I loved that dog. I felt that she understood me better than anyone else in the house: we both liked the Polish ham better, and we both preferred blueberry muffins. We also liked the same people, if the dog took off after a person, I would develop a dislike for that person.
I loved her for her loyalty.
When my oldest nephew was a toddler he got out the back door at my parents’ house, the dog cornered him at the top of the driveway so he could not go out in the street.
I loved her for her grit.
One of my brothers left the house to go to school and came back a few hours later to what he thought was an empty house. Then he heard a soft voice,
“Hello? Hello? Is anyone there? Help me. Help me, please.” There was a pause, then,
“Help, please, this dog has me cornered…”
That my brother understood. He followed the voice down to the basement and there was the gas-meter man cornered over by the meter. Our dog sat and showed her teeth every time the man moved.
I loved her because she was fierce.
The neighbor kids knew more about her teeth than we did. We were part of her pack, the neighbor kids were not always appreciated and the dog was not shy about showing her teeth at them. She could show how she felt, I could not. But I loved her and I loved to curl up next to her and I loved trying to get my breath to match hers. “One day, one day,” I would think, “I will take off after clowns, and I will be worthy of you.”