About Me

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Spofford, New Hampshire, United States
Jeff Newcomer has been a physician practicing in New Hampshire and Vermont for over 30 years. Over that time, as a member of the Conservation Commission in his home of Chesterfield New Hampshire, he has used his photography to promote the protection and appreciation of the town's wild lands. In recent years he has been transitioning his focus from medicine to photography, writing and teaching. Jeff enjoys photographing throughout New England, but has concentrated on the Monadnock Region and southern Vermont and has had a long term artistic relationship with Mount Monadnock. He is a featured artist in a number of local galleries and his work is often seen in regional print, web publications and in business installations throughout the country. For years Jeff has published a calendar celebrating the beauty of The New England country-side in all seasons. All of the proceeds from his New England Reflections Calendar have gone to support the Pulmonary Rehabilitation Program at the Cheshire Medical Center. Jeff has a strong commitment to sharing his excitement about the special beauty of our region and publishes a weekly blog about photography in New England.

Saturday, July 4, 2015

Travels with Nellie


Who can explain the connection we have with our dogs? They are a source as well as a recipient of unconditional love, but it is much more. We lost our sweet, wonderful Nellie this week and she has left both an emotional and physical hole in our lives.

Nellie's Spot
Nellie has been showing her age in recent months, moving more slowly and less rambunctious on her walks in the woods, but she seemed to get as much joy as always from her favorite activities, being near us and being touched. On Monday she had her usual morning walk, but later in the day
she became increasingly lethargic, breathing rapidly. By the time I got her to the Vet, she needed to be carried. She had a large bleed from an abdominal tumor, probably on her pancreas and there was nothing to do but relieve her suffering. It all happened so suddenly that we couldn't possibly have been prepared, but for Nellie, it was mercifully quick and painless. Susan and I were close to her, speaking softly and rubbing her behind the ears as she drifted away.

Nellie Arrives in a Storm
Nellie joined our family as a puppy in 2002. She came from a liter that was expected to be pure-bred Soft-Coated Wheaten Terriers, but mom apparently had other ideas. We think that the father was a Giant Schnauzer, but, whatever the mix, the results were wonderful. Nellie was loving from the start and insisted on sleeping between Susan and I on the first night. She loved walks, and going frog hunting in the lake. Despite her frequent leaps, she never caught anything and wouldn't have had a clue what to do if she had. In the winter Nellie enjoyed prancing through the snow, periodically flipping on her back to create her own version of snow angels. She was always friendly to strangers as long as they kept petting her. She was excited to be chased by other dogs and had a typically raucous relationship with her sibling Sammie, who lived nearby. She was good with other dogs, but following years of torment from a local Jack Russell Terrier, she triumphantly bite the annoying little mutt firmly on the ass. We all cheered, but sweet little Nellie acquired a criminal record.

Frog Hunting

The feelings of the loss that accompany the death of a beloved pet can't compare to loss of a parent, child or close friend, but Nellie was such a integral part of our daily lives that her passing leaves holes everywhere we look. Nellie was a calm and loving soul. She watched me closely as I moved about the house and lay close whenever I settled at my desk or on the couch. Her eyes had gone a bit milky in the last few years but she could still melt your heart
As long as touching was involved
you could do anything.
with her warm gaze. She could never get enough touch and would wantonly roll onto her back inviting belly rubs. If someone stop touching, she would lean in and flip the person's hand into the air with her nose. For me, touching her  was intensely therapeutic and I still find myself reaching out for Nellie in all her favorite resting places about the house.

With Abby on Gap Mountain
I will miss our walks about the village and along forest trails. Even though she was getting stiff, she still became excited with the mention of, "Let's go for a walk" or "a hike in the woods". So many of my best images from around our village came with her at my side. 

Time to Head Home
On the trail, she was remarkably patient as I took my pictures and seemed to understand when I said "Nellie get out of the shot". "Ride in the car" was another of her favorite phrases and Nellie was a wonderful companion on my photography drives. I'm sure she had no idea what I was doing with that black chunk of metal supported on those spindly sticks, but she loved the road, the wind in her face, and she absolutely hated to be left behind. She also had a certain look that always reminded me that, "It's time to head home".

At the Gorge,  Thanks to the Sentinel's Michael Moore

Travels With Nellie

I apologize for these highly personal reflections, but this week I don't think I could speak of anything else. I know that our pain will ease over time and at some point we may even welcome another dog into our family, but Nellie will always hold a special spot in our hearts and memory. We feel incredibly lucky that she shared our lives for so many years and she will always be deeply loved.

Good Puppy Nellie

Nellie's Picture Gallery

Jeffrey Newcomer


  1. I am so very sorry for you loss Jeff. This is a beautiful tribute to your beloved Nelley.

  2. I lost my fur baby Yankee 9 years ago and I still cry for him and miss him. I completely understand how you feel.

  3. Professional photography . Well said for shared on public .