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It’s a dog’s life, but it mattered

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Black lives matter. Of course they do. So do white lives, Asian lives, Latino lives, Indian lives, and on and on down the list.

The truth is that all lives matter, and not a day goes by where I don’t read or hear about at least several other lives that matter.

Blue lives matter and the lives of firefighters matter and — Stop! — I was just saying that while all lives matter, those are the two jobs where they would have to quadruple the salaries before I would ever even think about applying. Cops and firefighters.

It’s a combination of fear and respect. The first time a firefighter runs into a burning building to save someone, he just earned a year’s salary in my eyes. The first time a police officer has to draw his gun and use it — Yup! — he just earned a year’s salary as well. Whatever the amount they are being paid, it’s not enough.

Okay, so every life matters. But there is one life that I have not yet heard anything about. Your pet’s life matters.

Carol and I raised four terrific children and one super-sensational, ultra-fantastic, lovely Labrador Retriever named Sam-I-Am. For ten years Sam was a very important part of the Gershbein family. When I took the four kids to the Carvel stand on Rockaway Parkway, I had to buy five cones. If I didn’t, she would look at me with the saddest eyes, as if to say, “Don’t I count? Ain’t I still part of this family?”

“Yes you are, my sweet girl!” I’d say, and then I would put her cone on a plastic dish. Ah, such happiness.

We took Sam with us to our vacation home up in the Poconos. As soon as we parked the car, she would make a beeline to the lake, take a fast swim and then return, soaking wet, encouraging us to join her. There was no way that I could ever play catch with my kids without her chasing the ball and returning it to me with her tail swinging side to side.

Sam loved walking in the rain, but as soon as there were explosions of lightning and thunder she would run to my side and hug me as close as she could. I was never sure if she did that to protect me or if it was for me to protect her.

We always knew that she was important to our family, but we didn’t realize how much she mattered until the day she died. That day, and for the several weeks that followed, my home was really quiet. My kids truly missed Sam — and to tell you the truth, so did I. That was a long time ago, but even now, whenever any of my children talk to their children about their childhood, Sam-I-Am is mentioned. At this very moment, as I am thinking about her, my eyes are welling up with tears.

Yes, my dear readers, I am StanGershbein@Bellsouth.net telling you that all lives matter — including the short life of the pet that gave my family so much pleasure.

Read Stan Gershbein's column every Monday on BrooklynDaily.com.
Updated 11:48 am, January 16, 2019
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