People ask me all the time do I like living on the mainland.

My mom raised us to be the best people we can be and then to reach out and help others be their best selves. If we can do that then where we live doesn’t matter.

Two years into Oshkosh I’m not ready to say I’m glad we moved. Change is hard. Change at 63 was harder than change at 20 or 30 or 40 or 50. When we are those ages we expect big changes, we want those changes and we work hard to finish school, move on to better jobs, have children, buy houses. But at some point, we are settling into life as it has fallen into place. When unwanted change comes it’s hard.

People constantly mention the weather and wonder how I’m faring. Weather is a state of mind. Here it means more clothing, a car that means you won’t get stranded in a snowstorm, shovel and salt, and stocking the freezer in case the snow is really bad.

But people are people no matter where you go. Good ones and not so good ones. The big thing about moving is finding a community.

Yesterday was my first day wearing my red Rotarian badge. Those of you familiar with the Rotary know what I mean. I’ve done my first service project and have scheduled a second. I’m a greeter next week and will find the best way I can serve. I’ve joined the Chamber of Commerce and am active in my neighborhood association. I truly believe that this is how we handle change. We find ways to help our communities and that’s what I am doing today and every day I can. A big part of that is the NEW PAWSibilities community.

One thing that has come out of the wreck and headaches and move is that I have a dog. No, we have two. In a zillion years, I never would have thought we’d have two dogs. And now I live a life immersed in dogs and trying to find them homes. Dogs are people connectors. Nothing sparks a conversation or begins a possible relationship like dogs.

I’m proof that you are never too old to learn, to try new things, to embrace change. Would I have voluntarily moved here from Hawaii? Absolutely not. Would I be doing a 5K on Saturday to support dogs? I think you know the answer.

Year to date we have rescued nearly 90 dogs a month and with the nicer weather, those numbers are going to go higher. I’d like to think that my being here in Oshkosh has helped a little bit. And the people who get dogs are becoming the best them that they can be because of their dogs.

Thank you for allowing me to be a part of your community, for letting me share stories and find ways to rescue and home dogs. Thank you for sharing your stories.

We all must tell our dog’s story. Because stories change the world and stories build community, break down barriers, and make life livable.