These days we all need a bridge to another side. And for Ali Shah that bridge over troubled waters was his dog, Wally.

What carries you through these difficult days? A bridge, I’ll bet.

You’ve heard the expression “a bridge too far.” It’s oft-misused to mean “going too far,” but actually means an undertaking too ambitious and probably doomed from the start. Nothing is more inherently doomed than a relationship with a dog.

As coronavirus began coming ashore, my bridge was the same as ever: Wally, an oversized black lab/Newfoundland mix.

Given his affection for strangers and preternaturally quiet nature, he was the world’s worst guard dog. But he was also a certified therapy animal and a serial cheater of death: a kill shelter in rural Virginia, advanced pneumonia while waiting to be adopted, a distracted driver not looking at the crosswalk, a tennis-ball sized lung tumor,…

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