Dear Juno

I can’t believe it’s been a year.

Tim and I miss you deeply.  Still, I’m so grateful when you visit my dreams, even the ones in which you just pass through for a short cameo appearance.  Those are as precious as our memories of you.

So much has changed this past year, and so many of those changes have been inspired by your spirit.  Once again, I’m helping people full-time with their dogs.  All of them want what we had, a meaningful and abiding relationship, clear communication, love and affection.  Every time I succeed, I thank you.  You taught me so much.

Juno (1998-2009)

I wake up every day to your picture on my dresser, and your paw print on my nightstand.  Tim and I live with two dogs now who came from pretty bad situations.  Stella reminds me a lot of you, serious at times, an old soul.  You would like her, unless it turned out you were too much alike.  Stewie is small, flighty and impetuous.  He needs one of those scary “air bites” you reserved for your favorite puppies.  I think you might like him anyway, mostly because he means so much to Tim.

Auntie Gay looks after them both, and Stosh.  She also tends to your special place in the garden.  There’s a pretty bouquet of fresh fall flowers there today.  I know she misses you too.

I speak of you often, Juno.  Though, today it will be difficult.  Tears are still too near the surface.  Tonight I’ll teach a week-one Good Manners class, just as you and I did so many times.  Stella will play your part, admirably for a 16 month old puppy.  She won’t have your flare; she won’t get the laughs you did, but she’ll do fine.  I’ll teach the class, and take care not to call her by your name.  I’ll teach the class, and take care not to tell a story that would make me cry.  I’ll teach it the way we used to, and in my heart I will dedicate the class to you.

Love, Daddy Michael