Kirby’s Carrots

My KirbyKirby-prime

From the moment our eyes met, I was lost to him. One day in October 2010, I found myself at a Veterinary clinic in Clearfield, Utah. I was returning a lost dog to its owner through the clinic where the dog was registered. As I waited my turn, I looked across the room to a pitiful sight. In a free-standing black cage, a pup stared at me with deep, soulful brown eyes. His gaze never waivered. There were other people in the room with dogs and cats of their own, but this little guy stared straight at me.

I concluded my paperwork at the desk and handed over the lost dog. As I turned, I looked back at the blonde pup in the cage, still staring at me, and noticed a sign on top of the cage: “Please take me home.” My heart absolutely melted into my shoes. I walked over and knelt down next to him.

There is no way to explain the soul-connection that happened at that moment. I felt him, deep in my soul, talking to me. I know this sounds so weird. But at that moment, he told me he would be going home with me.

He did not go home with me. I was shaken. I wasn’t looking for a dog! I didn’t need a dog! (I thought.) I had just begun a very big project at work and was about to leave the country for a few weeks. I didn’t have the time nor the resources for a dog.

I did, however, ask about him at the desk. He had been found wandering, and a good Samaritan brought him to the clinic. Severely malnourished, dehydrated, sick and full of cuts and bruises, they estimated he had been on his own for no less than two months, probably longer. They nursed him back to health and gave him the name, “Kirby,” with the sign above his cage.

Uneasiness followed me all week. I kept thinking about him, even dreaming about him. I couldn’t shake the feeling that I shouldn’t have left him there. I had been too stupid and wrapped up in my own life to recognize what he already instinctively knew: He was mine, and I was his.

The following Friday I called the clinic to find out if he was still without a home. “Yes,” the receptionist replied, “He’s still here.” I arranged to adopt him the next day.

When I apologized to him for leaving him there that week, he gave me his crooked smile (they had to take some teeth), and let me know, “It’s alright. I knew you’d come back.”kirby

Kirby was the most special dog I’ve ever known. He passed away quietly early Sunday morning, October 9, 2016, just one month short of his 15th birthday. He died in my arms. He taught me so many life-truths that, if I could emulate, would make my life so much better. As a tribute to my dear departed friend, here are a few “Kirbyisms.” I call them, “Kirby’s Carrots.”

kirby-1Kirby’s Carrots

  1. Always eat your carrots. I love carrots! I eat a carrot everyday and have the cleanest dog-teeth on the block. Not to mention fresh breath!
  2. Smell your food before you eat it. It is animal, vegetable, or medicine? You should always know what you’re putting into your mouth. Besides, it’s rude to grab.
  3. Be polite. Say, “please” and “thank you.” If you want some of that delicious-smelling food your people are eating, don’t jump up, prance around, or make a nuisance of yourself. Sit quietly, questioning with your eyes. “May I have some, please?” Then, when you get a treat, say, “Thank you.” Don’t worry if you can’t speak the language. Just do your best. I think I got pretty good at making the two-syllable sound my master makes. “Thank you.” It’s not difficult to do.
  4. Wash your paws every chance you get.
  5. Do your best to smell nice. Alisa always said I didn’t smell like a regular dog. She said I smelled like fresh-baked brownies: whatever those are.
  6. Be excited to meet everybody. You never know: they might give you a treat, or a pat, or kind word. Wouldn’t that be nice?
  7. Always come back to your master. It’s OK to explore. As a matter of fact, it’s great! So many smells to explore! But always check-in with your master. Come back often and regularly to say, “Hi, I’m here! Just checking that you’re here, too.” (Alisa drew a picture of our footprints in the snow as we took our morning walks.) Also, if you come when your master calls, there’s no need to wear a leash. Isn’t that cool?SnowPrints2a
  8. Keep the house clean. When you come in from the outside, always stop on the landing to wipe your paws. Then check with your master—“May I go in?”—before climbing the stairs.
  9. Forgive quickly. If your master makes a mistake and leaves you alone in the house too long, let her know it’s OK. She already feels pretty bad about it. I know she always does her best.
  10. When a member of your family comes home from a long day away, be so excited to see them you can hardly stand it! Run to them. Express your love to them immediately and let them know how very glad you are that they are home. This helps them feel important. Because of course, they are.

