My Maizee girl crossed the rainbow bridge in February. She was diagnosed with cancer in December. I found out 50% of dogs over ten years old, die of cancer. Recent studies suggest lawn pesticides for the high rate.

But enough of that, let me tell you about my Maizee girl.

She loved Elysian Park. We went on the daily. I’d put on my headphones and jazz walk the loop while she chased gophers, ran in wide, glorious circles at top speed, and made friends with all the German Shepherds.

She understood me. I could talk in full sentences and she knew exactly what I was saying. We were best friends.

She was, as they say, a little bitchy, but only to men, who touched her right hind quarter in a friendly way. She never broke skin in our ten years together! Phew!

It took her about three years to get comfortable with us, she didn’t love freely. She hated trash trucks, specifically the sound of the lift in motion, and black hoodies on big guys. She wasn’t really fond of food, even though I made it myself, with the finest ingredients. She would check out storm drains on our walks. She was thinking ahead, or looking for her babies.

But she settled. We fell in love.

We did art together.

She loved the beach. Last year on holiday, she would sneak out of the house and go lay in the white sand. She really liked being hot. I assume she already had the cancer then, but we didn’t know. If only they could talk.

Look at that smile.

I was in mourning three weeks ago, when my Johnny insisted we meet this crazy lady.

Marla June.

 I didn’t want her. But so it goes, turns out I needed her. I’ve never had such an affectionate pup.

So here I am still in mourning, and kissing the face of a smelly pup who was skunked in our back yard the first week here. She STILL smells, but damn, I love her so much.

Dogs. Gotta love ’em. And they will, love you back.