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Are we there yet?  vol. 149 Thumbnail

Are we there yet? vol. 149

Why do people enjoy watching videos of dogs on a bus? I’m not quite sure but since some of these videos get millions of views, it’s clear that people do enjoy watching these videos. I find the story behind the videos even more interesting. Mo and Lee Thompson were childhood sweethearts in Michigan who visited Alaska for the summer in 2014 and are still there. Mo was working as a bartender, server, and hostess at a hotel restaurant while Lee worked as a server at the same restaurant.

At some point, she and a co-worker helped each other out by walking each other’s dogs. It soon became clear that Mo had more time than her colleague and others were asking for her to walk their dogs. Because the dogs were in different areas of the town, she and her husband bought a minibus to pick up and drop off the dogs as you can see from the picture above.  

Eventually they began taking videos of the dogs and posting them on social media for the owners to see but the videos have gone viral with one of the videos getting more than 50 million views. The dogs have been trained to board the bus and go to their assigned seats for the drive. One dog even waits outside by himself for the bus arrival. When the bus stops and the doors open, he happily boards the bus and goes directly to his favorite seat.   

The concept of the doggy bus makes me smile; the videos are hilarious, the path they took from walking dogs to a thriving puppy day care business demonstrates that humans are great innovators and problem solvers. The Thompsons never intended to live permanently in Alaska, nor did they plan to be in the pet care business. But they were innovative to turn a hobby into a business that they love. I’m hopeful that human curiosity and innovation will help our society to solve the big problems that we face.

Take care and stay safe. 


The Presence of Absence by Simon Van Booy

As a writer lies dying, he has one last story to tell: a tale of faith and devotion, a meditation on what lies beyond this life, and a prayer of gratitude that may lead to rebirth.

"Language is a map leading to a place not on the map," announces a young writer lying in a hospital bed at the beginning of The Presence of Absence. As he contemplates his impending physical disappearance and the impact on his beloved wife, he realizes, "Life doesn't start when you're born . . . it begins when you commit yourself to the eventual devastating loss that results from connecting to another person."

Infused with poetic clarity and graced with humor, Simon Van Booy's innovative novella asks us to find beauty—even gratitude—in the cycle of birth and death. Stripped of artifice, The Presence of Absence is a meditation between the writer and the listener, an imaginative work that challenges the deceit of written words and explores our strongest emotions.