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January 2, 2023

Happy New Year!  I can’t speak for you, but I’m glad we’re moving out of 2022.  Highest inflation in over 40 years, fuel prices double from when Donald Trump was President, interest rates climbing, a border that is easier to get through than a wet paper towel, and a lazy and irresponsible media that lies to you every day and pretends they are telling you the truth.

But one thing that has been a wonderful part of 2022 is that my wife and I started the year with 2 wonderful new puppies.  We actually got them the week between Christmas and New Year’s. 

Gumbo is a Cavalier King Charles/Bichon mix and Bandit is a Shi-Tzu/Bichon mix.  They aren’t blood brothers, but don’t tell them that.  They are virtually inseparable. The love to wrestle, chase each other, and sometimes make big messes.  But these boys have brought a lot of joy to our lives in a year that otherwise would have been at times rather depressing.

I often say “I wouldn’t live in a world without dogs,” and I really mean it.  During the past year, these 2 guys have taken more of my time than I had, caused me to do a lot of cleaning up behind them, replacing things they chewed up, and trying to figure out what they’re barking at.   But through it all, they have given a level of loyalty I sure never experienced in politics, and a steadfast love that is a true taste of God’s unfailing love for us. 

You may wonder why I’d start my 2023 newsletter talking about my dogs.  And the honest answer is, “Because I could!” 

But there’s method to the madness.  I’m convinced that dogs bring people together.  It’s hard to frown when looking into the eyes of a puppy.  It’s hard to think about harsh divisions in our nation and world when holding a puppy in your lap. So I just think a lot of our problems would be solved if people got a dog.  Maybe Democrats and Republicans would still disagree, but not be hateful about it.  And dogs can teach us a lot about being patient as well as grateful for even the smallest thing, like a tiny treat. 

I don’t mean to imply that all of 2022 has been unpleasant.  Our daughter got elected Governor of Arkansas and will sit in the old seat I sat in.  She will be sworn in in less than 2 weeks and start her own journey of leading our state.  We’re proud of all three of our children, but they have their own lives and careers.  We do as much baby-sitting of our 7 grandchildren as we are allowed, but when they aren’t there, having the dogs fills the house with activity, love, and of course noise.  Lots of noise.

Some of our friends thought we were crazy to get two dogs at the same time, but it just doubled our delight to watch them grow, play, and show us their unconditional love.  So, we’re starting 2023 with hope and anticipation and year-old puppies that got us through this past year.  From Janet and me and Gumbo and Bandit, Happy New Year, and may God give you a great year, and maybe a puppy of your own!

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  • Priscilla Senecal

    01/09/2023 09:11 AM

    You made me smile today. Thank you!

  • Bobbie Mace

    01/09/2023 07:33 AM

    Good Morning, Gov. Huckabee,

    I couldn't agree more about the love of dogs. After morning treats, going outside twice, getting breakfast and playing Hide and Find Blue (his favorite toy), Winston, my ten pound miniature Yorkie has allowed me to drink my now cold first cup of coffee. He has squeezed into my recliner with me and has filled the remainder of the seat beside me with his warm little body. When I wake each morning, I thank God for the love he brings and gives so freely. His playful nature keeps me moving much more than I would without him. He has also after a few years even won over my gruff husband who now follows him around the house at the lift of his little anxious raised paw. So we both are moving more. At Thanksgiving time, I took in an almost one year old Chocolate Labrador Retriever in an attempt to re-home him. What a blessing it was when our son, Adam called and said he wanted to add "Waylan" to his family and present him at Christmas. So we got to keep him for about 5 weeks or so. Believe me, I can feel your pain over the daily disasters they can make. And as much trouble as he was, AND HE WAS TROUBLE, I have shed many tears missing him. Don't they get into our hearts quickly? That 70 some pound "puppy" would crawl up in my lap sometimes with only two of his huge long legs and other times with all four. What a love he is! Now I know and am comforted by the fact that he is giving all that love to Adam's family with his 2 year old son, Lincoln and 8 year old, daughter, Madi. Winston now has me once again all to himself, as he prefers. He NEVER did tolerate Waylon, or even allow Waylon to LOOK at me. He would strike at Waylon like an angry snake, yet Waylon never retaliated. Our home is peaceful again. Life is good. God bless you, your family, your work and give you all the blessings you can handle and MORE. Fondly, Bobbie Mace, Mountain Grannie 678-524-2626

