For as long as I can remember I have been blessed with a loving human family and an affinity for nonhuman animal companions. With six kids in the family my Mom had her hands full, but she indulged my heart for animals. Even in high school friends knew the best birthday surprise they could give me would be a new farmyard friend or other animal to add to my family. My mother worried about what she viewed as an unnaturally strong love for animals. My dad not so much. But when he learned that my first job was cleaning kennels at a local pet store, my Dad voiced his concern. Protectively he said, “Do something else. You don’t want to clean up animal shit your whole life.” He was wrong, because cleaning cages gave me the opportunity to meet and start to understand animals as individuals, deeply sensitive loving beings. He really did not understand when I told him how happy the job made me. Well, 66 years have passed since my birth and I have been blessed to have so many special beings come into my life, the latest to leave this planet is Java. Yes, I am grieving her now, it is natural, and the process is becoming less intense, somehow soothing. Java’s passing and me grieving her passing is different than any other time one of my animal companions passed. This loss is not softened by the presence of another animal family member. For the past 10 years it has been me and Java. And now I am alone with my loss. As result I am feeling, with every cell of my body, the profound love we shared. I am feeling it fully, embracing and honoring it. I am alone without another loving animal distracting me from my painful yet illuminating process. No licking away my tears making me feel less pain. And this is good because I am fully here, in the moment, immersed in the realization that I love nonhuman animals as deeply as any of my cherished human friends and family. LOVE is LOVE. It knows no species. It is one pure and powerful energy that transcends any cultural judgement or prejudice. In her passing Java taught me how deeply I love and that my love is not diluted when given outside the human species. I am humbled by this gift that Java has given me in her passing. Love you Java.