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A Successful, Solitary Man Becomes A Dog’s Best Friend.


–by Luellen Hoffman


“I will never live without dogs as they truly make my world beautiful, and the unavoidable unhappiness bearable.” ~ Robert Couturier, French architect and decorator


For years I would say to my younger brother, “Bill you need to get a dog,” knowing him and how much he would enjoy having a dog in his life. We grew up with dogs. Our dad loved dogs and hunting, so we always had Beagles and English Setters in our home. Our grandfather owned a kennel just outside New York City in Cloister, New Jersey. Movie stars


estate, but knowing the type of person he was (a dog person) and how much joy and happiness a dog brings into your life, I kept hounding him about it. Suddenly, three years ago, he changed. He saw a beautiful


Silver Lab in a magazine and started doing research on the breed. He found a reputable breeder and talked to her about the process of getting a puppy. He called me one day, out of the blue, and asked if I thought it was okay to buy a dog from a breeder verses getting a rescue? “Absolutely,” I said. Rescuing a dog is very admirable and buying a pup from a reputable breeder, where you can meet the parents is good too. I told him to beware of commercial mass production breeders who sell their dogs to pet stores purely for profit. A litter was planned for the spring so he put his deposit


down on a female pup, and waited, growing more excited each day, anticipating her arrival. After she was born there was more wait time as the pup


was weaned from her mother over eight weeks, before she could go to her new home. She was so little, but as you can guess that changed quickly and yes, she was spoiled from the start. He asked everyone in the family what he should name her? We came up with a dozen good names, but he found the perfect name for her while driving home after picking her up from the breeder. He later told me that he was reflecting on how happy he


was at that moment, and how wonderful his life was, ever since turning it around by committing to sobriety two years earlier. He remembered the movie, “It’s a Wonderful Life” and named her Bailey after the main character in the movie, George Bailey, who realized how good life was and the impor- tance of being grateful for the little things. It was amazing to watch how this dog added a special


would drive over the Hudson river and leave their dogs while they were away making a film. We have always had dogs around our home while growing up. When I was in college, my Old English Sheep dog named Maggi, often stayed with my parents while Bill was still living at home. He loved Maggi too.


His reply was gruff and always the same, “I don’t need a


dog Luellen, nor do I have time for one.” This short conversa- tion went on year after year, until he would finally get upset with me for even mentioning it. He lived alone and had a successful career working in real


44 THE NEW BARKER


meaning to my brother’s life. She became a sweet and affec- tionate dog. The neighborhood children immediately fell in love with her. She was like a kid too, only with four legs, and she loved to run and play with them every day in the front cluster area. Over the next two years her impact on my brother’s life


went much farther as he realized the important part a dog plays in the family. Now when he goes to the grocery store to find a steak to cook out on the grill, he doesn’t look for the best steak for dinner, but the steak with the best bone in it for Bailey.


Bill’s regular interaction with area home builders was


affected by his dog too. He set out to educate them about the importance of factoring in family pets in their home designs.


www.TheNewBarker.com


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