She wasn’t the smartest dog who ever lived. She wasn’t the nobility Eric Knight or Albert Terhune envisioned. She wasn’t a heroic Rin Tin Tin, a sacrificial Yeller, or a clever little Benji. She wasn’t even the worst of dogs, a Beethoven or Marley (though she had her moments). She didn’t sing Peggy Lee songs or save her ninety-nine pups from a harridan.

She was fast and strong, but not an award-winner. She was beautiful, but not a model for calendars. She was bright, except when she was a total idiot.

But she was what all truly loved dogs are: She was, to someone, the best thing ever.

For her first few years, I thought she was pretty dumb. It would take time for me to realize that she carried a timeless wisdom. And then more to see her as my greatest teacher, a guru of the deeper truths of life. At times I seemed laughable to those around me, as does anyone who truly believes in something, from the Apostles to the Dervishes to Linus in the pumpkin patch. Like them, I have never felt I’ve mastered the lessons. I was just fortunate enough to be receptive.

In her later life, the teachings deepened, and others began to see as well. And then, as always happens, too soon she was taken away.

This book isn’t a biography of her, or a memoir of our time together, though you’ll learn a lot about both. This is an attempt to explain, in the simplest terms I can, the lessons I learned, and continue to learn, from her.

The Best Thing Ever.