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There is nothing like a hot bath and some fragrant bath salts to help my mind slow down after a long and arduous day. The lush notes of pine and cedarwood quickly fill up the room and I sense sleep will blanket my eyes shortly.

As I adjust my pillow and lightweight comforter, I gaze at the painting that I have loved since the moment it claimed prime real estate in my bedroom. It features a small brown dog, nestled in between two massive trees, while lovingly gazing towards the stars. This visual scan of my wall hanging, not only reminds me of my best buddy in Heaven, but brings into focus the true and undeniable definition of friendship.

July 30th has been deemed International Friendship Day, and on this specific day of the year, it gives us a reason to be mindful of the extraordinary people in our life that we are privileged to call our friends. These special individuals celebrate our personal victories and support us during our darkest hours.

But I would truly be amiss if I didn’t recognize the impact animals make on our lives as being our most trusted and faithful companions. This unbreakable bond could be seen and felt in the story of Hachikō. This famous Akita, continued to meet the evening train his owner took home, long after his death. For nine years, he traveled to Tokyo’s Shibuya Station searching and waiting for his beloved human. 

Barney was my loyal and loving pal too. He could sense when I was down and always came to my rescue. He was that special companion that accepted me exactly as I am and reveled in the little things I did for him. He lightened my spirits and convinced me everything was fine, each and every single day.

As my story comes to its close at this late hour, my train of thought is suddenly interrupted by the sound of an incoming text message. It is my friend, Nili, who I haven’t heard from in months. I believe God knew exactly what I needed at this precise moment in time, and provided me with my perfect ending. A friend, reaching out to me, to show me I am loved.