“As the world implodes around us, war and anger and bombings and terror, I am more and more inclined to watch my puppies run and play, hug my old dog, kiss my honey, find joy and beauty in every place I can. Turn off the TV (which I pretty much never watch, so that isn’t hard) and just focus on my tiny little square (well, rectangle, but whatever….) Change your own world first has always been my philosophy. So tonight I will hug and kiss those closest to me. I encourage you all to do the same. Just imagine if that concept could overtake the world…..”

This was a recent observation I made on social media. I was talking about the real world, but it made me think about the smaller “world” of dogs in which we all reside.

You might have seen the great article floating around that describes how the dog fancy “eats our own.” It is so very true. Whether it is in breed clubs, all-breed clubs or even just ringside, there is a terrible tendency to chew up and spit out those who should be our closest allies.

While our “tribe” circles the wagons in times of trouble, too often too many folks get caught up criticizing, maligning, second-guessing or otherwise running down anyone who doesn’t toe the proper line.

In the service of changing my own world first, I am spending the day playing with puppies, cooking for my people and savoring a cool morning.

And, offering you, loyal readers, a “mind tour” of a recent trip. I had a litter to evaluate in Astoria, Ore. and a dog show to attend in Silverdale, Wash. Since the Interstate was to be closed and experience horrendous traffic delays during the weekend in question, I chose the scenic byways and back roads to travel from point A to point B.

Astoria was, of course, the location of the Lewis and Clark expedition’s winter camp from November 1805 to March 1806. The Lewis and Clark National Historical Park and the re-created Fort Clatsop are located in Astoria. While the Journals of the expedition complain bitterly of four months of constant rain, our visit featured spectacular blue skies, warm sun and stunning views of the mouth of the Columbia River. Dozens of fishing boats on the river brought to mind William Clark’s description of the Chinook people who easily and frequently traversed the five-mile wide tidal influenced river mouth as being the “best canoe navigators I ever saw.”

Driving across the Megler Bridge over this enormous span of water is always an awe-inspiring sight. A right turn on Highway 401 takes you to Clark’s Dismal Nitch, the location where the entire party of 31 men, one Shoshone woman and a Newfoundland dog were stranded for several days during a violent storm.

Along Highways 4 and 101, the road winds beside tidal marshes, through forested hills and tiny little hamlets. Willapa Bay, home of the famous oysters, is along the route.

A 20-minute side trip to Aberdeen, brings those who are interested to the home town of famed musician Kurt Cobain, lead singer of ‘90s grunge band Nirvana. A newly minted 68-foot-long mural on a downtown building pays tribute to the local boy from a grimy timber town who became a worldwide household name.

On Highways 108 and 3 traveling north up the Olympic Peninsula, drivers pass Indian Gaming centers, oyster beds, working forests and more oyster beds. Bremerton boasts the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard, Navy Museum and tours of historic war ships. Ferries shuttle visitors, in cars, on foot and on bicycles, to the Seattle waterfront and back across Puget Sound every day.

The Olympic Mountains rise to the west in a layered vision of misty blue-green. Cutting sharply against the September blue sky, they look like a Hollywood movie set.

This was old home week for me, as I lived for many years on this peninsula and dearly love the dense forests and surrounding waters. Visiting old friends and eating great seafood. Reliving distant memories and making new ones. That is what it’s about.

Wherever you are. Whoever you are. Focus on making your own corner of the world a beautiful place. And sharing the joy with everyone in your circle.

As always, this is JMHO.