Mysteries of life on a desert road

We met another full-timer today.

Bridget, Spike and I walk down the dirt and sand road that goes past the water trough when a guy on an ATV comes along and stops.  I’ve seen him before and we’ve exchanged waves.  I introduce myself and the crew. 

He tells me his name is Bob and his dog’s name is Boswell. 

This is his last week camping at North Ranch before heading back to Wisconsin for the warm months.  Bob lives fulltime in a fifth wheel with slides.  It’s funny how many topics two strangers can cover in only a few minutes after meeting for the first time.  Fulltiming always makes for easy conversation.   

All the time we’re talking Boswell sits patiently on the ATV, gazing off into the distance.

Boswell pays no attention to the crew. Spike does not hop up and down and bark with excitement the way he always does when meeting another dog.

 I place my hand on Boswell’s back.  He slowly turns his head and looks into my eyes.  In that instant I sense a wave of – I’m not sure what to call it — steadfastness? peace? serenity?  I stroke his head and face while his black eyes hold my gaze.  What is it about this dog? Bob is talking, but my focus is on Boswell.  This is no ordinary dog. 

“My twelve-year-old Golden Retriever died last fall.  I got Boswell at the pound.  He was going to be euthanized.  They said he couldn’t get along with kids,” Bob explains.  “Of course, the kids were bothering him.”

“He’s a wonderful dog,” I reply as I continue stroking Boswell’s silky fur.

“Everybody up at the park (North Ranch) loves Boswell,” Bob reports proudly.

“I can certainly see why.” 

“Well, I’d better get going.  His fur gets hot in the sun, although he doesn’t seem to mind it.”

Before they leave I ask if I can take a photo of Boswell.  As I watch them ride away, I still feel the effect of the dog.  What an old soul.  What a very old soul.

Living alone in the desert bends one’s mind to reflection.

The photo is poor due to the bright light behind Boswell.

We walk back to our camp.  I notice the paw prints of the crew next to my footsteps in the sand as we retrace the path home. 

I wonder about Boswell.  My mind wanders. 

All that humankind has accomplished, the discoveries, the subatomic to the cosmic . . .  .

Here we are, thumping our chests, prideful of our scientific knowledge and the depth of our religious experiences, and yet, the older I get the more apparent it becomes that we hardly know anything at all.



About rvsueandcrew

Fulltime nomad
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68 Responses to Mysteries of life on a desert road

  1. Jim Melvin says:

    It is interesting that Spike didn’t bark at Boswell. It is almost like Boswell had an affect on him the same as he had on you. Interesting dog story.

  2. Greg and Jean says:

    I feel sorry for people who just don’t ‘get’ dogs…….they truly are the only animal on earth that loves you more than they love themselves….

  3. carol says:

    my daughters get dogs, just not house dogs,like mine are

  4. carol says:

    Boswell is justt appreciating his good fortune, AKA Bob.

  5. That dog hit the JackPot of owners to be adopted into such a wonderful lifestyle!

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      And to think he was at Death’s door.

      Bob said he wondered how Boswell would react to Wisconsin, seeing as he’s never seen so much green grass.

  6. strawberrypolly says:

    Great post. Brought to mind some of the great family dogs we have had. Boswell found a wonderful home with Bob. I know Spike and Bridget feel the same about you.

  7. Elizabeth in NC says:

    Boswell sounds (and looks) like he has some Blue Heeler (Australian cattle dog) in him. Our family has had them or ones with part Blue Heeler for over 3 decades…we simply cannot look at other breeds. They love “their person” or family and while they CAN play with other dogs, they mostly want human attention. Our last one died in Dec. 2010. We are not ready yet, due in part to our life direction the next months, etc…but also, loosing one of these kinds of dogs causes grief just like loosing a loved human!! REALLY!! How wonderful that Boswell was saved from extinction. Children are not taught properly today, for the most part, as to how to behave in any way…be it with humans or animals. No wonder Boswell had problems with them. Thanks for sharing this interesting interlude to your day!!

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      I’ve had some experience with Australian cattle dogs and I agree . . . they are unique. I’m sorry for the grief you’ve suffered through.