Lots of Love,



Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Gone from My Side

Gone from My Side

Image | Posted on by | Leave a comment

Keeper of the Flame

Funeral remarks for Frances Willis
16 June 2016
Joel G. Hancock

2 Samuel 3:38 — And the king said unto his servants, Know ye not that there is a prince and a great man fallen this day in Israel?

It is entirely appropriate on this occasion to observe for anyone who might yet not be aware,… “know ye not that there is a princess, and a great woman fallen this day in Israel?”

Continue reading

Posted in Frances Lee Willis Anglesey | Leave a comment

Life Sketch

Frances Lee Willis Anglesey: Life Sketch
Thursday, June 16, 2016

I’m Alisa Anglesey, the oldest daughter of Ben and Fran Anglesey. On behalf of our family, Thank You for coming today. No one ever really needs to attend a funeral for the one who has passed on. They’re alright. And I imagine in Mom’s case, they’re probably still swapping stories at her Welcome Home party… going on Day 3, now.

But for those of us left behind: Somewhere through the haze of pain and grief, these barely perceptible pin-pricks of light making their way mysteriously through that fog: These genuine expressions of love and support—however small—help us see just a bit into the coming weeks and months ahead; and to know that life will go on as it must.

So, thank you: Those who are here; and especially those who have traveled great distances—at great personal sacrifice—to be here. We love you and are grateful for you.

Continue reading

Posted in Frances Lee Willis Anglesey | 1 Comment

Frances Lee Willis Anglesey

MomFrances Lee Willis Anglesey passed from this life surround by her loved ones Thursday, June 13, 2016, at four o’clock in the afternoon. She was born to Telford and Gertrude Willis one bright October day in 1929—the fourth of seven children. They all lived on an isle nestled in the protective sound between the mainland and a narrow strip of Outer Banks framing the coastline of North Carolina. Continue reading

Posted in Frances Lee Willis Anglesey | Leave a comment

One for the Road

One for the Road

A poem I wrote for my dialects class.  It’s a feel-good, thinkin’ kind o’ thing. <meta name=”p:domain_verify” content=”096e8b949c0c7d6b143a6b6225169bd8″/>

Continue reading

Posted in Gum on my shoe | Tagged , , , , , , | 1 Comment


If you see me in the hall appearing distracted
it’s only because I’m living on the verge of tears these days.
Not tears of sorrow nor of fear, but for the near constant state
of amazement that pervades my overworked consciousness.

Watching the gifts of money and time and support distill upon this endeavor
as a gentle dew, I am filled with wonder and consuming awe.
That anyone would share of their substance in such a way is to me
a divine act, worthy of profound respect and gratitude unending.

To those who have given of your means toward the creation of this film,
May God’s blessings attend you for your kindness, generosity,
and child-like faith in the imagined dream, though yet unseen.
These funds are sacred to me and will be managed with commensurate care.

I am speechless. And so I write the colors of my heart.
It’s times such as these that mere prose fails to illustrate
a depth of feeling unexpressed. Even poetry for all its pomp falls short.
And so I say with flawed benediction, “Thank you for believing! You ROCK!”


P.S. — You may view the final product here.

Thanks again for your support!

Posted in Gum on my shoe | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment

The Saratov Approach

The Saratov Approach

Saratov2 Continue reading

Posted in At the Crosswalk | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

A Case of “the Ben’s”

A Case of “the Ben’s”

No, I don’t mean, “the bends,” as in decompression sickness from coming up from a ridiculous depth on an undersea or outerspace adventure.  I mean, “the Ben’s” as in “the Chad’s,” or “the Michael’s,” or “the Derrick’s.”  Let me try this again.

For some reason, there are a lot of fellows named, “Ben” in my life.  Not least of which is my own dear father.  His name is not “Benjamin.”  It never has been.  It is simply, “Ben.”  His mother was a bit of a purist.

Continue reading

Posted in At the Crosswalk | Tagged , , , , , , | 4 Comments

It’s August… again.

It’s August… again.

Sometime, while you’re waiting at the dentist’s office or in a DMV line and have nothing better to do, take an inventory of the times in your life when you’ve had a serious injury or illness.  Note the time of year; perhaps even the month if you remember it.  If you’re anything like me—and really, I pray you are not, for your own sake—you may notice that there is a time of year that appears to be a bit more “dangerous” than the norm.  I’m really not sure if I’m alone in this, but I usually find that where there is one, there will be more.

Continue reading

Posted in Gum on my shoe | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments