I share a back yard with a neighbor named Howard and Lulu. Lulu is Howard’s nine year old Jack Russell Terrier and every morning before I’m off to work Lulu greets me with an explosion of terrier energy that can only be described as “Let’s Play!” So here’s the ritual, every morning as I walk down the stairs to the back yard on my way to the driveway I can hear LuLu barking in Howard’s house and I can see her jumping vertically straight up about twenty inches to clear the window sill so that for about two seconds she can see me through the window as I descend the stairs. She’s making it clear to Howard it’s time to go outside, and like clockwork Howard opens the back door and out she comes. I throw a ball or a toy for about 15 minutes as Lulu performs amazing acrobatic catches and even more amazingly at age 9 (63 years in human years) returns the ball to me by throwing it back! I don’t know how she does it but she stops in front of me with the ball and bobs her head three times (and it’s always three times) and then releases the ball with uncanny accuracy into my out stretched hand. Every morning it’s the same. Last Friday Lulu came to greet me as usual and Howard’s assistant who was house sitting at the time informed me that Howard was out of town and wouldn’t be returning until weeks end. The next day, Saturday, as I came down the stairs there was no Lulu. No barking, no joyful vertical jumping to catch a glimpse of me from the window, just silence in the house. I thought about it for a second and remembered that Howard was out of town and thought nothing more of it. It wasn’t until Howard’s return that I realized something was missing, and yes it was Lulu. Howard had decided to kennel her while he was gone, and Lulu had suddenly fell ill while at the kennel and had died. I was shocked and sad at first because even at age nine Lulu was so full of life, joy and vitality. I realized I was grieving for my loss because I would never see her again. But soon, I found gratitude for her and for what she had taught me. Lulu showed me that even until death, that if we can stay in the moment and live with open hearts, joy and playfulness we can deeply enjoy life and bring joy and connection to others. She reminded me that our bodies, our forms are temporal, and that it isn’t the body we remember when a loved one passes but it’s the LOVE we shared with them that matters. I loved Lulu and she loved me. She was a bundle of unconditional non contained loving Presence expressing our True Nature in the form of a wiry little white haired smiley faced Jack Russell Terrier. She helped me remember who and what we truly are, and that, is Love.