from Lily and the Octopus by Steven Rowley

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Tonight it is me who wants to burrow to the foot of the bed, to find the safest spot under the covers, where I can feel small and warm and protected. p 39

The Tenth Good Thing About Vera
(an homage to Judith Viorst’s classic picturebook)

10 She liked everybody, no questions asked.

9 And everybody liked her, and her constantly wagging feathery tail.

8 She had a second home where she would vacation for a few weeks each year. And two caretakers who adored her, along with a town-wide fanclub.

7 Her honey colored paws and her blue tongue

6 She was such a hodgepodge of traits and features no one could even identify her heritage.

5 She was a birthday present. M found her at the general store, where their motto is—If we don’t have it, you don’t need it. So true.

4 She was utterly devoted to M. She was happy when other family members were home, but she would often sit by the kitchen door and pine for him.

3 She loved the cold weather. She loved being chased and having snow thrown in her face.

2 She lived to be 100 years old in dog years and was still sprightly and active for such an elderly lady.

1 She left a great big Vera-sized hole in her absence. Looking at the crater left by her presence I can see how lucky we were to have such a loyal companion all those years. She was fiercely loved. She will be missed. Now we are sitting by the door, pining for her.

Sometimes the book you need finds you. Reading in bed this past weekend, I felt a deep connection with Rowley’s book. I highly recommend you read it— armed with several boxes of tissues.

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