My second dog, Bleubelle, came to our home by accident. We found her on our porch, lost, just a puppy. In the first few days she was with us she chewed up all my plastic army men, causing me great sadness and upset.

She found my heart nonetheless. When her owner came knocking on our door some days later I explained to them why they would not want her back, “because she chews up all your army men.” I was relieved when they decided to leave her with us.

Sometimes those we let into our lives cause us misery, but not enough to overshadow the love we have for them. Bleubelle remained with us until the end of her days. She made a special place in all our hearts. When my father took her to be put down some 14 years later it was only one of two times I ever saw him cry.

(The other was when he told me he could not afford to send me to a private college that had awarded me a partial scholarship. He put me through school nonetheless at our local state university, which I loved very much.)

Bleubelle was my family’s joy and brought us many special times when life around us was painful. She arrived in the early 70s. That’s me with her in the photo in 1972, the year of Watergate, student uprisings across the nation, the Vietnam war, and the Olympics terrorism attack that killed the Israeli team and a West German police officer. It was an enormously difficult time. But Bleubelle dedicated herself to our pack and we welcomed her canine love. It ameliorated the strife we were experiencing.

Times are hard these days with political viciousness, a global pandemic, economic turmoil, and nationwide protests on racial injustice. Yet we have our special companions, not all canines, who welcome us with unconditional love. And we can provide similar light to those we care for.

How might you be a refuge for someone special this week?

“Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.“ – Martin Luther King, Jr.