… on a new year’s job offer


Her boy just walked out into a frozen early morning world to head back to school in North Carolina.

As he was making his way toward the barn, the three of us – me, she, and Marshal – were sitting on the floor just inside the door, watching him go. And she leaned.

Blaze does not lean.

It’s part of the princess thing I think.

But right then, she did.

Marshal was whining and vibrating and shuffle-footing the way he does when someone mistakenly (in his opinion) leaves the house and walks toward the car without him.

Blaze was silent, watching Gabe make his way along the snowy path toward the barn’s side door. He dragged his wheelie-bag up and over the two granite steps and into the barn. I could see his big hand reach back and around the dark plank door, pulling it closed behind him.

And then, in Blaze’s world, he was gone.

It was right then that she sighed, and I felt her weight on my shoulder. Marshal left us to play in the water bowl. And I stayed, stroking Blaze’s regal head.

“He’ll be back.” I said, unnecessarily. She knows her boy always comes back.

All she needs to do is wait, and watch.

She sighed again after a minute, and headed into the living room. Circling twice on her old bed, she lay down by the fire… a streak of morning sunlight across her ruff.

I signed too, and went to pull a lobster mug from the cupboard, filled it with coffee and made my way back to her.

Outside the windows, the sea smoke was blowing across the water, into and out of the early morning light and shadow.

I looked back at Blaze.

In just a few more minutes she would go and check the side door, somehow knowing – as only a devoted dog seems to know – that her boy hadn’t just headed out to the store, or the gym, this time. That this was a ‘long gone’, and not a short one.

In the mean time, we talked.

No, not just me talking to her. She talks back.

Always has.

I coo’d her name.

She whined in response, quietly matching her pitch to that of my voice.

A german shepHerd without a full-time job is a pitiful thing. Waiting is just a filler (barely qualifies for any benefits at all).

I watched her through three more sighs before I went in with my pitch. I didn’t want to move in too quickly, or with too much earnest-ness, lest I be accused of a pity offer.

“Hey Blaze?” I began.

She didn’t budge, didn’t even shift her eyes.

I cleared my throat.

“It’s 2018 now. I kind of… I have a favor to ask.”


“So… 2017. It was great and all, but… it was busy, right?” I didn’t wait for a response. “The move, the wedding, the health stuff, the newness and adjusting… and then suddenly it was the holidays and everyone was home…”

She twitched an ear. Maybe sensed her boy in the mention of ‘everyone’.

“Anyway.” I braced myself. “I was thinking that I need some help this year. It’s a new year and I have a lot to do with the writing and photography-ing. New camera, the need to really focus if I’m going to branch out on the freelancing thing, the book idea thing.”

Didn’t even wait for a response here, which I thought was key.

“So.” I took a deep breath and squared my shoulders. “I have a job opening. It’s a really senior position in the Just Ponderin’ organization. I know you are really busy with keeping the squirrels off the farmer’s porch, but I was hoping that you might be willing to consider it. I need a CFO.”

She was holding firm. Not an inkling of interest. She’s a really good negotiator.

“Chief Focus Officer. It’ll require herding me to my desk, even if I don’t want to go. Making me pick up my phone even when you know I don’t want to talk to anyone.” I plowed ahead. “Also? Being by my side when I head out to take pics. Maybe some posing, too…” Then I added what I thought was the kicker. “You’ll be able to decide how much Marshal can be in my pictures.”

I couldn’t believe it.


“Also, there might be steak!” I added, with a punch of enthusiasm.


And then it came to me.

I knew what I needed to say to seal the deal.

It was so obvious. I can’t believe I didn’t think of it right away.

“Blaze?” I began. “I really need someone great to do this job. I think you’re the only one who could do it the way I need it done. And…. well….” I lowered my voice and moved in a bit closer.

“I only need you to do it until Gabe comes back. I know he’s your real job. I’m totally fine with you going back to that every time he comes home. No problem. What do you think?”


There we go.

Blaze Dingle, Chief Focus Officer, Just Ponderin’.

As Mac says…

We’re goin’ viral.

Thanks for readin’.

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