For my birthday, a couple of months ago, my wife or somebody got me the collection of Jack Kestner columns. My reaction to it was not what she expected, as she said: "I didn't know it was going to make you cry." It was the dog stories, I said, and the dog pictures - Buck, Leroy, Little Girl, et al., dogs I'd known in a sense for years.
One night this week, I enjoyed Jon Katz's Dog Days: Dispatches from Bedlam Farm, which begins with the disclaimer, "No dogs die in this book." I wonder whether Southwest Virginia's own Donald McCaig, author of Eminent Dogs, Dangerous Men: Searching through Scotland for a Border Collie among other works, would be considered a Border Collie Snob, by Katz's reckoning.
To the point, I have since learned that the dog died in one of Katz's earlier books, about which one Amazon reviewer wrote: "Maybe Jon Katz and Michael Vick should get together."
A week from today is December 20, the anniversary of a bad day in my book.