Mr. Wilson Made it Home!

Mr. Wilson Made it Home!
Mr. Wilson

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Pet Adoption Event October 10th at 10:30

One of the greatest things about finding Mr. Wilson and bringing him home is how his presence has opened up a giant world to me, one that I only suspected existed. Rescue dogs are great little creatures, nobody would argue that point. All dogs are great little creatures, pure bred, store bought (perish the thought!) pound finds-all of them.

The people behind the rescue dog engine are the real finds. Humanity is full of all kinds of characters. I've known all kinds of people. There are good people, great people, mean, nasty people and truly awful people. I try not to judge, and remember that soime days I'm not all that great either. But on the days when I can be part of the world of Homeless Dog Rescue, well, I'm just about as good as I can get.

Thank you Friends of Homeless Animals RI for helping us find Mr. Wilson, and inviting us to be part of the Fall Adoption Event at PetSmart in Johnston, RI this Saturday.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

The Punishment Fits the Crime

"What are you doing?"

"Punishing Mr. Wilson."
"He's sound asleep on the couch."
"You bet he is, I'm ignoring him!"
"What did he do?"
"He escaped!"
"Walked right under the fence and out of the yard!"
"Where did he go?"
"The other side of the fence."
"That's it?"
"That's it."
"The punishment fits the crime."
"It sure does."

They say punishing a dog is useless, they don't remember what they did to be punished. Funny how they remember exactly where the gap in the fence is though.

I think a dog made up the "Don't punish me, I don't remember!" rule.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

The Baby and Mr. Wilson

 He approaches her delicately, sniffs the air around her, then boldly sticks his nose close to her skin. The baby smiles. The dog seems confused, a little unsure of himself, but quickly regains composure. It's his first encounter with a newborn, and he passes with flying colors.

The baby gets all the attention, and Mr. Wilson somehow knows that everything is as it ought to be. He's at peace with his place, knows that his presence in our lives is important, and irreplaceable. But somehow he also knows that that little bundle of joy in his human sister's arms is a little above him in the family pecking order, and that he has to treat her with respect.

Dogs see and feel things differently than us humans, I've learned. He doesn't take his position in our family personally, and doesn't dwell on the why. He is content to take his place, and watch us grow, and know that his place is secure, and permanent, and that he is every bit as important to us as everybody else is.

Welcome to the family Kinsley Victoria, we're looking forward to sharing our lives with you.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Think like your dog

Try as they may, our dogs simply cannot think like we do. We, however, have the ability to think like them. Every now and then it is imperative to do so, if for nothing more than to keep the peace at home.

Our dog, Mr. Wilson is an affable chap by anybody's standards. He lives with us, know his place, guards our home to the best  his 12 pound fuzziness allows and seems to always be in the right place at the right time. He sits and stays, comes when called and does not hesitate when asked to "go to your crate."

Those small things, and a few others were easy to achieve, not because I am a great trainer, rather because I
listened, first to my wife, who noticed that Mr. Wilson was miserable whenever I wasn't around, and then to The Dreadlock Dog Man from Australia, Martin McKenna. 

Our first few days with our new dog were like The Canine Control Olympics. Every thing we did was a contest in Mr. Wilson's mind. Feeding, barking, peeing, walking-every aspect of his new life was a test. He wanted to win, and do things his way, because that was the only way he knew. Through trial and error, some wins, some losses, he started the journey toward what I call Schnoodle Serenity. He could never have achieved his current relaxed, happy state of being without enduring The Olympics. He had to find out, without a shadow of doubt, exactly who was in charge.

At first, it appeared we had lost. One of the greatest feelings is to have another living, feeling and adorable being shower us with affection. Knowing that our new dog was using those tools to control us was a bitter pill to swallow.  It is my, and most dog owners desire to be liked by our pets-and therein lies a fundamental problem. Dogs "like" us differently than we "like" them. What we perceive as a gesture of affection is to the dog a gesture of dominance. Jumping, barking inappropriately, stealing food et al are all simply means of survival to our dogs. Without proper leaders, our dogs revert to their instinct, which basically is a quest to lead.  When they find a competent leader, then- and only then- do they decide to "like" us.

But the quest for harmony, love and fun with our dogs does not end there. Once leadership has been established it is up to us to maintain it. Our dogs will test us, re-test us, then test us again. It is a daily battle for them, and they need to know that the person in charge of their lives, happiness and comfort is capable and deserving of such trust.

