We'd never have a pet, we thought. Yet somehow we softened and a buff-colored Cockapoo puppy joined the family in the Summer of 2000.

Some trivia about our dog, Cody...

• Early on we had him trained and certified as a "therapy dog." For years, my wife would take him to nursing homes, offering much-needed company for residents.

• While very young, we hung a bell on the door knob and taught him to "ring" the bell anytime he needed to pee or poo. For most of his life, he never had an "accident" in the house. We'd hear the bell and know what to do. Perhaps we were the ones well-trained.

For 17 years, my wife had rarely been separated from her dog. She was the ultimate pet-owner, giving the best possible life to a dog. In return, he gave our family the best possible love, the very essence of the phrase "man's best friend." On the evening of Monday, May 1 2017, our puppy's life ended. I don’t remember ever feeling so sad.

Frank Leister 2018