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The Last Will and Testament of an Extremely Distinguished Dog

The death of a beloved dog is a heavy emotional loss. In 1940, American playwright Eugene O’Neill faced that very thing when his faithful old Dalmatian, Blemie (short for Silverdine Emblem O’Neill), came to the end of his life. To comfort both himself and his wife, Carlotta, in their grief, he composed a bittersweet essay of remembrances in the form of a last will and testament. In the essay, O’Neill adopted Blemie’s point of view, imagining his thoughts during his final days. In it, Blemie considers the approaching eventuality with quiet dignity, and worries about the effect on his loving master and mistress. As a lesson in life and its conclusion, his words are a balm for any reader’s grief.

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