After reading Martin's book, The Boy who Talked to Dogs,  I decided that somebody who lived rough with a pack of wild dogs as a boy most likely had a far greater understanding of dog behavior and communication than I did. Dogs have subtle ways of communicating that are difficult for humans to comprehend, without being shown. Martin did not read about these signs, he learned from the dogs themselves, and I'm glad he did.

Using our superior intelligence and reasoning capabilities while teaching our dogs the rules of life with us makes training simple. The dogs listen to people they trust. They accept us as their superior. It can be no other way. When we allow our dogs to rule, all under the guise of love and affection, their lives are full of uncertainty, stress, anxiety and destructive behaviors.
It may be difficult to think that our dogs are constantly trying to usurp our leadership. Thinking that they are constantly testing us puts a little damper on that awesome relationship we share with our dogs. But in the big picture, when you stop letting your dog control you by using our instinctual need for acceptance, his life becomes far better for it.

And so will ours. Dogs are good. It is up to us to make them great.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

The Gaspee Affair

In a little while I'll be walking along the shore with Mr. Wilson, and not fifty feet from where my feet touch the sand that has come and gone with thousands of tides will be the site where the first blow for freedom from British rule was struck, way back in 1772.

Below is an excerpt from the book, Mr. Wilson Makes it Home   

In the opposite direction from the gym is a pretty little beach, and when the idea of lifting not so heavy things over and over doesn’t thrill me I find my path leading in the direction of the sea. It is a much more pleasant walk, and the destination far more appealing. Nicely kept homes line the streets that lead to the beach; the yards get smaller as the water draws closer. Most places you will find the yards and homes increase in size the closer to the shore you get, as the affluent fill the pricy waterfront properties, but not on the land that leads to Gaspee Point. A wealthy family owns the acreage and leases lots to people who build homes on the land. It is one of the few places in New England where a person of modest means can live on the water, or near enough to walk to it.
     Everybody in Rhode Island knows that the American Revolution began at Gaspee Point on June 9th, 1772. A British tax collecting schooner ran aground during low tide while chasing a smaller ship, The Hannah; the Captain was apparently not aware that a sandbar from the point extended well into Narragansett Bay, and while stuck in the sand some Revolutionary War era merchants boarded longboats and paddled up the bay from Providence to Warwick, captured the crew and set the schooner on fire. Mind you, Revolutionary War era merchants were not at all like the merchants of today. Back then, the merchants were often rabble rousers, and tended to be wealthy businessmen and who had the most to lose by engaging in illegal acts against the crown. Things like their lives, livelihood and sacred honor were at stake. The men who burned the Gaspee were led by The Sons of Liberty, and a man named John Brown was one of the leaders of the expedition. The owners of the land that I walk when I visit the beach are descendents of the very same man.
      I love living in a place with constant reminders of years and events long past. The past fascinates me, and I truly believe that he that does not learn from it is condemned to repeat it. Knowing that a place so rich with historical significance is within walking distance from my home gives me a great excuse to avoid the gym, and stay off of the treadmill and distractions from the cable TV that goes with it.
     The neighborhood streets lead to a partially hidden gate in a four foot high chain link fence. A path behind the gate straddles two properties. In Rhode Island laws exist near the waterfront ensuring the public’s right to access the shore, so there are no worries of trespassing. Somebody used railroad ties and a lot of hard work to make a stairway from the street to the beach, and the thirty foot descent and concentration and energy needed to safely navigate the steps provides a moment of clear thought and on simple movement, and empties the mind of its incessant chatter, erasing the needs and wants of life in civilization and preparing it for the serenity of the beach.
     It was a great place to begin a revolution, and it is just as great place to bring a dog. Very seldom is the beach occupied, and when it is the half-mile expanse offers plenty of room to roam for the few people who dot the shoreline, most of whom are people walking their dogs.
     It is one of the few remaining places in my town where a person can let their dogs run free, and when off the leash Zimba and Lakota would do just that, straddling the water line and running away at breakneck speed, then turning around and running back to me. Of course, there would often be a foray into the tic infested tall grass as well, but little in life comes without a price, even when you are a dog, and pulling the occasional tic from their dense fur a small price to pay for the joy I felt watching them run unfettered by me.
     One of my favorite things to do while at the beach with the dogs was to envision the Schooner Gaspee stuck some fifty yards off shore, close enough for me to hit with a rock, if it were still there, and picture the men from 1772 rowing toward it with an American Revolution ahead of them. They had no idea what the future would bring, or if their names and acts that night would be forever entwined in the history books, integral parts of a decade that set the course of history toward freedom prosperity, and the pursuit of happiness, or if they would even survive the night.
     I normally don’t believe in spooks, but with so much history on the horizon, and the tides coming and going the same as they did in 1772 it’s hard to not believe. There is something haunting about a lonely beach, and after we had to put Zimba and Lakota down, and I would walk alone through the quiet neighborhood, and take the steps from civilization down to the shore, and be left alone with my thoughts sometimes even the brightest day could grow dark.

