Shelby was my best friend every day from the time I adopted her from the Animal Welfare League ten years ago. Part cocker spaniel and part poodle, she was the nemesis of the squirrels that dared venture into her yard, and tolerated the cats with an aloof disdain. There was never a time when I walked in the door that she wasn't so happy to see me. She lived to be almost 18, and along the way fought crippling arthritis, deafness, and at the end blindness with such courage and acceptance that made her even more special to me. She asked for nothing but to be by my side, and lay at me feet as I wrote my novels and stories. She was my best critic, because she never complained when I read the pages back to her. She passed away in her sleep on January 14, 2008. I'll never stop missing her. As Andrew so eloquently said, "If love would die along with death, this life wouldn't be so hard." —Mike Black
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