Thanks, everyone, for your kind thoughts about dear Anna. She was a black standard poodle, smaller than most, with a big smile and enormous affection for everyone she ever met. We all love our pets, but usually that love is a family matter. Every once in a while, though, I've come across a dog whose love and goodwill combines with a kind of graciousness that extends out into the larger world. Anna was that sort of dog, and yesterday, after she died, I began getting notes from many people who were grateful for the sweetness she had extended to them. Most touching were the comments from the young adults who had grown up with my sons, who recalled her as a constant of their childhood--a dear face welcoming them into the house. It means so much to me to know that they have treasured her goodness and her open heart.
When we move to Portland, we will get another dog, and we will easily learn to love it. But Anna was a once-in-a-lifetime gift. We will not see her like again.