bringing joy to people 6

Zeno was concerned about me after my operation to remove a benign neck limpoma, at Mangue waterfall, Feb.’18Zeno (2005-2022) brought joy to many.  That, I believe, was his purpose in life.

He was a handsome Lab, a good specimen of the breed.  Consequently, quite a few people wished to take his picture, including the Captain of Rodônia’s main highway rescue team and a vet in Las Vegas, NM, while many others spontaneously shared compliments, such as “Purdy Dawg!” mostly along Blue Ridge Parkway stops.  Zeno attracted attention.

For this and other reasons, he was a great travel companion, an ice-breaker who sparked many a conversation.  I brought Zeno nearly everywhere, and he was almost always welcome.

But the attraction wasn’t only to his good looks, it was to his innate joy and playfulness.  He liked to show off.  At more than one public reading of my books, he stole the show with laughter rippling from the audience.

He was always game for adventure.  Besides the 96,000+ miles of roadtrips together, we went on numerous bike rides and several hundred 4 hour hikes in Brazilian serras – without mishap.

Zeno got me out on regular morning and afternoon walks in all weather with my old Nikon FM.  A decade of such walks in our colonial town in the interior of Brazil led to a B&W photo exhibition at the local Cultural Center.  A similar exhibition of images from our many Serra hikes is in the process of being set up.

Zeno was my travel companion, faithful friend, and muse.  He will be missed.  [please hover over images for captions]

In case you missed them, here are several album/posts on Zeno’s heroic adventures in both the U.S. and Brazil that fill out his remarkable life and story:  [if album does not appear at first, refesh page until it does]

Borderlands Zeno 1

Brazilian Zeno 1

Brazilian Zeno 2

Borderlands Zeno 2

About ben

Ben Batchelder has traveled some of the world's most remote roads. Nothing in his background, from a degree in Visual & Environmental Studies at Harvard to an MBA from Wharton, adequately prepared him for the experiences. Yet he persists, for through such journeys life unfolds. Having published four books that map the inner and exterior geographies of meaningful travel, he is a mountain man in Minas Gerais, Brazil who comes down to the sea at Miami Beach, Florida. His second travel yarn, To Belém & Back, received a starred review from Publishers Weekly. For more, visit

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6 thoughts on “bringing joy to people

  • Jessica Stedman Guff

    What a sweet old gentleman Ben. You must have loved him so very much. We lost our dog of 15.5 years two years ago. Such wonderful memories and so much pain. I hope you find comfort soon, perhaps in the eyes of another puppy. We adopted two rescues (as it took two dogs to fill our Snoop Dogg’s shoes) and are enjoying their puppyhood. Loved your photos of Zeno as a puppy but the wisdom and love in his old eyes won my heart. Drew and I always enjoy hearing from you and about your exploits.

    • ben Post author

      Thank you Jessica for such lovely comments. Sorry to hear about your Snoop Dogg’s death. One of great dogs’ many lessons for us is how to grieve. Zeno came weeks after the early death of my last black Lab. I think I will take a break this time. One reason: the evil geniuses at CDC have banned any “dog importations” from 3rd world countries, which until they reverse such bureaucratic fiat precludes my taking on a new one. I so appreciate your and Drew’s unflagging friendship all these years!

  • Steve Posey

    Dogs are the best! My wife & I have a 4 year old Border Collie named Buffalo Bill. He comes from a long line of western show dogs, including his mother, aptly named Annie Oakley. I would include a photo but there doesn’t seem to be a way to upload pictures to the comment box. Bill is a blue merle which is a black & white & grey mix and very handsome. Border Collies are smart, lively dogs. Sometimes deceptively smart. I talk to the dog a lot using complex words and sentences, honestly thinking that he understands what I’m saying. That is, until my wife reminds me that the only word the dog really took in was ‘Go.’ As in, time to GO for a walk.

    Sorry to hear about Zeno’s passing.



    • ben Post author

      Congrats, Steve, I’m not surprised you have such good taste! My mother had a tri-color Welsh Corgi, what a treat. Border Collies are quite high energy, if I recall, so the GO word must be very welcome. Not to boast, as I went overboard with my first black Lab, but he fooled us into believing he understood quite a few commands, including Go Get followed by a specific toy. But most importantly, even if not following the exact wordage, they understand the sentiment. I look forward to seeing a pic of Wild Bill. Email perhaps? I appreciate your kind words.

  • jawhara

    i wish i had met Zeno …What an amazing soul …you were both so fortunate to have had such a long time together ….may zeno rest in angelic peace. God be with you and give you patience to ease the pain of losing Zeno . I am sure you are missing him …A Zeno 2 may come along soon to help you .Love and light dear Ben xxx

    • ben Post author

      Dear Jawhara, you are the best! I forget: what year did you visit Brazil when we met?
      I so appreciate your friendship, right-thinking, and big heart.
      A Zeno 2 is not possible right now, due to the evil geniuses at the CDC who barred all “dog importations” from 3rd World countries starting last year (Zeno slipped through in August due to an exemption no longer given for Miami). Only when they return to sanity (a tall order these days) and reverse themselves will I be able to travel back and forth with a new faithful friend. The CDC is so corrupted it needs to be disbanded, with its responsibilities sent back to the states. (Neither health nor education was delegated by the Constitution to the Feds, so it should be easy once Rightists retake the levers of political power and the Uniparty is thrown out.)