Love, loss and labs.

Last night Woody and I met a friendly neighbor just around the corner. Thanks to random encounters with strangers, Mr. Woods is starting to become a social creature. This has been one of the many goals we’ve been trying to achieve as this sweet creature from the pound slowly develops a sense of security.

First the guy said hello and then he ran in to get his dog so the two could meet. When it comes to other dogs, Woody is goddamn happy spaz energy machine. We stood there watching as the ritual began—running, wrestling and rolling around in the dirt.

Naturally, while the critters did their thing, the neighbor and I struck up a conversation. He offered some history about his dog and I ran through a list of Woody’s milestones. Somehow this led to a discussion about pets we’d both had previously. He mentioned a lab they’d lost years ago and I went on about Jez.

“Losing that dog was one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to deal with…it felt like losing a member of the family,” I said, thinking about the charming old chocolate lab that brought so much joy to our lives.

The other guy paused for a second. I could tell I’d stirred up a memory. He looked at me with an uncomfortable smile.

“We lost our son last year…28…I can tell you that it was worse than losing a dog,” he said, slightly trailing off toward the end.

At that point, I didn’t know what to say, so I kept my mouth shut. Woody and I eventually made our way home. When we walked through the door I took an extra second or two to appreciate my life and the amazing living things that make it better—both human and canine.

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