  • Eleanore Alter

    01/08/2023 09:12 PM

    I always enjoy and agree with your daily column.Today,however was the best. Dogs come straight from God to give us love,devotion and we must love them tight back.We have 2 king shepherds that play together all day. Yes,Johann chews up stuff .Sometimes he makes me furious. I just need to look in his beautiful eyes and I get past it. Everyone that I know and respect loves dogs as my family does. Dogs are just plain wonderful,big or small.

  • Philip G Dixon

    01/08/2023 08:35 PM

    Happy New Year Governor! May your worst day in 2023 be better than your best day in 2022!

  • Julie Guenther

    01/08/2023 03:09 PM

    It is lovely to hear about your dogs and I applaud you and your wife for giving them a loving home. Those are interesting mixes! My husband cannot consider being a dog person but I have rescued, raised and loved a huge variety of dogs over the years. He is a loving and patient cat person, however. In our 8 years of marriage we cared for his older cat who since passed on, and then we adopted 2 more. We are old! In a way I am not sure either of us would be able to cope with dogs of any age, due to a few mobility problems but cats are easy. Easy to love, to be loved by, and to snuggle with. But for many years of my life previously, dogs have saved me emotionally and physically and even kept me moving after various surgeries. We are lucky people here on earth that God has granted us such critters to share our love with. I am so happy for you.

  • Steve Sowers

    01/08/2023 02:16 PM

    Well said, Governor!
    Puppy pics please!

  • Dawn Lafferty

    01/04/2023 02:21 PM

    Dear Governor Huckabee,
    I’m so so glad to have had the chance to read your current comment. I love you and your wife for posting this. At almost 70 years old my husband and I have a five year-old German Shepherd and a two year old jack Russell mix. Both rescue dogs. I fully understand when you state,
    Who could not melt when looking into the eyes of a puppy. This is how we both feel. Caring for two dogs at our age is a bit difficult and I worry about getting older and not being able to handle canines, as I too can’t imagine not having canines in my life.
    I think I speak for all shelters for individuals like you who continue to care for those little creatures in need!
    Thank you for all you do,

  • Becky Jantzen

    01/04/2023 08:37 AM

    So glad to hear about your puppies! We'll need to see a picture one of these days. I'm glad the boys get along so well and long may that continue. I've always been a dog lover too and I certainly agree that you can't frown when looking at a puppy. In fact, the reason I know many of my neighbors is because they're dog owners and that gives us common ground right off the bat (and why I also know my neighbors as "Maggie's parents" and "Tucker's parents"!) Maybe Congress should allow therapy dogs to roam the halls to reduce the stress and bickering (since heaven knows some members could use therapy in one form or another).

    From me and Roy (my bassador), Happy New Year to you and keep up the good work in 2023!

  • Donald Davidson

    01/03/2023 11:29 PM

    My wife and I once got 2 dogs at the same time about 50 years ago.. They were litter mates. They looked almost identical. They were half Doberman, quarter black lab, and quarter Border Collie. Zeke and Zeb. Smart lovable dogs. Easy to train. They learned some actions on their own like how to lift the latch on the yard gate but not go out until told "Okay". Had one 10 years the other 11 years. We were crushed when we lost them. Good luck with your Gumbo and Bandit.

  • Sandi Dover

    01/03/2023 05:02 PM

    Thank you for posting about your dogs! 2022 was a hard year for me physically, and 2023 is starting on a very good note. One of my sustaining gifts (besides my loving family) has been my 11 year old Bichon- poodle mix girl. My husband has carried a heavy load, but his 5 year old Corgi-Aussie mix boy has been his joy. Our daughter had lost her Morkie, and was so sad. After a time of grief, she got a new puppy mini Aussie-toy Pomeranian. They have given our life so much comfort, fun, and joy! Dogs indeed teach us so much of the good stuff!
    Congratulations to Sarah!