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Why can’t we all be dogs?

I’m a words guy, but I’m having trouble right now, other than to start by saying we’ve all read hundreds of stories praising dogs, and I need to add another to the anthology. Because when love’s that pure, it deserves as many as we can tell.

A lot of people say dogs take after their masters. That’s gotta be bogus, because there’s no way I’m as awesome as my dog.

ern-dogErnie “Big Ern” “Ern Dog” Banks Mendola passed away on Monday. He was loyal, tough, loving, and he was one handsome hound dog.

We found out Ernie had bladder cancer in late winter. It wasn’t always pretty to come home to, but the dude never complained. I know dogs don’t actually complain, but follow me: Ern just took his medicine, didn’t whine, didn’t even look forlorn until things turned dire. Just kept battling.

We, the lot of us, let a lot of people down in our lives. A lot of people do the same to us. And we let our dogs down, too, but they rarely if ever hit us back. Ern never did. They just look at us like we’re kings of the world. Ern just wanted to walk around the neighborhood, mix it up a little in the backyard — he did not enjoy being nutmegged —  and explore the studio space (meaning fall asleep on every square inch of our living room).

I wept like a baby on Monday. It had to be the day. Big Ern managed his way into the car, and thank God that his beloved Mary was home so we could load him up with “Mary treats” to his very last. Mary has raised tens of thousands of dollars for the Pet Emergency Fund, so if you’re reading this and want to pay forward the love of dogs, I think donating is a solid idea. There are a lot of angels out there who do things for the right reasons. She’s one.

Lacey and Asher made sure to step up their kindness game over the last few months, and I know that dog knew he was loved and part of a family. Our younger dog, Dottie, she’s a bit lost now. Heck, we all are. I turned around to look for Ern a couple times today. Several times I had this urge to reach out and pet him, like I could just feel his fur in my palm. It was there, man. I’m telling you that sort of thing kinda hollows you out, like the last scrapes on the inside of a jack-o’-lantern.

Asher says Ernie is up in Heaven. The way our first grader tells it, Ern is getting fed comedic amounts of cheese by his Great Gram and running around with Auggy and some other dogs.

I gotta think there’s something to that.

Good goes on.

Love you, Banks.

Follow @NicholasMendola

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