He had picked up his dog many times, more and more as the animal grew older, then old.  He carried him outside, carried him to the car, carried him into the vet's office.  But the dog had died an hour ago and this would be the last time he would pick him up and hold him.  He put his arms under the dog, cradled him, and lifted, and learned the final lesson his dog had to teach:  Death weighs more.

Joseph Dougherty is a writer living in California.

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