This whole dog thing started because of a story Verna used to tell over and over again. It was a very sad story and I can’t bear to repeat it, but it had to do with leaving behind her much-loved dog when she moved to Cleveland from Pennsylvania decades earlier.
I used to drive Verna to church, and whenever she saw someone walking a dog, she would repeat that story, much to my dismay, and end by saying she loved dogs and wished she could have a dog in her Shaker Heights apartment. Even when she became unsteady on her feet, Verna would insist she’d like to have a black Lab, her favorite breed. A Lab could have knocked Verna over just by breathing on her, but that was the kind of dog she hankered for.