Family and Friends – What Makes a Family?

Hi! It’s me, Ollie. Autumn is in full bloom here at Skygate Farm. James took an airplane ride the other day and flew over our home. It is so beautiful here.

Skygate Farm 13-Oct. 2016

Yes, it’s like all the trees have decided to flower into brilliant colors from lemon to scarlet. If you’ve never seen anything like it, you must plan on visiting Vermont next year at this time. Of course, my favorite part is chasing the vibrantly painted leaves as they blow around from the wind bringing in the cooler nights and shorter days.

Colorful leaves Ollie likes to chase.

Yesterday, James and I were hanging around outside because the temperature rose into the upper sixties. When I looked at James, he had a serene smile on his face, as if he had found paradise. Well, that’s what he told me after I asked him why he was looking so content.

“There are few days in one’s life where the planets align,” he said. I asked him what planets were, and he gave me a treat and said, “Astrologically, we are walking on the planet Earth. On this special, life-giving sphere, there are billions of humans making up the family of Homo sapiens.”

The planets aligning.

Well, I told him that it was my understanding that he, Ron and I were a family. What did all these other people (and no other dogs, I want you to know) have to do with our family?

“We are all connected, and interconnected, through time and space,” James then said.

With that I rolled my china-blue eyes and ran off. When I came back, begging for a treat, which, I might add, James was more than happy to give me – he loves me – I asked him what time and space were. His lips rose at both ends and his eyes began to sparkle. I knew I was in for another treat, so I sat.

“All of mankind, and all the animals on the planet earth, are one big family. We exist because of one another, and we shelter those who are unable to fend for themselves.”

I had to think about this, so I ran after another couple of leaves. James was getting too philosophical for me. [Yes, I know what philosophical means: 1) relating or devoted to the study of the fundamental nature of knowledge, reality, and existence; and 2) having or showing a calm attitude toward disappointments or difficulties.]

“What makes a family?” I asked when I came back to James. He looked up at the trees with their bountifully flamboyant leaves, blowing and swirling within the air, and thought. Taking a deep breath, he looked back down at me and kneeled, taking my face in his hands and giving me a kiss.

“Love makes a family.”

Now, I have to admit, I was even more confused. Don’t get me wrong. I love James. He loves me. He loves Ron. I love Ron. Ron loves me. Ron loves James. You get the picture. We are a family. Then I asked how the billions of humans on the face of the earth could be a family. The things I’ve seen on the big rectangular screen don’t lend themselves to there being a family of “man” on this beautiful planet.

Behold, Seurat would love this.


“The main criteria of a family is that they usually live together,” James said as he scanned the Seurat pointillized horizon. “If you think about it, we are all living together on this planet we call earth. We might disagree or argue, but we are bound by….” Then he paused. “We should love and care about one another, but, come to think of it, we don’t.”

Tugging at James’ pant’s leg, I politely asked him to come down from the fifty thousand feet in which he appeared to be hovering. I agreed with him that it would be nice if the lion were to lie down with the lamb, but, come on, that’s not going to happen. So while it might be nice if we could all get along, we don’t. So, what makes a family?

“Love makes a family,” James said again. “It starts with love and ends with love. Next is the caring or concern we have for those we call family, whether it’s one mom and one dad, or two moms and two dads.”

“What about me?” I asked, looking up at James.

“You?” James asked. “You are like a foster child we have adopted. Beyond that, Ron already has five children, so when we married, we became a blended family, even more so when you joined us.”

It’s interesting that a family isn’t limited to only blood relatives. Families can be anyone who is close or dependent upon another for care and support. Close friends also make up a family. I agree with James that it is the love that binds us together.

Besides James and Ron, I have a family of friends who play together at Wagmore Kennels. Another family consists of my four children and their mother. James also has family in New York City and in both South and North Carolina. In fact, James has family around the world. I hope to go around the world with James some day and meet all his friends who are my friends, and family, too.

Until then, who is in your family? How many different families are you a member of? What is it about those families that make them special? I’d love to know, and so would James.

I always enjoy hearing from you, so please leave a comment on this blog post about this or anything at all.

Until next time,

Social Media: Facebook & Twitter = Time Vortex Holes
Sir Oliver of Skygate Farm (you can call me Ollie)

PS: You can check out my earlier post on Family and Friends – the Worthy and the Ruthless

Paw Prints courtesy of
All photos © James Stack 2016 unless otherwise indicated

3 thoughts on “Family and Friends – What Makes a Family?

  1. Great blog post!
    “Until then, who is in your family? How many different families are you a member of? What is it about those families that make them special? I’d love to know, and so would James.”
    My family? Well, it’s complicated. 😉 But they are all very special to me. You are right – “It starts with love and ends with love.” Beautiful!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Ollie wanted to mention Dragon as being in his family. It was my decision not to include her. He was quite angry with me, but since he loves me it is all forgiven. It’s the seriousness of the blog he was posting that required I not include her – I hope you understand.


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