This is Mr. Wilson standing about 100 yards from where the Gaspee was burned. The ship behind him is a cargo ship heading toward the Port of Providence.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

PAWS to De-stress

Mr. Wilson has become such an indispensable part of our home that it is impossible to imagine life without him. He is usually within sight, most of the time within touching distance and always ready to drop everything in an instant and lavish us with love.

It wasn't hard to train him, and for that we are grateful. It does take some time though, and patience. The biggest hurdle we had to overcome was communication. Dogs see the world differently than humans, figuring out how to get them to go along with the things that we need them to do was challenging, but not impossible.

Once we figured out how he ticks, the rest came naturally. His role as a Therapy Dog suits him fine. To think that he was an abandoned little Schnoodle living rough in Arkansas, and is now a valuable member of our home, and the world around him helps us believe that anything is possible, as long as we are willing to do the work.

He even talks with me now. We visited Johnson & Wales University recently as part of their PAWS to De-stress event. This is what he had to say after three hours of lovely young people lavishing him with attention:

"Hey Dad, this Therapy Dog stuff is pretty cool, can we do this every day?"
"Some days are better than others, old pal."
"Is this one of those days?"
"It sure is, Mr Wilson, it sure is."

Friday, May 1, 2015


It's Friday, May 1st. It's comforting to know that Alpha Dog Transport is on the way home, a truckload of rescued dogs with them. Their first stop is Haggerston, Maryland in the Toys R Us parking lot, where the first bunch of refugees will meet their new families, either foster or forever. On to the Turkey Hill gas station in Harrisburg, PA at two in the morning, where bleary eyed people meet their bright eyed friends for the first time. The pictures on the internet where most of these previously homeless dogs were seen do them no justice, and the crowd that has formed will attest.

Parsipany, New Jersey at 4:30 is next, and the dogs feel the excitement in the trailer, and they communicate with one another, tails wagging, hearts pounding, knowing that something great is happening at every stop. For it it truly great, this lonely tractor trailer chugging through the pre-dawn stillness, pulling a cargo of living, feeling creatures who now have a second, or third chance at happiness.

Off to Waterville, Connecticut where even more people eagerly await the arrival. People are kinder
somehow, and conversation among them flows freely, some familiar faces from the world of animal rescue joined by those new to this world, where the well-being of others takes precedence. Volunteers are waiting to take the dogs for a walk, give them love and water and make sure they are okay, and ready for the next leg of the journey.

Moosup/Plainfield Connecticut waits, and the people there are making connections, making friends and finding out first hand that there is a well-spring of good will here on earth, and that people are good at heart, and right here, right now is all that matters. When their dogs arrive they go their seperate ways, but the memories of those precious moments will stay with them forever.

The journey continues into Brattleboro, Vermont and the excitement is just as strong here as it was at 0ne in the morning in Haggerston. The weary travelers finish their journey in Kittery Maine, and the last of their passengers are home.

Everybody needs a dog in their lives, and there are thousands waiting to be seen, and heard, and saved. Life goes fast, every moment is ours for the taking, if we choose to live it to the fullest. Even those moments of boring routine that we all must endure is better lived with a faithful companion by our side.

Adopt a dog today, for the experience is truly glorious.

Thursday, April 16, 2015


Cheryl got me a dog for my birthday. Mr. Wilson could care less. He is here, he is ours, we are his and that is all that matters. He tends to pay more attention to me, but I think that is because he knows that I am more needy than Cheryl. It's always been that way with us. I think relationships work better when the man needs the woman more than the woman needing the man. There's something nurturing in the soul of a woman, and having an adoring man around to nurture just seems right.

Mr. Wilson doesn't mind. Whatever works, as long as there is room for him. And there will always be room for Mr. Wilson!

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Safe and warm

It is remarkable how the seasons show through Mr. Wilson's emotions. His demeanor, always chipper has been a little less so these last few months. Day upon day of bitter cold takes the skip out of even a soul as blissfully happy as his. Our walks, something he lives for often ended shortly after they began. He's not a fan of his winter jacket, and his little feet have to absorb the cold, unlike my own which are covered with material that keeps me warm.

