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For Elsie, a great dog

Ace is my heart dog, my once in a lifetime dog, I think.

But I’m lucky.

I’ve had two heart dogs.

Brittni was my first.

She and Ace would’ve really hit it off. Two of the world’s most gentle souls:

Dogs that stick real close when given the freedom to choose. Dogs that remain gentle in all circumstances. Dogs that hike for miles, swim and retrieve sticks. Dogs that appreciate doing nothing.

These are my heart dogs.

I wish their lives could’ve crossed, but they did not. One lead me to the other, as dogs tend to do.

Golden retriever and woman wearing golden retriever shirt!But this post is not about my heart dogs.

This post is about another great dog. A dog that got “lost” between two others. A dog that never had the chance to become truly mine.

Her name is Elsie.

Elsie shares all the best qualities of my heart dogs, really.

And more.

My parents adopted her when I was in college, during that strange time when your parents’ dogs are part of your family, but also not.

I lived with Elsie for a few summers, and I think of the hikes I took with her and Brittni. Brittni, still a young dog. Elsie, still a pup.

The two would bound ahead on the Luce Line trail west of Minneapolis, always checking in, always watching. They were not brave at all.

And when Brittni died too young, Elsie was there to help us all grieve. She was there for walks and comfort, to chase sticks and balls. To goof off when needed. She still does these things.

And then for a couple of months, Elsie was my only dog. A link between a past dog and future dogs.

And although she is not my heart dog, Elsie loves with her whole soul.

Elsie is all heart.

She looks to me with eyes that so clearly say, “You are all I need.”

And I thank you, Girl. Thank you.

I need you, too.

Elsie the golden retriever

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