The essence of love entered my life as a puppy with floppy ears and melancholy eyes. She had a pristine white coat with brown spots like outcrops on a snowy peak. Her tail wagged as I held her. I named her Aspen. Fully grown, she was lean and muscular. Weaving through plants when she ran, she was swifter than a ghost. Watching, my heart swelled with pride and love. A thought entered my mind then: one day Aspen will no longer run. But, that day is not today. So when I cuddle her tonight, I will hold her extra tight.