Time and Chance and the World’s Oldest Dog


Well, it happened again: I’ve gone years since updating my blog – 3 years, 1 month, and 14 days to be exact. (Beating my previous record of neglect: 2 years and 19 days.)

When I published the previous post, I was stuck in the USA, unable to return to Madagascar because of the Covid-19 Pandemic. Since then there have been a few things I could have blown wind about (each of those words links to one of those things).

For example: As Joe Biden was winning the 2020 election, I was scouting locations for my wedding in Madagascar with my then-fiancee. And the wedding happened. So, yeah, I’m married again. And I have a backlog of unpublished sketches, and I’ve written a few songs. I also turned 60.

And none of that – nothing in the past 3-plus years – rose to the level of blogging. Until…

Bobi, the World’s Oldest Dog, Blew My Mind

Life is weird, as you certainly know. And where you are now depends on an infinite number of contingent events. Time and chance happen to us all, is my favorite line from a particular book that is otherwise loaded with bad fiction and sketchy wisdom.

But all this “time and chance” hit me hard today when I found out about Bobi, the world’s oldest dog – who turned 31 earlier this year. Coincidentally, Bobi and I share the same birthday.

World's oldest dog ever celebrates 31st birthday

My first blog was a dog blog. I started blogging in 2005 after the death of my beloved Cameroonian dog, Chamba. Had Chamba lived to be Bobi’s age, he’d still be alive today! Where would Chamba and I be?

It’s mind boggling to think of how many twists and turns my life has taken in the 18 years since he died – a marriage, a divorce, coming to Madagascar, a second marriage.

Since Chamba’s passing I’ve had two dogs in my life who both lived normal dog lifespans then died (Skulda and Howard). Today I have three dogs in my life in Madagascar (Fotsy, Mainty, and Pauline) plus the idiot dog buried in the yard, who ate chickenwire and died before her first birthday (Clarabelle).

Pauline and Mainty
Pauline and Mainty

Imagining Chamba at 31 is also like erasing the last 18 years, and filling it all in with another life full of new contingencies I can’t quite imagine.

Eighteen years ago I was living in Maryland and in a long-distance relationship that seemed futile. We were experimenting with a communications blackout, and trying to gently break it off. Then Chamba died and I needed a sympathetic ear. I broke the silence and resumed contact with my future first wife.

If Chamba had somehow kept on living, would that relationship have soft landed as we had intended? Would we have both moved to Arizona? With a 31-year-old dog I might still be living in my condo in Maryland today. I’m 100 percent sure I wouldn’t be typing this from Madagascar.

Having lived merely an average dog lifespan, Chamba allowed for the contingencies that resulted in the innumerable events and decisions that brought me back to Africa – where Chamba was born 31 years ago.

So that’s what inspired me to blog here again. Thanks, Bobi.

Time and chance happen to us all.

More to come. Or maybe see you again in three years.

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