      And I agree with you also about children today . . . Too many (not all) have no manners, no self-control, and no consideration for others. It’s frightening.

      I’m glad you enjoyed today’s post.

  8. Elizabeth in NC says:

    PS…I so agree with you…we really know basically nothing at all!! I think that is part of the wisdom that comes with age, or certainly should at least!!

  9. Sherry says:

    Wonderful pensive post Sue. It is so true how arrogant we are and what we think we know when in fact we are so barking up the wrong tree! Animals know far more than we. I’ve had dogs, cats and horses who were clearly much more mature and intuitive and patient than I. Lucky Bob to have found Boswell. Lucky you guys to have met him and recognized him for who he was. GREAT story.


    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Thank you, Sherry. You know, I often put Bridget in a poor light on my blog. She really is a sensitive and loving little creature. Her eyes are always on me so she can anticipate what I want and know what I’m feeling. She makes accomodations for me and Spike all the time. And he can be a real butt-head sometimes (me, too). I don’t think I could put up with what she does!

  10. Donna P says:

    I enjoyed your philosophical reflections today.

  11. One of these days, if I work very, very hard, I may be half the creature my dog Homer is. Something to work and live toward. Bob
    Sue wrote:
    “I wonder about Boswell. My mind wanders.
    All that humankind has accomplished, the discoveries, the subatomic to the cosmic . . . .
    Here we are, thumping our chests, prideful of our scientific knowledge and the depth of our religious experiences, and yet, the older I get the more apparent it becomes that we hardly know anything at all.”

  12. We know nothing, we just think we do.

    Sounds like a great experience meeting Boswell.

    Snow has melted here. Getting warmer.

  13. Ron says:

    Nice, thoughtful read today Sue. Animals have an all knowing air about them, and then again they can act as children and find the smallest thing and send you into a belly laugh. I without a doubt get along with animals better than humans. My Golden died 4 yrs. years ago when I was living in a tent trailer, I now have a motor home and trying to get up whatever it takes to do what you are doing. Dogs are among the pets that love their human counterparts more than themselves, even if it means risking their own lives. How many humans can say that?

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Comparing humans to dogs when it comes to the capacity for love — no contest!

      I think Golden Retrievers are a wonderful breed. They are beautiful, intelligent, hard-working and sensitive, among other things. I’m sorry for your loss. I know from experience that 4 years is not a long time to grieve an animal friend.

      Best wishes to you, Ron, getting together “whatever it takes” to do what I’m doing!

  14. Nita says:

    Could I borrow your statements at the end and repost them to my facebook page if I give you credit? They are profound and so true!!!

  15. Maribeth says:

    I agree with those who posted that Boswell’s behavior is based on him being rescued just before being euthanized. A cat my husband rescued from the pound the very day he was to be euthanized acted quite the same way. Very calm, very peaceful, and we too always thought he was an old soul, in fact my husband thought he was a very old cat and come to find our he was just a young fellow at the time (maybe two). We sadly lost him Christmas 2009. Sue, it sounds you have had a great couple of days in the desert.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Rescued animals have gratitude. I used to foster dogs, taking them off of Death Row and caring for them until homes were found by the organization I volunteered for. I came to believe the dogs knew what was going on at the pound. They also could tell when I drove them up to their adopters’ home. They’d be full of joy.

      I don’t know about cats. Sounds like yours was very precious.

      • Geri says:

        Radar was 24 hours from being put down. He had heart worms and nobody wanted to pay for the treatment. I did and I will never be sorry for it! Neither will Radar, he is the sweetest dog!

        • rvsueandcrew says:

          . . . and just a little weird-looking. LOL!

          • Geri says:

            Wierd looking? 😦 He’s just a mutt! No papers, no high dollar sign attached to his name. Radar is just a mutt who is sweet and smart and loves me. I’ll take weird looking for those benefits!

            • rvsueandcrew says:

              You know I meant weirdness in the most wonderful way . . . I don’t think there’s another dog on the planet with a face like Radar’s. I loved him the minute I first saw him.

              • Chuck says:

                Sue, you haven’t seen weird until you see Radar on the street steps with his nose pointed into the 60mph winds we had…..the wind raises his ears and he looks like the ‘Flying Nun’…if he wasn’t so chubby, he’d takeoff I think!!!!!

