Pointer lay on the couch, fifty-eight pounds of eleven-year-old black lab mix with curly hair. She lay with her chin between her paws just like when she was sleeping, but I knew right away she wasn't sleeping.
"Hey, Pointer, kiddo," I said anyway. "Too hot to get up this morning?"
Pointer weighed seventy pounds just a couple of months earlier, but pancreatic cancer pared her down pretty fast. I hadn't really thought she'd be gone this soon, though. I picked her up off the couch and she didn't feel like Pointer, just like a big heavy sack of cooked oatmeal. I laid her down on the rag rug next to the coffee table.
That's when Wallace will come out of the backroom, the paint hangar, I call it. He'll wipe his hands on a turpentine rag and he'll smell like noxious chemicals. He'll give you a big grin and a waggle of his rug-like brown eyebrows. You'll like him right away because his face is cleaner than mine and he looks glad to see you. You'll expect him to ask if he can help you. He'll walk right up to you and you'll extend your right hand for him to shake. He'll put the paint rag in your palm.