My neighbor had the sweetest, most amazing dog, a huge, perfectly trained chocolate lab named Manolo who got so excited when you said his name that he’d bounce up and down. They never put him on a leash, because they didn’t have to — he heeled perfectly until they told him otherwise. Even when he learned I was an endless fount of pets and scritches, he wouldn’t come running when he saw me until I called him and they told him he could go.

He was 10 years old, but he still had this wonderful puppyish energy — he loved life and loved his people and was just a very happy boy.

I noticed he’d gotten a little thinner recently, but he’s had stomach issues before, so I just assumed that was the problem. But I just ran into my neighbor, picking flowers with his twin 3-year-olds, and he told me they had to put Manolo down today — cancer. He’s broken-hearted — he’s had Manolo since he was a tiny puppy (when he was told he’d never get bigger than 20 lbs.; Manolo was a good 75 or 8o lbs in his prime).

The little boys said I should bring Buster and Sophie over so they could have Manolo’s dog treats, and it was all I could to not start bawling.

Poor sweet pup. Dogs don’t live anywhere near long enough.