Forty-three years ago, my father drove my brother and me to the SPCA to get a dog. A beagle puppy gave me a special look with his sad eyes, and I decided that he was The One.

And so he was: I petted and tried to calm him on the drive home, we gave him food and water, and took him to the nearest tree; we put up with it as he howled the first few nights; we let him know he was part of our pack. Within a few days, he would look up at me with adoration, as his very special friend. He and my one year old sister were both crawling on the floor, and they made friends with each other. Rex Canine Beagle, as I named him, would play with my five year old brother, and gave due respect to the alpha male and alpha female of the pack, but he and I had a special bond with each other.

When the little brats were acting up, or I was at loggerheads with my parents, or various other things were going wrong in my life, at least I always had Rex as a pet and a sympathetic listener. When I came home at the end of my sophomore year at Amherst, Rex was suffering from his final illness, and lying on a sofa, not paying attention to what was going on. However, when I sat down with him, and let him know that his special friend was back, he revived, greeted me, and ran around in excitement. This was more energy than he had displayed in weeks. We had a few weeks together, as I recall, and then I was with him at the vet when he received his final injection.

Rest In Peace, Rex. You were the best canine companion a lonely boy could have.

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ndrosen

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