This was the perfect night, the cool summer air refreshed by the afternoon thunderstorms. I was driving home, thinking about what I would have done once I arrived home, if my dog were still alive.

She would have danced around the front door with delight when I walked in, then eagerly darted to the back door. I would have stayed outside with her while she relieved herself, and waited while she sniffed every molecule of air in the back yard.

I would have taken her for a short walk, and then let her into the back seat of my car. We would have driven to the local beverage drive-through, where she would have eagerly received her dog biscuit treat, and mandatory ear rub.

She would not be ready to go home just yet, so I would drive the back roads to the next local town, lingering far too long at the stop signs so that she could sniff the crisp night air. Once she lay back  down, I would have turned around and driven home, where she would insist on fresh ice water before demanding that I throw her ball a minimum of ten times. I would sit at the patio table while she sniffed every molecule of air available. Satisfied that she had sniffed everything, she would finally agree to come inside.

We would have sat on the sofa, her head on my lap, those dog eyes staring up at me until I relented and petted her until she was almost asleep.

After the news, we would have prepared for bed. She would have insisted on sniffing every molecule of air one last time of the day, done her business, and then sat quietly beside my bed while I completed my pre-sleep routine.

I would have crawled under the covers, and then invited her up, where she would have made certain that I was not on her pillow. She would have snuggled up against my back before snoring so loudly that I would worry that the neighbors might be disturbed.

Sometime during the night, I would have woken up to yet another of her apparently hilarious dreams, and gently patted her head until she began breathing normally again.

Instead, I went home to an empty, quiet house.

My dog, rescued from the local animal shelter when she was barely three months old, lived to be almost fourteen years old. She was a good –no – great, dog, and I miss her terribly.

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