I think its more than just the physical discomfort though. Ours are not treks through the wilderness, rather we stroll around a suburban block or two, looking for crooks, bushes to pee on and people to chat with. His need to return is an emotional thing; he simply wants to be home, safe and warm.

Spring is here in Rhode island, winter's grasp is relenting, ever so slowly. The three year old Schnoodle is returning to the self that I have come to expect, he's at the door ten times a day, looking at me with those eyes, pleading through unspoken communication to make me understand that it is of life and death importance that he gets me to open the door to his kingdom so he can chase squirrels, terrorize birds and stand behind his fence like the King of the World and bark at anybody or thing that dares walk past. That those same people and critters are his pals as soon as we leave the safety of the yard is irrelevant; he has his ground and he is standing on it, and it's all the better because the ground is no longer freezing.

And the walks have returned in earnest. It's usually me, now who wants to head home rather than tackle another, longer path. Mr. Wilson will walk all day just to find a new scent, his spirit has been re-kindled, and along with his, so has mine. It will be two full years that we have been his guardians, and he ours, but I cannot remember how it felt to not know him.

I think things must have been a lot less alive.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Weird Guy Walking

Here is an excerpt from the book, Mr. Wilson Makes it Home:

 Weird Guy Walking

     Cheryl sensed my dissatisfaction with my walks, mostly due to the infrequency of them and the resulting shrinking waistline of my pants. The less I walked, the more my pants shrank. Weird but true. I didn’t want to burden her with the real reason I stopped walking to the beach.
     “You need to walk more,” she mentioned on day when I was moping around the house.
     “I have nowhere to go,” I replied, quite content to remain mopey.
     “Walk to the gym, you used to love to do that.”
     “I don’t have time.”
     “Make time, you have to stay healthy.”
     “I am healthy.”
     She glanced at my expanding belly, then into my eyes. I betrayed nothing, knowing that any sign of weakness would lead to more salad and less meat.
     “We should get a dog, then you would walk more.”
     “And, maybe people wouldn’t hide their wives and daughters when the tall weird guy who walks alone came by their house.”
     “That’s your imagination.”
     “It most certainly is not. A middle aged man walking alone through a neighborhood makes people worry.”
     “No it doesn’t, what is the matter with you.”
     “I know how people think.”
     “People thankfully do not think the way you do.”
     “Then how come nobody says hi when I’m walking by myself, but when I had the dogs with me everybody did. People in cars would actually stop and ask what kind of dogs they were.”
     “Because people like dogs more than they like people.”
     She had a point. And, she knew that she was going to get me a dog. And that dog would be Wilson.
     I think that if we had been able to stay in the house we loved walking wouldn’t have been an issue. I had a giant yard to walk around in, gardens, a cabana with all the amenities, which I dubbed “The Love Shack,” next to the pool, a big shed full of shovels and rakes and dirt in bags and fertilizer and hoses and parts of things that I had no idea what they were, a giant dog pen, horseshoes, a badmitten net and plenty of weeds to pull. Plus, I was a familiar face in the neighborhood, and people would remember me as the guy who used to walk the dogs, not the weird guy walking.
     That house was magical, and we missed it. Moving can be fun and adventurous when you are doing so for the right reasons. Getting a bigger house, a better neighborhood for the kids, a different location for a new job are all great reasons to move. Not so great is moving because you can’t make it down the stairs you once flew up and down carrying basketfuls of laundry, or up the stairs at the end of the day to get to bed. Stairs shouldn’t be a big deal to people in their thirties and forties, but they were, and they had to go. Along with the stairs went the accumulation of years of living, and collections of things, and the result of countless hours decorating because we loved it, not because the walls were bare.
      It was Cheryl’s house, and her touch made it more than a cape with a nice yard. It had soul. At Christmastime I would come home from work exhausted, and find the tree up, the banisters wrapped with garland, lights everywhere, and best of all, seven Christmas trees. Every room had its own tree. Some were big, some were small, some bore fruit, others birds, and the big one held the family treasures.
      Often I would get home before sunrise, when everybody was in bed, and I would walk around the place I called my home, and look at the things on the walls, and perfectly decorated windows, and flowers and plants just right, and see my dogs in the yard, and know my family was there, and knowing that they were in such a good place made being away from home a little easier.
     If I could do it over I would work less, and when I walked through my house when everybody was asleep I would feel more a part of what I loved so much.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Mr. Wilson on KAZZ FM, California

Marie Hulett from The Pet Place Radio program asked me some great questions about the writing of Mr. Wilson Makes it Home. You can listen to the interview here:

Thank you, Marie, it was a lot of fun talking about Mr. Wilson, the cat who was rescued and bit the hand that saved him and lots of other stuff!

