Elizabeth, I am sitting on the sidelines of a soccer field waiting for my grandson’s game to begin, using this free time to catch up on my Medium reading. Tears are flowing. Parents and grandparents are looking at me oddly. Having recently said goodbye to my 16-year-old dog, your story squeezed my heart, reminding me of what is gone.

Like the cat in your story, my Pekingese is constantly standofish with other animals, showing only a cursory interest upon introduction. My two dogs shared 14 years together but were never close because the Peke pretended to be an only pet in a house occupied by six nonhumans. My Pooh tried but she couldn’t win Chanelito’s affection or attention.

The day we returned from the vet without Pooh, Chanelito looked confused. He scoured the house sniffing and snorting. When I took him for his first walk without Pooh, his confusion increased, bordering on anxiety as he looked behind for Pooh to come bounding across the floor. When she didn’t, he left the foyer and returned to the living room, sniffing Pooh’s favorite sleeping spot, looking at me, then Pooh’s spot, then at me.

That was more than three weeks ago. Chanelito no longer looks for Pooh but his sleeping spot has changed. Rather than spending the night hours on his bed in the living room, he lays beside our bed. Perhaps to comfort us but more likely because he actually misses the sister he never claimed.

I was always a writer but lived in a bookkeeper’s body before I found Medium and broke free — well, almost. Working to work less and write more.

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