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My favorite houseguests have fur.

My own beloved pooch died one month short of her seventeenth birthday and left a void in my life that nothing could fill. When a neighbor asked if I might help with her dog-sitting business, I happily agreed. With a few stipulations – pets must be non-shedding and under 30 pounds – I’ve played hostess to a number of furry houseguests when their parents go on vacation.

Each time they arrive, they run to me, tails wagging, crying with joy, covering my face with kisses. They are ecstatic to spend time with me.

My own children never greeted me with such enthusiasm.

(Full disclosure: They greet anyone we meet on our walks with the same exuberance, but I am not a jealous person. I can share the love.)

Dogs love to lounge in my lap or sleep at my feet as I tap at my computer keyboard. They make eager editorial assistants and never criticize my work. For a few magical days, they are my biggest fans, my new best friends.

I’m sad, of course, when they leave and my house feels empty again. But I know they’ll probably return for another visit…the best houseguests usually do.


Renee Garrison is the award-winning author of “The Anchor Clankers.”