There is a moral to this story, but I don't want to give it away, so please read all the way to the bottom.
If you've ever been out with me, you know that I'll pet anything on four paws that will let me. I look to see if they're friendly, and if they are, I get into rapport with them. Part of getting into rapport is getting down on their level and letting them smell my breath by almost touching my nose with theirs.
Yesterday, I was on my usual walk, when I came upon a woman walking 2 small white dogs. They were both friendly, wagging their tails as they approached me excitedly. As I got down on their level, both came even closer. I reached to pet both of them, and then let them smell my nose. The Jack Russell terrier began to bark and growl, so I rocketed back up to standing position.
Their human apologized, saying that Woody had been a bit aggressive since, well, "I lost my daughter recently."
"I'm so sorry," I answered.
Then, before I could say anything else, she said, "Jessica died in the explosion", that is, the PG&E gas line explosion in San Bruno about a month ago. And then it hit me...
Woody didn't know what happened -- Jessica died suddenly, outside Woody's presence -- and he was a little freaked out. These were partly Jessica's dogs -- she walked them often and was home with them during the day when mom was at work. So now Woody is alone during the day, and he's wondering, what happened to Jessica? Why isn't she here? and perhaps feeling a bit abandoned.
I told Jessica's mom that she needed to explain to Woody what had happened. She could do this by sitting quietly with him (even waiting till he was asleep if necessary) and telling him, or telepathically showing him pictures of Jessica going into the light.
So the moral of the story is this: you never know when -- or how -- you'll be of service.