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The first dog that broke Rheta Grimsley Johnson’s heart was a yellow Lab named Mabel. Mabel was not Johnson’s first dog, but she was the one that transformed her from owning a dog to having a dog in the family. Mabel also was the first of a string of dogs that taught Johnson lessons about life and living simply.

Johnson has recounts what she learned in her newest book, “The Dogs Buried Over the Bridge.” She will share some of those lessons at the winter general membership meeting of the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at Auburn University, or OLLI at Auburn. The meeting will be Wednesday, Jan. 18, at 10 a.m. at the Clarion Inn and Suites at 1577 S. College St.

A native of Colquitt, Ga., Johnson grew up in Montgomery and graduated from Auburn with a major in journalism. She began her career as a newspaper reporter but found her true calling as a columnist, roaming the South finding universal meaning in the lives of ordinary people. She is also the author of several books.

OLLI’s general membership meeting will be preceded by an information fair from 8:45- 9:45 a.m. for OLLI’s campus and community partners to share what they do. An orientation for new OLLI members is scheduled from 11:30 a.m. until noon. Cookies and coffee will be available all morning.

OLLI at Auburn is a membership program for learning in retirement for senior adults, 50 years and older. OLLI members enjoy participation in academic courses, health and exercise activities, and other learning opportunities on an organized basis. OLLI members also enjoy a number of other benefits, including Auburn University library privileges, auditing of University courses and use of Tiger Transit.

OLLI at Auburn is a program of Auburn University Outreach, Office of the Vice President for University Outreach. For more information about OLLI at Auburn and winter term 2017 classes and programming, call Linda Shook at 844-3105 or email her at