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Pippin is three months old, has a mouthful of needle-sharp teeth, is loving, is curious, is easily startled, and is funny and happy. He’s our new puppy. He’s a Bedlington Terrier, the third we’ve been lucky enough to share our lives with.


You forget what a joy a new life can be. He craves affection and attention and repays them tenfold. He’s funny, mostly because his life is a constant surprise. It’s a lesson for us all, one that we keep learning and keep forgetting. Admittedly, it’s hard to remember when other concerns, other challenges manage to get in the way.


When that happens, we sometimes equate surprises with problems. We grow older and we resent surprises for some reason. The well-trodden path is easy to navigate, I suppose. The problem is that the well-trodden path only ever gets you where you’ve been before.


Not Pippin. There is no well-trodden path. Every doorway is an adventure. Every room is seen with fresh eyes. Every game is not just joyous, it’s proof that someone loves you. And you love that person right back.


Pippin is perpetually hungry. ‘What about second breakfast?’ Pippin asks Merry in the film version of Lord of the Rings. Honest, we hadn’t remembered that line until Pippin came home with us and disclosed his first love: eating. Sometimes, naming is a matter of kismet.


But Pip is not just hungry for food – he needs love and companionship and adventure. What a great reminder that is.

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Character should always drive plot.

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