  16. Teri says:

    You just made me cry. I volunteer for a german shepherd rescue group, and am amazed at the wonderful dogs we get from the shelters…dogs people have basically thrown away. I rejoice for every one we save, and my heart breaks for every one we can’t. Thank goodness for people like Bob, I only wish there were more so no animal would die in the shelters.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Thank goodness, too, for people like you, Teri! It’s rewarding working in rescue, but it also can be maddening seeing the heartlessness of people. You have to focus on the ones that can be saved. I’m sorry I made you cry!

  17. Pam Perry says:

    Always – experiencing the desert is so spiritual. The beauty of the sparceness – the quiet – so serene. Boswell seems to carry it with him. What a wonderful dog!

  18. Donna K says:

    What a thoughtful post. I think rescue dogs are especially wonderful. They seem to know they have been “saved.” And we, their people, are especially lucky when we find them.

  19. Chinle says:

    I have four Blue Heeler mixes, all rescues. I can’t imagine life without dogs, even though to them, I’m mostly just the bus driver and cook.

    Better than them being the driver and cook – we’d be offroad chasing rabbits and eating roadkill all the time. 🙂

    Great post, Sue.

  20. Good post. Animals are so much deeper then some people realize. All mine are rescue animals which I think are the best. My little cat who passed away in Jan. at 6 years old was an amazing little creature. Everyone who knew him Loved him so much. And he knew a lot of people !! He was an old soul. I miss him so much but he was a dwarf and had a tought time physically. You can see him on my facebook page a little ways down it. Levi the Munchkin. Some animals just seem to have been around longer then others (meaning their souls!). Some touch people more then others but we Love them all , dont we.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      I’m sorry for your loss of your beloved Munchkin. You were fortunate to know him and to be his person. Still hurts though when they leave . . .

  21. hobopals says:

    There’s man named ARA who has a blog called “Oasis of my Soul”. He rescued a pit bull who was as close to being euthanized as he could be. He named him Spirit. He rides in a side car attached to Ara’s motorcycle. ARA lost his son, Lance, and if it weren’t for Spirit I wonder if Ara would still be among us. As any of us who have lost someone so close to us, the battle against grief goes on every day.

    I found Ara quite a while ago and his words touch my heart. I’ve never forgotten how he fought to get Spirit and save his life. It’s in this particular part of his blog.

    I find Ara’s words and photography to be almost hypnotizing. I have come to love Spirit–you used the term “Old Soul”, Sue. There’s none older that Spirit.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      I’ve read Oasis of My Soul for years, too! His story and travels are fascinating. Thanks for putting the link here. And then there’s the comfort Spirit gives to help Ara through each day.

      It’s worth going to the site just to see Spirit in his Bite Me helmet! Hilarious!

  22. Chuck says:

    Our favorite breed is Rescued!!!!!

  23. Emjay says:

    I had to look up Boswell again just to be sure my “remembery” was right. Boswell is a name that has now come to mean “constant companion and observer, especially one who records these observations in print.” (Wikipedia)

    I think this dog is aptly named!


  24. Bill says:

    Hi Sue- Definitelky a BACHELOR today! For some source of inspiration, I decided to check into the rvsue and crew, well you get it. . FYI, Kathy has a Tweeter site, it’s her name followed by her ham radio call. It’s ‘Kathyn0hqu”
    We have a Yamaha Grizzly four wheeler. A camper at the park had a sick dog and the vet bill was going to be overwhelming! /we are dog lovers but could not help him! But he had a brand new 2008 machine with 20 hours on it and we acquired it. (Had to go to AZ to pick it up. When we got back to NM and the lake, we were told we could not use it in NM! Friends in AZ (hams) said you can drive them anywhere! But NM!!!! Nope! So it sits in a storage garage in a non disclosed location. BUMMER Oh well, you’re new friend reminded me with his 4 wheeler. The dog was a bonus!!

    Typing quick…without K, the dogs check everything out, even when I’m typing! I already spell things like F O O D… But they are on to it! Well. LOL and stay safe! Don’t fall in love without taking a survey……CHEERS-BR. kids[

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      So you helped the dog indirectly by buying the Yamaha Grizzly. I wonder why they aren’t allowed in NM.

