Imagine one of those volumes you can hide a revolver in or your grandmother’s diamond earrings. Put it in the book shelf and the burglar is expected be fooled. But this book wouldn’t hold valuables or a weapon, this book would hold attention. Talk to this book and this book would listen.

“You must be kidding,” this book would say, after you’d opened up your heart.

“Oh my God, she did that to you!” it would say.

Or, “Oh my God, he did that to you!”

“You are right. You are right. You are absolutely right!”

“Unbelievable! Unfuckingbelievable!”

This book wouldn’t judge its owner, nor would it offer advice. This book would have time in it. This book would be full of the time to listen. What most of us want more than anything else in this world is to be heard and seen. It’s best, of course, to be heard and seen and loved, but even hatred is better than indifference and neglect.

Dogs listen. There must be exceptions, but most dogs won’t neglect their people. Many people neglect their people. Many people neglect their dogs as well.

One of the great dog trainers I studied under said that people like to adopt dogs from shelters, because they think they are rescuing animals that had been abused and neglected. And some of them were abused and neglected, he said. But most of them were just plain neglected. And he knew whereof he spoke. He’d worked with a Rottweiler that had been left alone and untouched for so long that the beast’s collar had grown into its neck.