I usually write this annual post around the 26th or 27th of December, right between the buzz of Christmas gatherings and the fireworks of the new year.  But this year is different.  This year I don’t really feel like writing the post, and I’m not sure why.  Tradition, however, is kicking me in the butt right now and I am taking the hint.  So, on this last day of 2021 – and, in fact, in the final hour of the year –  I once again present our annual year in review.

As I looked through the photos of this past year, it should not have surprised me that a solid 75% of them were of our pets.  And maybe that’s why I wasn’t ready for this review. We lost two of those beloved pets this year, and even though the memories are sweet, the loss is recent enough that the pictures still sting just a little.  If only it were possible to truly capture their abundant personalities in photos so that you could understand how incredibly lucky we are to call these animals ours.  Such is the limitation of photography, I guess. Thankfully it is not the limitation of memory.

Without further adieu, let’s see what 2021 looked like from my camera roll. 


I came home at the end of a day to one of our smoke alarms beeping, alerting me to the need for a battery change.  No bigs, right?  Unless you’re Max.  He was so wigged out by the beeping that he bolted out of the door and right into the open back end of my vehicle where I was about to unload groceries.  Over the groceries, over the back seat and into the front seat this 90 pound fur factory clumsily climbed through my car in an effort to escape the soundtrack of his nightmares.  It took me roughly twenty minutes to get him out of my car, and I have no shortage of videos of him considering the exit, turning in the seat, and repositioning himself, staring intently at me as if willing me to drive him as far away from this haunted house as possible. 


Ahhh, the snow days.  Max’s Husky soul was in absolute heaven!  Mabel spent most of her time outside yelling at Max while he frisked around in the snow.


Boo was our first cat experience.  He was Victoria’s cat who entered our lives in October of last year.  Boo spent most of his short life recovering from various illnesses at our home, and Max got to understand cats because of Boo, as did Dom and I.


Few things make us as happy as seeing cardinal families at our bird feeder.


As we laid Boo to rest, we prepared our flowerbed for future graves, knowing we would be adding to it sooner than we wanted to. St. Francis stands watch over our fur babies, illuminated at night by two solar spotlights. 


My parents celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary in relative quiet with me and Dom.  Through fifty years of promised love and restraint from wringing each other’s necks, they are my role models. I love you, Mom and Dad.


Once Victoria had cried enough tears for Boo, she got Socko, a male kitty who is a sweetheart of a snuggler.  Pepper (Aaron’s cat) hates him. Max isn’t sure if he should snuggle or run.  All I know is, this is the only kitty who hasn’t attacked my Christmas tree.  Rock on, little Sockster.


The hardest part of this year, by far – saying goodbye to a faithful companion just a month shy of her 13th birthday. Mabel was Dom’s pup from the beginning, and losing her left a giant hole in our hearts.


September tried to sneak by unnoticed, but on the early morning of September 19th, our outdoor kitchen was engulfed in flames. Max awoke us to the danger with his barking and potentially saved the entire house.  Damage was thankfully limited to the patio, and we are working toward restoration now. 


It only took me three years, but I finally made it to my bridge.  Thank you, Bella, for making sure all the pics were perfect. 


There is nothing Max loves more than when we stock or restack the wood racks.  They are his own personal toyboxes, as far as he is concerned.  He will always grab a log and haul off to chew it, perfectly content with his new treasure. 


Since Pepper, Aaron’s cat, has not yet had a photo in this year’s review, here she is under the tree sampling the presents. Pepper is a real sweetheart as long as no animal but Max is in the house. Let her even catch a whiff of Socko, though, and kitty has claws!

These past two years have just stunk, worldwide, and I don’t have the energy this year to laugh it off or make wisecracks about how ridiculous my worries were over the past twelve months.  It is my prayer for each of you that the next year is better than 2021 in every way, that you enjoy peace and health and happiness in ways you have not known.  I pray that 2022 will be infinitely better than the previous two years have been.  You deserve it.  We all do.

Peace to you, my friends.