Tuesday, March 24, 2009

A Passion for Mastiffs

A big piece of the boldness equation is going full-tilt after what draws you, what you care about.

Saturday night my dear old friend Susie came to dinner; we had not seen each other in 41 years. Until our mid-teens, we lived one door away from each other, and had played together from my earliest memory. Then she moved.

The Internet (with the assistance of my brother Harry) reconnected us. She lives only three hours away, and she was traveling with four Tibetan mastiffs.

Turns out that she, Susie Ochsenbein, has a passion for these huge beautiful dogs and has traveled over much of the world showing, judging, visiting, and studying them. She's a global expert on these animals. And has 13 of her own. That's pretty close to an actual ton of live dog.

The one I got to meet was a sweet-tempered, quiet girl with a gorgeous fluffy coat, as they all seem to have. She's only a year old and about the size of a very large bulldog.

What strikes me even more than the wonder of these handsome dogs is Susie's devotion to them, her knowledge and her passion. I love to see anyone seize life that way; and that's what I think is happening when we follow our true and abiding interests.

It's especially nice when it's my old pal.

From a Joseph Campbell interview with Bill Moyers: "...If you do follow your bliss you put yourself on a kind of track that has been there all the while, waiting for you, and the life that you ought to be living is the one you are living. When you can see that, you begin to meet people who are in your field of bliss, and they open doors to you. I say, follow your bliss and don't be afraid, and doors will open where you didn't know they were going to be."

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Debra W said...

Peggy, what a wonderful story! I have often thought about trying to reconnect with some of my childhood friends, as I remember some of them quite well. As a little girl, I went to nursery school with a lot of children whose families worked for the United Nations. It was a very international environment and I loved it. I think it would fascinating to know what they are doing now.

It sounds like you and Susie had a wonderful visit! I do hope that you will continue your friendship into the future, now that your brother has helped to reconnect you! Thirteen Mastiffs! Bless her heart! Do I detect a new puppy in your future?

I love the Joseph Campbell quote that you posted today. I will definitely be passing it along to my nineteen year old daughter who found out that she got accepted to a very prestigious Art school, yesterday! The quote is VERY timely and relevant for where she is in her life right now.


kenju said...

I know how wonderful it is to reconnect with someone you spent your childhood with. I am impressed that she has that many dogs. I have always liked that quote too, and I firmly believe it.

Peggy Payne said...

You're right about the puppy in my future, Debbie. She's a 60 pound puppy about three months old, a South African mastiff called a Boerbel. Her name is Aura.

Kenju, did you find in reconnecting with your old friends that the connection was there just as it always was? That was my experience with Susie.

Greta said...

That's great...being able to connect with a friend after 41 years! Sounds as though you were able to pick up where you left off.

Visited her website...love the dogs!

BTW, Leaving your workshop Saturday, I met one of your neighbor dogs which I was told is a Kangal, the National Dog of Turkey.

Would have enjoyed meeting Aura.
Yeah, I love animals.

Peggy Payne said...

That neighbor is my husband Bob, Greta. He and that dog are very close neighbors of mine. Both handsome, aren't they?

Debra W said...

I sensed that, Peggy! Congratulations! 60 pounds! Our new puppy, Micah, is part Rottie-part ? and is also three months old. Big difference in the weight though. Micah only weighs about 20 pounds right now, and he is supposed to be a big dog when he grows up. Enjoy Aura!

aiki said...

actually 66 lbs @ 4 1/2 mos

such a sweetie!