Spoiler Alert: The following is the sequel to this furry little tale.

I thought she was a goner. Dead dog walking. The old man told me she had canine TB and less than six months to live. Our sadness embraced.

After I fell hard for his pooch, the old man invites me home to meet his wife. He tells me they have been married since 1949. For 40, no, 50, yes, 63 years. He says she’s the brains of the family, and the beauty. A massive stroke, she frets, he repeats himself, he can hardly move. But he keeps moving.

He asks if I want to see how beautiful she looked at their wedding, how beautiful, how beautiful, and I restrain myself from jumping up to help as he struggles to get out of his seat.

Like the old man, the story of his wife’s youth is a dazzler of survival. Poland, circa WWII. Dead family, lost friends, war, starvation…the works. The little dog and I listen raptly scarfing biscuits as their epic stories intertwine like the branches on their tree-hugged balcony, winking in the afternoon sun.

It strikes me: love is life’s response to death, the only thing that outlasts it.

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Turns out, the old man’s memory skipped a beat. It was his late brother who contracted TB as a young soldier, not our fluffy puppy. And he wasn’t the only one who had it wrong. The vet had diagnosed fatal leukemia and advised the old man and his wife to put her down but they flatly refused, and then one day, just like that, our hungry, little heroine wakes up, scarfs down macaroni and gets her groove back. A battery of tests, a horrible mistake, and she’s not sick after all!

We thought she was finished.The old man beams. His wife smiles. The dog laughs.

See/click on Puppy Love, Part 3: Never Say Die-

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