Lady Bug, the sweet red-headed Miniature Pinscher mix who came into our lives in late Spring, left us in late October after an overwhelming attack of pneumonia, possibly complicated by other underlying issues. Miss Bug was 14 when she landed at the shelter. We knew little of what those 14 years had shown her — only that her previous steward was at least sometimes homeless, and she lived with him in his car. By the time we met her, she had earned her retirement and we were privileged to give her one. What she gave us in return was incalculable. Sassy, vocal, playful, she stood where Chauncey (our previous dog) once stood and often slept where Chauncey slept, providing continuity, hope, loyalty and love to our wounded hearts. She guarded us from the dangers of other dogs, cats, people, and feathers lying on the ground, and became a neighborhood fixture as well. Which is not to say she substituted for Chauncey, nor did we expect her to. Lady Bug had an openness all her own — she was not afraid to present her naked belly for kissing and petting. The loss of her joyous presence after just five months was sharp and sudden. It hurts beyond measure to have lost not one, but two very special girls in the span of half a year. They say no one becomes a dog’s master without the dog’s permission, and Bug Bug entrusted us with that. We wish we had more time with her, and more time to give her the comfort and amenities we promised her at the outset. Many, many thanks to the entire network of volunteers and professionals who give selflessly of their time and expertise for the sake of dogs like Lady Bug. It’s one of the most human gestures we can think of.