His name is Cirrus, because of his gray off-white color and soft, thin fur that curls at the edges. Also because of his elusive, quiet demeanor. I've had plenty of dogs before, two of them Westies and all of them a large presence in the house. Whenever you approached the door, Wind would bark. Rain would hop into your lap each time you sat down. If you opened the refrigerator, Fog would come running into the kitchen, tongue hanging out and tail beating at the air.

Cirrus rarely barks, or yips, or growls, or makes any noise really. When he wants something he'll place his paw on your leg a few times. If you don't immediately tend to his needs, then he whines a bit, but softly and not for long. He's also found a way to trot around the house without producing a sound. I didn't train him to do so or cut his nails, he just manages to be a silent existence. To say that I forget about Cirrus sounds cruel, but there are days when I come home and think, 'I should get a dog,' then find Cirrus curled up on my bed, sleeping soundly.

I'm not interested in cats, because they don't love the way dogs do. Theirs is different, less exuberant. It's a gentle love. Thunder's affection was loud and Lightning's was bright, but when I look at Cirrus, I can only see the thinness of his adoration. My mind trails back as I watch Cirrus sit silently at my feet. I remember before this Westie, I saw a dog on my way driving home. He was big, but thin with pained, experienced eyes. The collar around his neck was worn and the tags on it had been scratched. His fur was colorful, white, brown, black, red, orange, blonde, a beautiful, sad mutt.

I thought, 'his name is Spring,' as fake future images of Spring dashing from one side of the house to the other just for a bone flashed through my mind. I could hear his claws sliding about on the wood floor and hear his powerful bark that shook the house like Hurricane's did. As Spring would sit at my feet, his tail would smack against my leg, but I would enjoy the slight hurt. I saw these things, heard them, felt them, but drove on by.