Saturday, March 14, 2015

I Smell a Book!

I put the book in Mr. Wilson's favorite spot. He's not sure if he wants to read it, or eat it. Or maybe toss it abound a little, run through the house and let us chase him. I've never met a creature who appreciates order more than Mr. Wilson. If his schedule is interrupted he's just not the same happy go lucky dog he is when it isn't.

Funny how he managed to fit into our schedule and make it his own. He knows when it's time to go, when it's time to play, when it's time to rest and when it's time to eat. I read somewhere that a dog's sense of smell is so different from ours that they tell time by the aromas in their mind.

When I leave the house without him my scent is strong. As the day day progresses it dissapates, and at the point in time that my scent triggers in his mind the time of my arrival back home his expectation rises, and he anticipates my return.

I wonder if he can see the book, and differentiate it from others by smelling his picture on it. Unlikely, but the more I learn about dogs, the more I realize I don't know.

Monday, March 2, 2015

Successful Event!

My brother Bob was out with his wife, Mary, doing the Saturday shuffle, groceries, gas for the car-the stuff we all do when we have time when he remembered that me and Cheryl were nearby, hosting a pet adoption event at Pet Supplies Plus.

"Let's go see Mike and Cheryl," he said to Mary, "but don't even think about getting a dog!"

Hmm... Probably should have reminded himself that he wasn't going home with a dog! This is Bob and Bruin, the newest member of The Morse family!

Seven dogs found homes at the event, and lots more found interested people who will hopefully follow up with New England All Breed Rescue and The Cranston RI Municipal animal Shelter. I met the people behind The Pawprint Press, two high school kids who devote most of their free time at the shelter and publishing a newsletter showcasing the pets available for adoption there.

Kelly O'Brien, the owner of NEABR showed up with an army of volunteers, most of whom happened to be her kids, and what awesome kids they are! I enjoyed their company most of all, even more than the adorable puppies and dogs that they brought with them. They sat with the dogs that weren't getting any attention, helped with this and that and were simply a joy to be around.

The more I learn about these pet adoption events and pet rescues the more I realize just how much I like people. It would be easy to focus on the dogs; they are wonderful, but it is the people who put in the work to find homes for these little critters who inspire me, and make me want to be a better person, and devote some of my time to making the world a better place.

There is joy in this world, true and real. It is in abundant supply. It is right under our noses, and anybody can absorb it, and make it part of themselves. It is contagious, and when you get a little it becomes infectious, and the more joy you give the more you get back.

When we adopted Mr. Wilson we received far more than a scruffy little dog. We became part of a family of people who inspire us, and exude happiness, and make us better people. It is an honor and privilege to be part of something that is far bigger than ourselves, and the endless pursuit of things and comfort.

Thanks to everybody who came to the event, worked to make it happen and especially to those who helped a homeless dog make it home.

Friday, February 20, 2015

The Beauty of Icicles

It's cold outside, the ice clings to my window, hoping for break, perhaps a late winter heat wave, or a ray of sunshine to melt it away. For now, it obscures my view, leaving us a smaller glimpse of the world outside. The birds flutter about, grateful for the seed I leave them, their frantic assault on the feeders indicitive of the harsh reality of the frozen landscape. Squirrells scurry around the bottom of the pole, their attempts at breaching the squirrel-proof feeders over for the day. Tonight they will return to their nest high above me, sticks and twigs exposed now that the leaves have withered and died, and plan another assault.

Mr. Wilson sits on the bed near the window and watches the struggle for food and survival. Does he remember that the frozen landscape will soon give way to budding trees, crocus flowers pushing through thawing earth and warmth? Or is he content to sit inside, surrounded by warmth of a different kind and live for the moment?

Icicles as long as I am tall hang from the roof, somehow getting bigger every day. The tempature has not seen twenty in weeks, I wonder how they do it. What little heat the late winter sun provides must be enough to begin the thaw that I know is coming. I sit next to my pal, and see the palate of white and crystal, snow sparkling on the surface, two feet below grass begining to consider turning green, and take it all in, knowing that before long we will be back outside in the little world we have created.

