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Joshua the basset hound

A poem.

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A basset hound named Buggy has his ears combed at the 2009 Westminster Dog Show in New York.

Lucas Jackson/Reuters

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presses his  ​broad chest against
my leg,
reminding me to keep on
scratching, patting, scratching more;
reminding me to leave my thoughts
and be with
him,
reminding me that this
is the point of all the rest:
to lean with one’s whole being
into the life of another,
to lean with guileless heart,
to lean,
even if, unlike the dog,
we are afraid of falling.