I save things, a paper hog. Just ask my husband. Yesterday was the 15th anniversary of our first date. Movie and dinner. He opened the passenger door, took my hand and never let go.

Last night he was on another date, a bro-mance with a co-worker, his wife and kids and mother and others for some event. I missed him but someone gave me a shortbread cookie for my celebration with the old dog Zoe, getting older by the day.

We saved Zoe, and I saved Nathan, Chani and Mick Dundee (Mickey). I helped save thousands of cats and dogs over many years, as a volunteer through shelters and spay/neuter clinics.

A new neighbor has a young, small cat who has a voice that would drown out a Baptist choir. My Nathan (Burmese, rip 1987-2001) never let me get the last word in until the pink liquid “cured” him of congestive heart failure exacerbated by pneumonia and his ashes went to feed flowers at the pet cemetery.

I told our new neighbors that I get a kick out of “the voice,” perhaps she should be on The Voice! One day I thought it was a baby crying. It only goes on for a minute or so, probably when she is left alone. Hey, Nathan talked back to me for 13 years and Mick was raised by Chani the dog and and taught himself to fetch crumpled post-it notes, sail over the sofa and retrieve. Dogs in the neighborhood used to run away from home to play with him. They all have talent.

Chani’s talent was to get over abuse by men and children and love them again. I helped her do that through training, trust, love. I had to break the news of her death and the toddlers just said “hi” to me and did not yell out her name and run towards me, afterwards, with mommy’s permission.

Yes, Mickey Mouse (another nickname), dropped that post-it note at my feet for me to toss again. When I moved out there was a plethora of post-its underneath the sofa that he carried around when I was working at home or in meetings.

Fifteen years ago I went on a first date, and now my husband of nearly 14 years has held my hand ever since. We and our families and friends have been through much change over the years, a lot for good. Think about family, current and old friends. Say hello again, hello, as Joan Baez did in one of my favorite songs. Dee


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