The dogs tell us about love, life and
death. They prepare us if we just look.
The big ones tell us most quickly be-
cause they don’t last as long as little
ones. We’ve had four big ones and are
now on our fifth — all Chocolate Labs.
The first at ten jumped out of the car
and froze his hind legs. He cried so
hard on the day we had to put him
down. He heard my voice as I entered
the vet’s office and he waled. And
then we did, too. The second, the
first of the rescues, lasted a year
giving us his unconditional love and
appreciation before the cancer went
to his brain. We figure he was about
ten. The third, another rescue, was
the one who ran like the wind and
wouldn’t come out of the water when
we called. By grace we had him for
six years. His throat froze with
paralysis. He suffocated. We figure
he was about ten. The fourth rescue
lasted four years. He would sit and
stare at us with kindness and over-
whelming appreciation. If I didn’t
feel well and would lie down on the
couch, he would come and lie down
next to me. He collapsed from liver
cancer and sepsis. We figure he was
about ten. And now we have our first
female, a magnificent breeder dog.
She was six when we adopted her. Now
eight, she has significant arthritis
in her hips. We know what’s coming.
Because of their love and their lives,
their suffering and death, we know
what is coming for us. They tell us
everything we need to know. All we
have to do is listen and look.