There is a lot of life in a quarter acre lot in the middle of suburbia. Watching it unfold from inside is sweet when the subtle aroma of short ribs flows from the slow-cooker, there is food in the dish and people and pets to share it with. Spring is just around the corner, but right here, right now, everything is exactly where it is supposed to be.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Make it Home Pet Adoption Event

Mr. Wilson wants to help his brothers and sisters Make it Home, but he can't do it alone. He has partnered with Pet Supplies Plus, the ladies from The Pawprint Press and New England All Breed Rescue
to bring you Mr. Wilson's Make it Home Pet Adoption Event!

On Saturday, February 28th from 11-3 at Pet Supplies Plus in Cranston, RI Mr. Wilson will host some adoptable dogs from NEABR as well as a few from The Cranston Municipal Animal Shelter, and adoption information for the homeless pets at the shelter who couldn't make the trip.

The first five people to adopt a pet will receive a copy of Mr. Wilson's new book, Mr. Wilson Makes it home.

So save the date, and tell everybody you know, the place to be On February 28th, 2015 from 11-3 is Pet Supplies Plus in Cranston, RI!


Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Tenth Anniversary Macoll-Johnson Fellowship

Shortly after I decided to write Mr. Wilson Makes it Home I was awarded The Macoll-Johnson Fellowship from the Rhode Island Foundation. The fellowship allowed me to devote the time necessary to create as good a book as I was capable of writing.

2015 marks the tenth anniversary of the scholarships, and I was asked if i would like to participate in a story about the people that have benefited from the award. It was the least I could do.

Thank you Robert and Margaret Macoll-Johnson and the Rhode Island Foundation!

Saturday, January 17, 2015


We take care of things. That is what we do best. Sometimes, as life moves forward at it's relentless pace we forget to take care of ourselves, and the ones closest  to us. There is simply too much to do to worry about little things like, "am I okay?"

It seems like all of a sudden everything slows down, and what we have built doesn't seem like all that much. In our little kingdoms of things the most important possession we have is never something that can be touched, measured, given away or sold. What matters most is the relationships we forge as we move along life's journey.

 We may be able to touch and hold the physical forms that we share our world with, but a body is an empty vessel until infused with thoughts and feelings, acceptance and love. The best way to fill that vessel is by sharing ourselves with another person or animal. It is miraculous when given a chance  how electric the connection between two living creatures becomes, building in current, taking on enough energy to feed an empty soul with the nourishment needed to become fully alive.

Feeling a little empty? Don't waste another second! Connect with somebody. Nurture a friendship that is losing steam. Adopt a pet, Take charge of the relationships in your life. Without you, there can be no connection. Without connections, things fall apart. We are all in this together, so reach out and touch someone!

We sat outside, Mr. Wilson and I while Cheryl got lunch ready, and I was able to sit on an Adirondack chair in my new backyard that seemed like mine for the first time in years, fully content and happy to simply watch my new friend wander around his new home. Whether or not he realized he was here to stay I do not know, but I like to believe that at some instinctual level he knew, and he relaxed a little, and knew that his days of wandering were over. I closed my eyes and looked toward the sun, feeling the warmth, knowing that winter was over, and spring would soon give way to summer, and I had everything I had ever wanted. Living a life beyond my wildest dreams became a reality once I learned to appreciate the small things, and my dreams became grounded in reality, and that reality when seen, and felt and experienced honestly, taking time to use all five senses; seeing the beauty of a little dog chasing bugs in my yard, hearing the chatter of birds as their yearly mating season reaches its climax, feeling the sun on the skin of my face, arms and hands, warming me emotionally and physically, smelling the faint traces of spring, the earth has its own aroma that changes with the seasons, even winter, but spring is by far the most fragrant, and tasting…well, nothing there yet, but lunch was on the way!
     Smack dab it the middle of my happy to be alive moment an assault on each and every one of my senses appeared. I felt before I saw a twelve pound weight on my chest, then in vivid detail the memory of each and every hamster I have ever known came flooding back as the nostalgic wood shaving aroma filled my space, and I tasted dirt on my lips as Mr. Wilson frantically licked my face, and I heard myself laughing, really laughing, belly laughing, laughing like I haven’t laughed in years, laughing so hard my face muscles hurt.
     We had found home, Wilson and me, and it was a good, honest place, a place where laughter came easily. I felt Cheryl watching us from inside the house, and felt her smile as well. It had been a long time between belly laughs for both of us, and the little creature who Cheryl had introduced into our lives was already making our lives better.