As many readers have, no doubt, noticed, there is a new photograph of me on my website’s homepage. I have begun receiving inquiries from long-time readers asking whether my pet dog pictured on the former homepage photo has died. The answer, unfortunately, is yes.

My pet Bichon Frise was a beloved companion since we obtained him as a tiny puppy. He was almost 16 years old when he passed, and he lived a long and much-loved life. One of our favorite memories of him was when we brought him home for the first time from the pet farm where we obtained him. We set him down in the backyard of our house and he was at first a bit confused as he had never seen or smelled grass before that time (he was only weeks old). He tried to run a few steps and “plopped” on his face as he had never had a chance to run before. In his maturity, he loved to chase squirrels and rabbits around our yard, and he never tired of taking long walks and curling up close to us on a sofa. At about 26 pounds, he was large for a Bichon, but he was always gentle to all people and other dogs.

Based on his rapidly failing sensory, motor and functioning abilities, my daughter and I came to the joint conclusion that we would not be showing him any more love if we prolonged his rapidly-declining state and his increasing pains. The veterinarian agreed with us. He was hungry to the end, munching treats right up to the time the vet had to administer the chemicals that would end his suffering. We listened to his labored breathing as we consoled him with our voices to comfort his last moments. Then we watched the light go out in his eyes, and he was gone. I’m sure many readers of this post have also had to “put to sleep” a beloved pet and also shared this very sad experience. Those who have not loved a pet for many years do not realize how much they do become a part of one’s family.

The new photo on my website’s homepage is a photo of me taken beside a peaceful stream which is a particular favorite of mine. It is in a peaceful, hidden-away place where many people may be close to it and not realize it is there. The photo offers an updated photo of how I appear today. The former photo had been posted for years and it was due for an update. Hopefully, I haven’t changed too much!