Yesterday our time with Jessie — our lovable, neurotic and blind golden retriever — came to its inevitable end.

For some while my wife and I have known it was nearly Jessie’s time… that the discomfort of living with glaucoma was reaching the point where — despite the medication and treatment — the pain and bother would overcome the joys of a full dinner bowl, of walks in the warming sun, of hugs, and treats, and just hangin’ out with fambly on a lazy Sunday morning. Over the past several months her tail-thumps have gradually lost their vigor, her appetites their keenness. Our overgrown pup — always present, and frequently underfoot — had taken to finding a quiet spot, an out-of-the-way corner.

In retrospect, it’s pretty clear she knew it was time, too.

Most of what I know about being a grown-up — about really being responsible, and accountable, and answerable for what I do and don’t do — I learned from my dog. I learned that you get out of bed in the morning even when you don’t want to, ’cause it’s not just about you. I learned there *are* such things as good habits. And that nobody’s above cleaning up dog poop.

My life has been graced by no small number of fortunate events, and by people with whom I’ve been privileged to share them. For this, I’m grateful. Now there’s a dog-shaped hole in my heart that will never be full again. And for that… for that, I’m grateful, too.

Good-night, Jessie.

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