For those who don't know, my dog Clara is the most energetic, pestiferous, pushy, bratty, annoying, trouble-making little knee-high creature I have ever encountered. She makes up for it by also being the most loving and affectionate animal I have ever known.
I was on a run with the dogs today when a passerby stopped me and asked to meet them. This happens from time to time, and they love people, so I just issue a warning that Clara jumps and then let them make friends. So she petted Streak and Clara and then went on her way. By this time we were walking the last stretch toward home, and the woman we'd just met was running, so of course Clara tried to take off after her.
"Clara, walk nice!" I said. "Try not to gag yourself on the leash, hm?"
Our new friend turned back. "I'm sorry, but what's her name?"
"Oh." She was walking back to us by then. "My dog was named Clara, too. I had to have her put to sleep yesterday. She was fifteen and a rescued dog."
And my little pest, besides being generally affectionate, is very good at providing extra love when someone really needs it. She wiggled right up to the other Clara's mama and licked her hands and looked up with her big brown eyes, and both of us humans started crying.
"Thank you," she said, before she went on with her run. "It's kind of nice, for New Year's Day."
Miriam and I call it, "Clara magic." That absolute and unconditional love and affection that can improve even the worst possible day, and that makes it worth dealing with her sensitive stomach and unreasonable amount of shedding and all the brattiness. I'm glad she got to share the Clara magic with someone else who needed it.