Our group is much diminished and very sad. We did not expect our youngest to leave us so soon. Monty in particular is very depressed and is missing his best friend. I want to cheer him up so I begin to tell everyone about Stella. I tell them that I believe in the meanings of names. When we first met Stella as a little pup, she was a ball of furry spots. Right away we knew she belonged with our family but it took us a little while to understand she was a Stella. Stella means 'star' and she shone so brightly we just knew that this name suited. As this bright ball of fur became a big part of our family, her name also grew to Stella Louise - our Warrior Star. I tell the group she loved us and made it her life's work to keep coyotes and other unwelcome sorts away from her family all the while shining brightly. My recountings only serve to make Monty even sadder. I tell Monty we meet many wonderful beings along the way who gift us with little pieces of themselves. This becomes a part of who we are and that is what we need to carry forward and remember in our hearts. I think of our last morning walk with Stella though none of us knew it at the time. The group was whinging and whining as we are wont to do. We are getting sick of this 'in between' season, and we all complain heartily. Not enough snow to enjoy our winter sports and no green to remind us of summer days. Stella bounces over to us and tells us 'what nonsense'. Why look at this patch of snow, she says. It is just perfect for sliding on your tummy. With that Stella takes a great run at a tiny patch of snow and slides on her tummy through the snow. Her love of life made us laugh that morning. So Dear Stella we are going to slide on our tummies in the snow whenever we can and even when we think we can't.