Silent Night, one of the oldest carols, tells of shepherds watching their flocks by night—dedicated, determined and vigilant. The recent wildfires in Northern California had such a shepherd too, a four-legged Anatolian shepherd mix named Madison, who lived in Paradise.
When I saw the trees of Willow Springs I knew I was almost home. Soon, I would wake the sleeping dogs from the back seat of the Jeep and together, we would explore all the territory that lay ahead of us. For my young dog Gus, it would be a homecoming, for Cody, my mother’s dog that I had recently inherited after Mom’s move to an assisted living apartment, it would be a new life. For me, it would be a way to love my mother in absentia again. It had been that way between us for years: love from a safe distance.