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Ten amazing memories: Heartwarming stories of my dog, Brando (2000-2013)

When I was in first grade, I wrote my first "published" story, for our school's mimeographed weekly publication. It was a memoir actually. It was the story of our family cat, Puss, who had just passed away. It was only relatively recently that the significance of this first piece of writing came clear to me: This was, at that point in my life, a huge, mysterious event. It read, in its entirety, "My cat died.  My cat is dead." I hadn't learned to be sentimental. Later that year, I discovered one of my first favorite books, "The Tenth Good Thing About Barney," by Judith Viorst.  It was about a boy whose cat dies, and his mother tells him he should think of 10 good things to say about Barney when they have a funeral in their yard.

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