Good for the soul.

He’s unemployed, he can’t drive, he chews his food loudly, he burps in front of company, and his breath smells like feet. He doesn’t bathe for days.

I fall to my knees in joy at the sight of him.

I love him. I mean a profound love that needs no words. I massage his scalp endlessly, caress his face gratefully and hold him close to me, the way I never do my husband B. What Jupiter and I have is singular.

That’s right. His name is Jupiter, and our connection was cosmically ordained. We even look alike: my curly, black Boricua ‘fro identical to the cropped black coils that cover his body. I explain to those who ask that Jupiter is a standard black poodle, but he is the gold standard for all dogs.

Jupiter lives on Cape Cod. He is my in-laws’ dog, but my soul mate. When B and I crossed the Bourne Bridge on Friday morning, I leaned my head out the window, and inhaled. The smell of the briny, salt air, and the anticipation of seeing Jupiter signaled the official beginning of vacation life. I imagined him jumping onto the couch in my in-laws’ living room to look out the window in wait for me.

I’m almost there, buddy, I thought as the wind whisked past my face.

B and I arrived to my in-laws’, entered the garage, and approached the door into the kitchen. I heard the dog’s nails clicking and scratching a happy dance on the wood floor. Jupiter didn’t jump to greet me because I sat right on the floor to gather his squirming, wriggling body into my arms. I laughed when he licked my glasses. B took them for me, and I buried my face into Jupiter’s neck.

“Should I be jealous?” B asked as he watched my and Jupiter’s reunion.

I knew B was kidding because he understands. Jupiter is more effective than the therapy I receive, the meditation and yoga I practice, and the miles I run. The dog reminds me to just be. I don’t worry about what has happened in the past or what needs to be done. I focus only on how happy I am for that moment with the dog. It is with Jupiter the way it had been with my dog, my Brisco: I feel like I am forever a child, they are forever puppies, and we greet every minute like it’s the beginning of life over and over again, an endless series of, “Hooray, it’s life!”, “Hooray, it’s life!”, “Hooray, it’s life!”

For the time I’ll be on Cape Cod, with Jupiter, with B, and with family and friends, I say, “Hooray.”

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