When I was young, I wanted to get a dog. My Mom said, no, we (mom and dad) both work and it wouldn’t be fair to the dog. So, I had lots of other friends: cats, parakeets, turtles and bunnies. On Saturday mornings, I would walk the mile to Adams Doggie Shop in Richfield to see and pet all the puppies in their cages with torn newspapers on the crate floors - smelling of puppy pee and energy…I thought it would be the best job in the whole world to work there when I was bigger!

My first dog was from Colorado. I got her at 18 when I left college and travelled “west” to explore the country along with 2 girlfriends. In 1973, it seemed a lot of young people were on the move, restless, traveling around the country forming co-ops and living in groups and communes. It was towards the end of the Vietnam war. Estes Park, where our car broke down, is at the entrance to Rocky Mountain National Park and the entrance to the Front Range. It almost acted like a funnel - as kids left home and poured across the plains they filtered through and up to the rugged mountain peaks. It was a very different time then. I got my puppy from some very kind owners and picked her up on Halloween - when they said she was old enough to go. I was so excited! I can remember holding her little body tight against mine, inside my zippered blue sweatshirt, watching the mountain evening close around us…I have not been without a dog since…

It seems that precious memories fall around us in fall, bathed by autumnal glows of remembrance. The faint fall sunshine seems to shine sideways-instead of straight down as in summer. In response, my soul kind of squints to remember things. I know that we are all being loved and accepted by our dogs and pets, they are on our tree of life. Even when they go, their memories hang on and float peacefully down.