Today is Shawnie’s Birthday – would have turned 15 today. Three months it’s been, driving home, out the car with an armload of what the car needs emptied of, making way up the stairs into the house, pale silence is the door man, a stark house it takes my things. Lacking the click of happy padded nails cross tile toward me, no black wet nose against my hand as I lean down to slip off shoes, or greeting whines that ask to be let out. And faded grass is barren, too, since Shawnie went away. From next door, Harley, still he calls. The two were best of friends. One white and little all a fluff, the other black and sleek and big, they’d run and chase and bark across the yards that both were theirs. Now Harley sees the garage door wide, he makes his way to back and with his nose and handy paw, he flips a bin that holds the balls that use to be his buddies. And turning round, in mouth he carries treasures dear to Shawnie. We throw for Harley longer now, his silver too is showing. The empty house will never be the same without our Shawnie.