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  • My parents buried dogs in our yard. There's a Collie in the front lawn under two enormous evergreen trees, a Golden Retriever named Bob in the ground along the forsythia bushes and a couple of mutts in the dirt near the rhododendron bush in the backyard. The remains of some sort of shepherd-mix are buried near the cherry tree. And in the far northwest corner near the fence is a Maltese. Every single dog we ever had while growing up is under clay and earth, and shovels full of lime on my parent’s property.

    I can still see my father holding back tears as he dug the grave for Sally, the Collie and the first dog we buried. And I remember helping my sister move the body of the old and overweight Golden Retriever out of the basement after he died of old age. We used a bed sheet to drag him in the hole my father and I had made. The last to be laid to rest was the little Maltese. Molly’s grave is the only one with a marker, a small plaque nestled into the ground. My mother adored that dog. But when my father died and Mom began to fall into the hold of dementia, there were no more pets to bury. Days before my mother died she joked how she wanted to be laid to rest in the yard with the dogs.

    My parents Pennsylvania home is now up for sale. My sister is taking her dog and moving out and I'm in another state in a rented apartment with the yellow Labrador I've had for nearly eight years. The dog is starting to show her age a bit, and I guess I am too. Still when I look into her soft brown eyes, I don't think of what is inevitable; I think about the place where I grew up, and two parents who cherished the bonds of family and the love of a good dog.
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