The saddest thing about most “dog” books–if you read them you know the kind of books to which I’m referring–is that the dog dies in their ends. It’s the ever-present fact of life for most pet owners. You will outlive your beloved buddy. When we take a puppy home, we ignore this fact. He’s just so young and care-free, and sort of a handful right now. As he grows into his future self, the dog-man you’ll know for the majority of his life, we ignore this fact. He’s my buddy. We hang out together, and my worst day can be made one of my best with a simple dog-hug from the guy who’ll love me no matter what anyone else thinks of me. For me, that dog is Scooter, and my heart hurts to bid him farewell here. I’d rather be upstairs getting him a treat, or letting him lick the stuck-on cheese from a nacho plate beside me while I watch Jeopardy. Buddy, you’re allowed to stay. You don’t have to go. My life would feel kind of hollow without you. To this proclamation, I imagine him saying, Thanks for all the food, all the companionship, and your love for me. I want to stay with you. But it’s my time. I’m going to a place where the plates always need licking because they’re always full of corned beef, the geese always need chasing, the beds are always comfortable–and formed perfectly to my body. I’m going somewhere it never rains and there’s always bunnies to chase after. And one day, when the time is right, I’ll be back down here to get you. In the meantime, let people know what a good, caring, lovable, awesome, cuddleable, curious, pup I was, and how much I meant to your family. Okay, Scooter, I will. I wish I didn’t have to do this. I wish I could just get you a treat, or go to the door and answer one of your one-paw knocks with: “Come on in, Scoot. I’ve missed you!” Scooter C. Dog March 21, 2005-April 22, 2015. Words seem inadequate to describe you and our deep connection, let alone to memorialize you. Love ya, buddy. Always. I always wanted to publish a book and tell you about it while you fell asleep on your dog-bed. Now I’ll write in your memory.