Maddie and I got the news yesterday after we got home from the City. Randy met us at the gate. “Mercedes stopped by,” he said. “Hannah died…” He was choked up by the news, tearing up, strongly affected. “I didn’t really even know the dog,” Randy explained, holding Charlie the Dachshund tightly in his arms. “But it’s just so sad.”

For thirteen years, Hannah the Brussels Griffon has been the official greeter at Our Best Friends, shadowing Stephanie throughout her days at the store. Most days, customers would be greeted by Hannah’s affable bark and shaggy, friendly face, her stumpy tail wagging as she met them at the door. Those who knew Hannah well recall her as a clever, amiable little beast, as likely to opine on matters with a happy bark as she was to offer you a scrap of plastic wrap in exchange for a treat. She was one of Maddie’s best friends.

Over the last year or so, Hannah’s health declined, ultimately robbing her of her mobility. But she seemed content to nap in the office as her understudy, Emma Parsley, ruled the roost, taking on her “big sister’s” role as Official Store Greeter. The passing of the torch of office has seemed inevitable a few times over the year, but Hannah hung in there, as if she had one more thing to say, one more lesson to teach. She must have finally had her say, as early yesterday morning, Hannah peacefully passed away in her sleep.

Today, Maddie and I were at the store, a pall of silence hanging overhead. It seemed too quiet without Hannah there. Someone had set up a few photographs, a painting, a vase of flowers in Hannah’s memory. I recall the number of Fridays over the last few years when someone came into Our Best Friends and, seeing Maddie and mistaking one little dog for another, said, “Hello Hannah.” Today, neither Maddie nor I can think of a higher complement.

Hannah with Moose, 2008