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Yesterday was the second anniversary of Flash’s death.

Isn’t it odd, but the first anniversary kind of just slid past. This year I started thinking very strongly of him beginning last week. I couldn’t figure out why he was so much on my mind until I noticed the date.

Stanley has done a lot to help me cope with his loss. Figuring out what Stanley is going to do from day to day keeps me occupied. Yet I’ll always have a space in my heart where Flash used to be.

I love watching vet shows. I especially like those shows like Supervet where the doctor pulls out all the stops and saves the animal. I listen and watch stories of people who love their dogs unconditionally and feel a kinship to them.

Have we always loved dogs the way we do now? Or has our increasingly distant society encouraged – accidentally – a closer bond to our pets? I don’t know.

Flash was the first pet I had all by myself. He was strictly “my dog”. When my other dogs were alive John lived with me. Maybe that has something to do with the bond I felt with him. He became my de facto child, my dependent.

I’ve often tried to analyze the terrific grief I felt at his loss. It buffaloed me. I was stunned at my reaction to his death since it was unlike anything I’ve ever known. I’m beginning to think that there is something to the idea of the cumulative power of grief, that each successive loss is piled on top of the previous one.

Or maybe it all comes down to the fact that we share so much with our pets. We confide in them. We show them our true, authentic selves. They see us naked, sick, lazy, and watch when we eat that something we’re not supposed to eat. For all our flaws, they love us without reservation.

Can we do any less?

So, on this second anniversary I’m conscious of how blessed I truly am. Not only to have known and loved a great dog, but to realize that Flash’s legacy is to remember him with a smile and a deep reservoir of gratitude.