A New Family Member: An official introduction


As many of you know, we lost Buddy, a dear four-legged and furry member of our family back in September 2020. By December, we were feeling the pull to adopt another dog. After three months of mourning had passed, I wouldn’t say we were healed; we were just open to expanding our hearts again. After some searching and conversations with our kids, Jonathan and I reached out to Needy Paws Animal Shelter in Clarksville, Arkansas. It was there we became interested in a young adult Kelpie mix named Roscoe, whom we adopted on December 30. I mentioned him in my first post of 2021, but here’s some more information about him.

Family with two dogs

Adopting Roscoe

It was love at first meeting for all of us with this young pupper…well almost all of us. Peanut wasn’t impressed during that first meeting, but we knew he’d come around at some point. We listened to the shelter on the 3, 3, 3 rule. Three days for the dog to decompress, three weeks to develop a routine, and three months to finally feel at home.

Roscoe is the sweetest dog. He’s probably the most affectionate dog I’ve ever had. After a couple of hours, the human members of our family had fallen in love with him. It took two weeks for the fur brothers to get along, but not for lack of trying on Roscoe’s part. Peanut was just a little bit persnickety at times (he can’t help it that he’s a Chiweenie), but eventually he realized that having a bodyguard/playmate was a good thing. There are still some sibling squabbles on occasion, but the boys love each other and snuggle up together now. And boy, do they love to play.

Two dogs grooming themselves

Roscoe and Peanut

Tomorrow is the three-month mark since Roscoe joined our family, and I think he already feels at home. We had a couple of minor hiccups during the first few days with potty training, but we conquered that really quickly with positive reinforcement and treats. The fact that it was pouring rain for the first few days Roscoe was here probably contributed to that. Now, Roscoe’s a pro at going outside through the dog door to take care of his business or just to play or bark at something.

Dog lying on sofa

Roscoe’s perch

Now that he feels at home, he no longer gulps his food too fast. With some trial and error after consulting with our vet, we have Roscoe on a feeding schedule with a slow feeder that helps with his previous tummy trouble. He’s a champ at taking his monthly heartworm preventive medication, he loves cookies (that’s what we call his dog biscuits), and we’re working on leash training and liking (or at least tolerating) bathing and nail clipping. He’s a good sleeper most of the time alternating between his blanket on the couch in the living room and his dog bed that’s on the floor beside my bed. He’s an expert snuggler, an audible passer of gas, and the funniest big guy. While Roscoe was never intended to replace our dear Buddy, he has definitely helped us heal from our grief, and I look forward to spending many years with him.

-Brandi Easterling Collins

To All The Pets I’ve Loved Before


I’ve grown up with pets for as long as I can remember. My Easterling family seemed to have an affinity for the feline and canine variety of pets and the Russell side, especially my Aunt Diana, whom we sadly lost about two years ago, loved dogs.

Lucy Ann

The first dog I remember loving was Lucy Ann. She was a little mutt puppy I named after a character on a TV show that I believe was called The Littles. I was 4 or 5 years old at the time. I know she died soon after I got her, but I’m not sure how, but I sure loved that little dog and missed her when she left us.



Next was Bobby. He was a Labrador-Doberman mix who was all black except for a white stripe all the way around his waist from where he was caught in the zipper of a sleeping bag when he was about six weeks old—just a few weeks before we got him. I remember feeding him in an old metal cake pan, and he was so small that he would just lay in the whole pan to eat. Bobby stayed with us from the first home in which I lived with my mother and stepfather through our move to our next home and the birth of my little sister, Kelli. Continue reading

Talking about death


Most people don’t like to talk about death because it’s scary. Any time I bring it up to my husband, he’s quick to change the subject. I think he’s convinced he’ll go first. He’s said before that he never wants to lose me. I don’t want to lose him either, but I don’t think either one of us believes we’re truly immortal. (Please note that I’m not talking religion right now.)

Stockvault by Merelize

I’ve known about death for as long as I can remember, since I saw my first death at four years old, that of my father. A few months prior, my grandfather (Dad’s father) had died. Though I didn’t see him or attend his funeral, I remember looking for him and noticing he was gone. One of my aunts told me he had died, and even then, I think I realized it was a serious word. Continue reading