Back in the day, before I was a dog person (in other words, before the Pack Leader confessed that all that was lacking in his life was a dog and we ended up with Dinah), there were two dogs I loved: Shep, a border collie who lives with my friend Leslie, and my friend Sandi’s golden, Jordie.  Whenever we saw either of them, I would pet them and love them and talk with them.

And the Pack Leader would say, “See, you are a dog person.”

And I would say, “No, I’m just a Jordie and Shep person. I don’t like dogs.”

Both of these dogs, as dogs and all things do, have gotten on in years. This week Jordie’s people did the difficult and compassionate thing and gently released him from a long wonderful life that has recently been full of pain and confusion. You can read about his life and his last days at Sandi’s blog–warning, bring tissues because you will cry, but you’ll laugh, too–rarely has a dog been so loved.

I hope Sandi will forgive me if I tell my favorite Jordie story (and I hope I don’t mangle it). One day she and her daughter were sitting in the floor playing cards, one of those games that involves putting cards down on the floor between the two players. Jordie sat and watched them for a long time, then got up and trotted off deliberately to another part of the house. Before long he returned, holding a business card in his teeth, and gently laid it on the growing pile of discards.

Sandi says the business card had been in a wastebasket in another room. Which, as I see it, means that Jordie knew about it, remembered it, grasped that it was needed, retrieved it (as retrievers are wont to do) and dealt himself in. This complicated little bit of behavior blew me away. A dog could do such a thing? I was astonished. And just a little bit won over.

Goodbye, Jordie–lover of carrots, player of cards, prince of longevity, friend (and so much more to his family who is missing him).

Shep, you hang in there, okay, buddy?