Please accept my heartfelt gratitude for all of your kindness over my recent loss. It has been a strong source of a much-needed support. I have made a little keepsake fascicle by printing up everyone’s offerings including personal contributions listed in GrouchyOldMan’s day log and prefaced the collection with etouffee’s wonderfully observant and poignant It is difficult to wake up to the empty spots. I shared these mementos with my family and hubby says it is so very generous of you all to take the time and make use of your talents as condolences. It is a priceless gift.

Finding The Perfect Puppy has been a vast undertaking; we think it may have been born on March 1, 2003. After several attempts to locate her we finally discovered her at the Humane Society. When we arrived there were several puppies that met our desires but they were all spoken for. Then we explained our situation to Sarah at the front desk.

    After losing both our dogs in the span of forty days our friends and family have sent us on a quest to find the Perfect Puppy. They would like it to…
    and here I opened up the packet and began to read
    ... be smart as a whip, be fierce when necessary, be patient and be a bit strange looking. Make soft dawgy snoring and friends with everyone, except the UPS guy. She should have a wet nose, be all licks for cuddling and playing and have floppy ears with a wagging tail.

    She must be willing to sit and stay; will live at our house and go to Obedience School her salary will be bed; board; and love. At obedience school we will teach her to systematically chew up any garment, clothing or footwear which has fallen out of fashion, thereby ensuring we are all perfectly trendy and sharply-dressed.

Then Number One Son took over because the words ran together while the paper became wet and blurry. Clearing his throat he continued:

    The perfect puppy will be required to ask questions while roaming the desert because Mom will answer the new puppy's questions, just as she did the old ones; with love and affection. This is what a well-loved dog does, and this puppy will be loved.

    We really like big dogs, so this puppy must get bigger and be magical enough to soften and heal the hardest of hearts and stubbornest of minds and that's possibly the most perfect thing of all. She’s required to possess a love unflinching that cannot lie-- in exchange we will give her our hearts to tear.

By now more than a few people had gathered around to hear and Number_Two_Son asked for his turn to read:

    This litter of humans would like their Perfect_Puppy to never let us out of her sight. We promise never to berate her while giving her a stern look for chewing up our favorite shoes. She will forgive us for taking longer than 30 seconds to open the door so she can go outside and will be waiting patiently for us a half hour before we actually walk in the door.

    The Perfect_Puppy will bravely and single-handedly take on houseflies, strangers, and any scraps of paper that happen to be lying around. Insist on going in and out through her favorite door, a hundred times a day while constantly monitoring the perimeter and reporting back. All new furniture will be suspect until she has had a long nap on it. She will spend hours doing something completely pointless, because even perfect puppies should have a vice.

    The Perfect_Puppy will, in fact, not be a cat,
    and it was here that everyone broke out in broad grins
    …but bark our names with a special rough magic and never after 9 PM. She would wake us up with wild licking therefore eliminating the need for any annoying alarm clock. The coolest thing about this perfect puppy would be her ability to clone herself so we will never again have to experience the sadness of another lost puppy.

We placed the packet of papers back in the envelope and put it away. By now several people were parading their brand spanking new perfect puppies around on new-fangled leashes enjoying cookies and doing their patented Perfect Puppy dances.

After a long drawn out pause I wondered, Would it be to much to ask if it could look like a Flat Coated Retriever?

Then Sarah sighed a deep deep sigh and with a resolved look of determination pulled us aside:

    I’m not supposed to tell anyone…
    then leaning over the counter she whispered,
    …but, there was a litter of newborn Golden Retriever pups dropped off this very morning. Half of them are female and all of them are black so they will have the look of a Flat Coat and be part Retriever. Sadly though the owner would not let the mama dog nurse them so they are in a foster home where they will be bottle-fed. If any females survive we will call you in four weeks to adopt her.
And we were so excited because we knew the Perfect Puppy had sent Sarah to tell us about her arrival. A Lhasa Apso watched as we filled out all of the Proper Perfect Puppy Paperwork and on the way home we said to Number_Two_Son that because everyone in our family had had a turn at naming a dog, he would get to decide on the Perfect Puppy’s name. So he declared,
    The Perfect_Puppy’s name will be Generic_Dog_Name and we will call her Jen.

Be strong Perfect Puppy, and let your spirit take courage while we keep hope in our hearts for you.

And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.
-Colossians 3:14 (NIV)