Two years ago, my youngest Dalmatian, Mac, broke his leg in three places while colliding with his older brother as they jumped high to compete for a ball. He had a twelve inch metal plate and twenty screws implanted to save it from amputation. You can still see the bumps under his skin and it…

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I call out Cody’s name but he does not respond. He does not wag his tail, or even look to me for reassurance. His body is stiff, his mouth foaming, his legs paddle in the air, his eyes have rolled back and have no visible iris. He is in the middle of a grand mal…

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How did I get through the loss of Gulliver, the dog of my heart, to whom I dedicated Bespotted? How did I put away my grief and return to living and enjoying myself once again? The answer is a simple one: I bred a litter of puppies. Two years after Gulliver’s death, we sent our girl,…

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Writers keep bizarre schedules: some compose late at night, some early in the morning, some whenever the urge overwhelms them. I am a disciplined early riser–or should I say that my three Dalmatians are early risers who tromp all over me and my blankets until I get up and feed them at 6:45 a.m., just…

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Spring arrived yesterday with the vernal equinox. Two daffodils and a yellow and a purple crocus have popped up in the small, curved garden alongside my driveway. Every year, I have the same surge of hope for the new season, with all its blooms and possibilities. But today, it is rainy and raw, and those…

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This morning, Breeze got up from her padded armchair–which we have allowed to become her dog bed–and walked across our room to greet me. I was slipping out of bed, ready to take her downstairs to potty and eat breakfast, when I noticed she was holding one paw up off the ground in an exaggerated…

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Autumn came bright and early that year. My toddler and I wandered down the sidewalk over a carpet of leaves, one that created a riot of color crackling under our feet. I held his hand as he balanced himself, precariously, on a low stone wall. Periodically pain streaked, low and mean, through my belly. For…

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Hope seemed out of the question. As we returned home from Long Island, where we had celebrated my grandson’s first birthday, we were mired in non-stop traffic when my cell phone rang. The call was from the dog sitter. While vying for a tennis ball thrown up high, Mac and Cody had collided mid-air, and…

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Our trip over President’s Day weekend to visit my son, daughter-in-law and six-month-old grandson did not begin auspiciously. Before we even arrived in New York, our brand-new dog sitter phoned to tell us that, while she was throwing the ball in the rec room for fetch–crazy Mac, (our youngest Dal), had crashed into the wine…

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