Not long ago I spent a few days sorting through a large box which had resided in the attic for the last quarter century, since I became a Vineyard washashore in 1997. The carton was filled with negatives and random photographs from the 1980s and 1990s. People and places I didn’t always recognize. However, there was one individual I did see: a younger, thinner, dark haired version of me. What has happened?

Turns out I am getting old. I will be 75 on Feb. 4.

I felt maybe I needed a change. Although I eat well, exercise (by walking) almost daily, I thought I could use a shot in the old arm, a boost to youth, not just Covid. For example, last week I bought two books of stamps at the post office. Then I lost them. Three days were spent retracing my steps, checking pockets and drawers, wondering, and worrying what was wrong with me. Yesterday my wife Joyce walked into the guest room in our five-room bungalow, and there were the stamps. Oh, my.

We decided to get a dog. We put a name in at Sandy Paws and were soon interviewed by a person and a dog. The first dog we saw chose us, a three-year-old miniature Schnauzer who cuddled in my lap, sniffing my mask. I was sold. So was Joyce.

After the interview, Joyce and I went for a walk in the West Chop Woods. I walked ahead. A woman with a Yorkshire terrier approached. I kept going but Joyce stopped. I waited and after a few minutes I returned and introduced myself, ready to add to the canine conversation. But they had not yet got to dogs; Joyce knew this woman from bygone years, and they were catching up.

But already I realized our lives were about to change. Even without a dog I was already talking to dog people. We have a name picked out too: Kutter, who hopefully will be coming home with us soon, maybe in time for my birthday party, which will take place at a Zoom cocktail hour rather than a grand party. That’s fine with me. Omicron and winter weather pre-empt party time. My daughters, Amy and Jill, sans husbands and kids, plan to fly in, masked, from Los Angeles and New Orleans, respectfully. Joyce and I will welcome them with a small family dinner after the Zoom bash.

And Kutter will be there too to help celebrate my birthday and in ways I can’t even imagine.

Thomas Dresser lives in Oak Bluffs.