He was there, and then he wasn’t. The whole thing was like a wisp of a breeze brushing past me on a frisky, spring day. Yet the relationship lasted nearly 12 years.

That’s what it felt like when Darby, my sweet-beyond-words Lhasa Apso, passed from life in my arms last week. How could he be gone so soon? I only just adopted him. Didn’t I?

He came to me by way of a rescue league website based in Tennessee. Someone found this little dog with no tags or chip, wandering the back roads of Knoxville. He was starving, dehydrated, matted and battling heartworms. And yet he was impossibly filled with joy and brightness.

Most dogs with heartworms are euthanized immediately in public shelters, but someone had the foresight to know this one was special.

After months of recovery, he came to live with me, and I named him after one of my favorite beers, Fehr’s Darby Ale, brewed then by Bluegrass Brewing Co. That seems like maybe a week ago. A month, at most. Somehow, that happened in early 2006.

Source: Insider Louisville