New Beginnings

Text and photo by Virginia Parker Staat

Golden Retriever.
Samantha at 16 weeks on David’s lap – almost! © Virginia Staat

Every new year brings an opportunity for a new beginning. This is an especially true statement for David and me this year. We have welcomed a new addition to our family. Meet Samantha, our Golden Retriever puppy. For those of you who remember our beloved Roxanne, you will know this step was a long time in coming for us. We lost Roxanne over five years ago. We thought it was time to open our hearts again to another. 

To say that our lives have changed since Sam’s arrival would be an understatement. On occasion, we have questioned our sanity. In the first week of her arrival, we had to skirt the deck and fence off the beehive, the compost bin, and my fern bed. David just ordered more fencing to try to salvage what’s left of my ornamental garden. It’s amazing how quickly that puppy can shred a plant.

The best part is that we often laugh ourselves silly over her antics. Her attention span is about as long as a gnat’s. In spite of a box load of toys, Sam’s favorite is a dried Brussels sprout stalk leftover from Thanksgiving. She will obediently sit for a frozen green bean. She has a fetish for shoes. She’s a bonafide thief and will run with said shoe until we chase her. She doesn’t destroy shoes, she just loves the game of chase. 

I suppose that for David, the scariest part is how fast Sam is growing. He specifically requested a dog smaller than Roxanne, our 98-pound wonder. Sam’s parents were 65 and 70 pounds respectively, so we felt fairly confident she would be in that size range. We may have been mistaken. Sam weighed 13 pounds at eight weeks. At 16 weeks, she is a whopping 38 pounds. The majority of puppy weight calculators estimate her adult weight between 116 and 123 pounds. Oops. 

As a result of our adopting Samantha, our 2022 will be filled with many firsts. If the weather holds, Sam will have her first excursion to the beach next week. She begins puppy classes in mid-January. We’re planning her first camping trip in early March. Hopefully we may even find snow for her in the Georgia mountains.

I hope that each of you is blessed with something new to enjoy this year. Maybe adopting a puppy isn’t the most sane approach, but I’m sure you’ll come up with your own answer. Regardless, I hope that you continue to pursue your amazing talents in writing and photography during the course of 2022. I also hope that each of you have a chance to meet our Sam at the upcoming June RMOWP conference in Golden, Colorado. 

Isn’t that appropriate? It will be a golden opportunity to meet a Golden Retriever in a Golden town for a golden organization… RMOWP! (Okay… I know it’s cheesy, but this is what you get when you wait until three days before the deadline to write the article! Please forgive me.) 

Happy New Year!