21 November

Color And Light. The White Dog Cometh…

by Jon Katz

In my part of upstate New York – a vast space – I’ve learned about the importance of color and light to my psyche.

The last few days have been cold, misty and dark, characteristic of the world month of the year for me. When November gets dark, I usually get dark. This year might be different.

November is a warming of what’s to come, but it’s actually darker and gloomier than December and January and February. Snow is a bright color all of its own, but this foggy Siberian mist reminds me of how brave and strong the people who came before me were.

Without color and light, I sometimes just sink in the November mist, Robertson Davie’s famous Black Dog comes and sits beside me. Only this year, I don’t have a black dog, I have a white dog, a nine-week-old puppy names Zinnia (after Maria’s favorite flower.)

I took her outside this morning for our daily training session, and even as we got there, the sun burst through the icy and misty fog, and there was light. The Black Dog brings comfort in the gloom, the White Dog brings a sense of joy and hope.

You cannot look at this dog and not smile, at least I can’t. That means a lot, especially in November. This is true of many dogs – they bring light and love –  but it is especially true of this one. Zinnia is all about bringing the light, a magnificent trait in a therapy dog.


  1. Last winter was the first winter without my late husband. My old Golden and I were both deeply in mourning. In January, we got a Golden puppy named Miss Freddie, after Fred Couple, my husband’s favorite golfer. She was and is such a joy. She real helped the old dog and I get through that first winter. I am so glad Zinnia is bringing love and light for you.

  2. Oh Jon, you are such a talented story teller. I admire how you put a positive spin on all manner of things that happen in your life.

    You yourself would admit that Zinnia is just a dog, a very cute and charming puppy yes, but YOU are the one who creates the light in your heart and soul. Zinnia is merely the catalyst. It’s a good thing that she’s cheering up your usual November mood. I’m so happy for you!

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