For a few years, while growing up in my hometown of Rochester, New York, I had a little dog named Boo Boo, an adorable American Toy Shag.
When he died, everyone in my family cried, even my father was a "tough as nails" kind of guy.
Dad thought it was fitting to bury Boo's tiny body in my uncle's backyard where both my father and his many siblings grew up.
Decades before, when my father was a child, his favorite dog also died, and he cried then, too. But he didn't bury that dog in what had become his brother's backyard. Instead, Dad buried Boo in the empty lot that was behind the house my father grew up in.
Dad would have buried Boo there, too, next to his little dog's grave from the past. But on that lot now stood a gas station. So burying Boo directly in the backyard of my father's brother was the next best thing.
Either way, it was a fitting burial for two little pups that clearly meant a great deal to a whole lot of humans.
Everyone in our family used to say that Boo was part of the family.
And as I look back, that's exactly what Boo was, and remains, assuredly now waggin' his tail and little puppy smile in Heaven with my dad, mom, and all the loved ones I've known who have passed from this world.
And just like all the good human souls of my family who have passed on, I can sometimes feel Boo Boo sending me love from Heaven.
I can't really explain how that works, but it just does.
Animals, just like human beings, express love, too, while the very essence of who we all are is love itself.
Boo certainly taught that by example while he was on Earth with everyone in my family. He shared a kind of unconditional love and level of grace that was good to learn as a kid and to now employ as an adult.
Just the fact that the word "dog," when written backward, spells "God," has to be some kind of message, right?
Instinctively, dogs seem to respond to the vibrations they feel from their human companions. Dogs know when something doesn't feel right, if just by the tone of the voices that humans use when interacting with them.
There's a great lesson in that.
I'm wondering how maybe the world would be a much better place if we all walked around talking to each other like we talk to our dogs, or pets, in general?
Would it be such a bad thing if we interacted with each other in the same sing-songy voice that we use when we talk to our dogs?
It certainly makes our dogs happy when we do. And from personal experience, I certainly remember how happy it made Boo feel when I talked to him like that - and how he then joined in on the "conversation" with that unconditional love of his.
Oh, what a great teacher he was on Earth, and now remains in Heaven.