When my first Labrador died over a year ago, a friend was there for me. She was there 9 years later when I had to let the second one go, too.

If you don’t think animals can be part of the family, you should stop reading now.

She had to let her own dog go last week, an ancient and amazing Weimaraner who’d run and played with both of my older dogs, as well as the young one sleeping at my feet now. Uncertain timing and living states apart kept me from being there for her, but I know she was surrounded by the right people when the time came.

A few days later I was shown a small woolen rug, buried in the basement of a local furniture store in our mountain town. The three woven Labs sitting in a canoe seemed kind of campy (no pun intended), but I took the rug home anyway.

I’d just laid it on the floor in front of the kitchen sink when I noticed the ordered color of the dogs… black in front, chocolate in the middle, yellow at the end.

My first Lab was black, second chocolate, third yellow.

The universe didn’t weave this rug for me. I didn’t commission anyone to latch-hook my dogs in the hued sequence they came into my life, as masters of majestic canine destiny perched in a canoe.

But how many other rugs, paintings, books, songs, haikus, whatever, are out there, waiting to be discovered, made for anyone, yet still only for me?

I took a quick trip to California a couple of days ago, where I dropped off a card for the friend who’d lost her dog, about how the crack in her heart is the same crack that will someday let the light in.

Before I left, she showed me three different spreads of her recently passed Weimaraner, featured in a published coffee table book filled with beautiful photographs of canine companions.

Made for anyone, yet still only for her.