July 4, 2022 – I grieved hard for my Latte, who was the dog equivalent of St. Francis of Assisi — a little hairy mammal (Latte, not Francis) who radiated universal benevolence. She was a consoling, healing presence during the worst of my struggles against depression and cancer. In a very real sense, Latte was a better person than I am — a daily practitioner of the hardest parts of the Sermon on the Mount. She was meek, merciful (except to those godless squirrels), peaceable and pure of heart. At her departure, I was the one who mourned. For most of my life, I lived in dogless ignorance and would have mocked such sentiments. (It is so typical of Homo sapiens to regard heaven as their own exclusive club.) I now hope that cross-species friendships of such intensity do not end in permanent partings. Everything truly good in life must leave some eternal imprint. Or pawprint. When I am not crying in my sleep, I now feel such gratitude for an animal willing to comfort another animal during some of the most trying days of his life. All without expectation of reward — except the occasional dried pig’s ear.


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