Years of Fun

This week’s blog is from Rona Maynard—an author and fellow dog-lover whom I’m delighted to have met. A mutual friend (a writer), introduced us via email, thinking Rona might be interested in the current photo contest.

That’s when I discovered Rona’s latest book, Starter Dog. It is a gem.     

So, I asked Rona if she would like to be a “guest blogger” on I’m so glad she said, “Yes!”

The following piece, “Years of Fun,” is not in Starter Dog, so consider it a bonus to this must-read book. Thanks, Rona, for sharing a glimpse of life with Casey. He is, indeed, a very good boy.


Interested in being a guest-blogger? Contact me.  

Years of Fun

He smiled at Casey as the three of us stopped at a light, a man neither young nor old. Whatever he was about to say, I’d surely heard it a few times before. He’s a beauty, great dog, some variation thereof. I don’t expect originality. More of the same heartfelt compliments would suit me fine. But the man in the crisp white shirt did not exclaim at Casey’s charm. Not in as many words. He turned his gaze to me and said, as if he were forming a picture in his mind, “You’ve got years of fun ahead.”

Casey and Rona

“You must think he’s a puppy. He’s almost six.”

“In his prime. Like I said, years of fun.”

Not enough years, the way I saw it. I wanted Casey to stay as he was forever, jumping for his leash in eagerness to hit the street. Bouncing and shimmying into doggie day care, where they call him “spring-loaded.” I didn’t want to see him thicken and slow down with age, couldn’t bear the thought of losing him. At six a dog Casey’s size is about halfway through his life. Another six years would be gone in a flash.

The man’s eyes twinkled behind wire-rimmed glasses. Tender, amused and wistful, all at once. He didn’t mention any dog of his own. We had our backs to a construction site that left a mere smidgen of sidewalk to people squeezing past with carts and strollers. Of all the corners where two strangers might get acquainted, we’d met at one of the worst. But in his eyes I caught a faint glimmer of his story. I think he loved a dog who died, most likely some time ago. He might have lost a number of dogs, but it was this one, his dog of dogs, that Casey brought to mind.


I saw him remembering another spring-loaded dog. He saw me measuring Casey’s life span when I had better ways to use my time. We understood each other in a minute, give or take—a minute that almost didn’t happen. The light could have been green instead of red. One of us could have reached the corner too late (a shoelace needed tying, a tourist asked for directions). Of all the ways we might have spent that minute, we happened to spend it together. A year consists of 525,600 minutes. Where most of them go I have no idea. This one goes on and on.

Casey and Rona

Rona Maynard found happiness at 65—a story she tells in her new memoir Starter Dog: My Path to Joy, Belonging and Loving This World. She first broke into print at 14 with a short story about bullying and still receives fan mail from teens who are reading it in class. Rona capped a stellar career in magazines with a decade at the helm of Chatelaine, Canada’s leading magazine for women. After Chatelaine, Rona had to learn to unwind—and found that her best teacher was a rescue mutt who had received his basic training in a prison. She has been married more than 50 years and is a firm believer that road trips go better with a dog in the back seat.

Follow Rona’s latest musings on Instagram, Facebook, and LinkedIn.

Attention Readers:

You can get an autographed and paw-printed Starter Dog postcard from Rona—makes a great bookmark for whatever you happen to be reading—by sending her a note here. Just mention the Dogs Are Amazing blog!   

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