They call it puppy love.

Dear friends,

Ed, on our mountain, in much happier days

Ed is grieving. And that makes me sad.

Call me crazy — it won’t hurt my feelings — to ascribe a human emotion to a canine, but our Golden Retriever is seriously bummed.

He’s been lying by our back door for long stretches of time and he has no pep in his step. He barely ate today. Frito — despite his small stature — was Ed’s pack leader. In turn, Ed was Frito’s protector. And our poor guy seems pretty lost right now without his constant companion and bunk-mate. (I note he’s also not sleeping in his doghouse anymore.)

On Monday, Kate texted me a photo of a puppy that needs a home. The photo was tiny on my phone, so when I first glanced at the facial coloring, I thought it was a photo of Frito.

Isn’t he cute? He’s a mutt. Part Beagle and part something-else unknown to the litter’s owner.

I know, I know. He’s probably a rebound puppy. But honestly, we’ve been talking about our next puppy for a while now because we all love dogs and we all knew Ed and Frito — our two oldest — wouldn’t live forever and we’d all vote to adopt more dogs if having more than three dogs wouldn’t make us the kookiest family you know.

I’ve been talking about a Bassett Hound for a while, although I’d take a Chocolate Lab in a second. (The Basset Hound is probably Pioneer Woman’s influence because before Frito, greyhounds were high on my list. Unfortunately, we were turned down for a greyhound adoption years ago because we have a bird.)

Mr. Mom has been talking about a Beagle.

Parker, who at age six memorized a dog breeds book and who can recite the dominant traits of every dog known to man and argue their relative merits with uncommon facility, wants a Coon Hound. (I’m sorry. When I think of a Coon Hound, all I can think of is Harlan Pepper in “Best in Show” reciting “Peanut. Pine Nut. Cashew Nut.”)

Kate falls in love with any dog cute and small that crosses her path.

In case you haven’t figured this out by now, Mr. Mom is our pack leader so I told Kate we’d have to wait until he returned home and talk to him. Mr. Mom is also our family’s Dog Whisperer, so we wouldn’t think of selecting a puppy without his expert dog sense guiding us.  He agreed to go meet the puppy later this week.

We’ll see.

In the mean time, I’ve got to figure out how to console Ed. Last night, our next door neighbor visited. She had just heard about Frito and she wanted to stop by and express her condolences. She is one of the neighbors that always welcomed Frito and Ed into her home and yard. She talked about how much she loved for Frito to curl up on her lap while Ed lay at her feet. She told me how her grandkids came over for Easter and, as they played outside, every one of them asked “Where’s Frito? Where’s Ed?” and said they missed our dogs.

It was such a comfort to me — like a big ol’ neighborly hug. I just wish there was a way for Ed to feel it, too.

With gratitude {for neighbors as sweet as Frito and therapeutic puppy gazing},

Joan, who thinks if you haven’t seen “Best in Show” yet, you are surely missing Christopher Guest’s best-ever “mockumentary” and one of the funniest comedies in the last 25 years