I meet a dog on the leafy streets of my hound-mad neighborhood, lounging on a bench in the shade. Small, fluffy and impossibly white; a Zen portrait of a clean conscience and absolute faith. My heart gongs when I see her.

Sgniezka Puppy Love

I move in closer and notice that she is resting on a pair of knees. The trousered knees of a markedly old man. Knees that have been in the trenches, traveled the world, and seen more action than a virtual game.

At first, the decorated Polish war vet and grateful family man tells me he’s 85, then 90, 95 and we’re pushing a century. What’s five years, give or take? We laugh at his confusion. He says, I won’t remember you the next time we meet.

The pooch and I exchange a look of such pure connection, I am floating. Her eyes are deep water. There is no guile there, nothing but surging love. I swim and a wave overtakes me.

The old man’s voice cracks. He tells me, she’s dying. She’s dying of tuberculosis. He says, my heart is breaking. He says it three times, there is no confusion. I look into his face and I wonder how many times his heart has been broken… and repaired. She is only five years old, not yet middle-age for a dog. What is five years, give or take? What is it? I bend down on my knees, put my ear next to her mouth, and she tells me.

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For Part 2, click on-  Puppy Love, Part 2: The Resurrection

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FAN THE FLAMES: My dear readers, would you help produce this series of love stories about an old man and a puppy – as a book?? If so, please…

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