      I know you’re going to be glad when Kathy comes home from her trip. . . . the dogs will, too! I imagine the dogs thinking, “Oh wow, the big guy can spell food.”

      Hang in there, Bill, you’ll survive!

  25. Page says:

    A wonderful post. And the comments are bringing tears to my eyes. Many animals, even “farm” animals, are so grateful when rescued. When you look them in the eyes, you can feel the depths of their souls. It’s amazing.

  26. It is a true reality that Spirit and I have saved each others Life… Strange you mention that as I was just writing what would I have done without him… I know what would have happened without me him being 2 days away from that always Mondays euthanizing days. (Reason the shelters close on Mondays). I cherish my Friends as I truly found out while isolated in Death Valley for over a month, yet, it is never the same… My Friends, Society in itself, well, they are busy… and busier! Spirit?… He is busy living as I do…
    Wonderful entry and happy to feel that you… also feel.
    Have a Great Day… this is a very good start of one…
    Ara and Spirit

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hello, Ara!

      I want to thank you for your writing over the years, and, of course, for your excellent photos. Most of all, I thank you for sharing your joys and pain, your losses and gains, and, of course, your relationship with Spirit. What a precious pal he is for you!

      Back in Georgia where I used to have a house, I’d go to the pound on Tuesdays to choose a dog to foster until a home could be found. Wednesday was Kill Day there. Some of the dogs I couldn’t take out haunt me to this day.

      And then there are the Spirits . . . the ones who assume the work of holding us together, healing our wounds, bolstering our spirits, and feeling our pain . . . and they do this work with endless patience and enthusiasm, and pure joy for the privilege.

      Best wishes to you both!

      • Thank You!!! Spirit is from Georgia, Lumpkin County Shelter…
        I look at your spaces and I tell myself “how come we have not been there?”!!! Of course a Lifetime is never enough.
        Glad you enjoy the little challenges daily that presents themselves… They become a way of Life!
        You all be well… Ara and Spirit

  27. Geri says:

    While we are talking about resued animals, I want to mention Desert Haven Animal Refuge. This is the best animal rescue I have ever visited! In fact my next blog will be all about it! Besides offering animals a safe place to live, they also offer a beautiful little cemetery for your beloved fur-kids. They also have one thing I find totally unique, a workamping program! If you want to visit the Truth or Consequences NM area (see our blog) a good way to explore this area is to volunteer 20-30 hours per week and get FHU for free at the campground there! The link is below!

    In the Volunteer section of our web site, we have an entire page reserved to information on volunteering /work camping at the sanctuary. It may give you some information I may have omitted here.

    • Chuck says:

      We’re helping Desert Haven with a little time now and then as we’ll be heading north soon. It’s really a unique place. Visiting days are Tuesdays. Only a couple of minutes off the I-25 at south entrance to T or C.

  28. Karen says:

    What a truly beautiful piece of writing, Sue. Isn’t it a wonderful thing when one is able to experience something that causes such reflection? I think that I’m very fortunate to have a dog who is obviously an old soul. She looks into the eyes of those she meets and there is some kind of knowledge she expresses that is almost eery. I love her with all my heart and hope she is with us for a very long time. She will be 11 years old next month. Thank you for all of your posts.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      You’re welcome, Karen. You must understand the quality I was trying to describe about Boswell if you recognize the same “old soul” in your dog.

      I wish your dog good health and a long life . . . . and the same to you, Karen!

  29. Ed says:

    I adopted my traveling companion, Patches, out of the Sierra Vista Shelter back in October. From what history the Shelter had I am her third person. Why she was given to the Shelter I don’t know for sure but I was very lucky to get her. I think she has Hip Displacia so with what I think is an onset of Psoriatic Arthritis myself we make a great pair.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      I wonder if our dogs are destined to be with us. I’m glad Patches is with you, Ed. I’m sure you take good care of her and she takes good care of you!

  30. carol says:

    please read LoneWolf byJodiPiccoult,it describes wolves as Nya ing that same look,.Good book, as all of hers are
    Jean Great post this week

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