant. I am in hog heaven on a daily even hourly basis.
Bailey: Have you ever lived with two teenage boys? They open the refrigerator every few minutes and inhale the contents. Much to my delight, they always include me in their impromptu feasts. Things could not be better.
Sheba: I particularly savor the many outdoor picnics the people here have. There is nothing like a picnic for spilled food. When the toddlers visit, the spillage is epic, but even the big ones drop copious amounts of food.
Bella: My maid, Jen, provides me with delicate snacks whenever I desire them. She treats me as the Queen I am.
Moderator: What did you think of the masks your people wear?
Huck: I don’t often chew things anymore, but there is something about a mask.
Bella: All super heroes have to wear masks sometimes.
Bailey: I pay no attention to the masks. For me it is all about what the feet are doing. Kickball anyone?
Sheba: I was pleased when Molly made masks from several fabrics decorated with dogs. I could not understand the masks of sloths, dragon fruit, sushi or CATS, but the dog masks made perfect sense to me.
Moderator: What advice would you give your people for 2022?
Huck: Don’t worry. Be happy. And please pay no attention to the mess two little people generate. I hoover up all edibles and pledge to continue to do so in 2022.
Bailey: I was bred to bear hunt. Ugh. I much prefer your bear hugs, so keep ‘em coming in 2022. And the snacks.
Bella: Don’t let my infirmities get you down. They do not get me down. I have a rich inner life, and I know I am loved.
Sheba: I pledge not to let the squirrels get inside my head in 2022. Can you pledge to keep your heads clear of squirrels too?
Moderator: This is very helpful. What would you say to the general public?
Huck: Expect the unexpected like yummy things falling from above.
Sheba: When life keeps you outside, throw a picnic in the great outdoors, and invite all the dogs you know.
Bella: When you are as old as me you know life is not perfect, but it is pretty darn amazing.
Bailey: My life is an example of the old adage, “Good news, bad news, who knows?” so that is what I would say to one and all.