It’s been a rough week for us, as we said goodbye to Mysti, our Shihtzu. Janet adopted Mysti in 2001, I met Mysti in 2006 when I first met Janet, and Mysti moved in with me in 2008 (even before Janet did!). I had recently lost access to my beloved Boston Terrier, Sam, so although I wasn’t really looking for a dog, Mysti came along at a good time for me. Here’s a pair of portraits from our last day together.

jan and mysti
Jan and Mysti

For me, a dog’s primary purpose is to provide smiles and stories. Mysti did plenty of both. A few highlights:

  • Coming home from work, getting Mysti leashed up, and racing her down the driveway. It was a close race each day!
  • Traveling with Mysti in the car was very easy… she was a good traveler! Both she and Janet would conk out during long drives… always made me smile.
  • When Mysti really needed to go out or wanted to eat, she had a hilarious way of vocalizing her insistence that she be attended to immediately.
  • She was the ultimate lap dog… practically feline that way.

It’s a good time to recall Mugsy, who also started with Janet as a puppy, then spent several years with our friend Jon, and ultimately came back to us for his final months. Mugs was quite the character, and brought all the families he touched a lot of joy. Here’s one of my favorite images of Mugsy, always endearing even as he struggled with the ravages of time.


Finally, a quick homage to Sam, who adopted the Swanson family in 2002. I couldn’t have asked for a better dog for my kids to grow up with. Too many memories to recount here, but here’s a couple favorite photos, including one from my son, Ben, as Sammy was in his final days.

i am not a pig
I am not a pig

An Ode to Pets

Pets come in to our lives

Sometimes the choice is ours, sometimes not

They help us find our best qualities

And teach us lessons we need to learn

Forgiveness; compassion; faithfulness; inquiry

Welcome disruptions to otherwise ordinary lives

Companions when we need them most

Lead actors in our life’s highlight reel

To be owned by a pet

Is a privilege we all deserve.

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