After 9/11, things were different. An entire life was wiped away. Not just by what happened in New York but that entire year. I was back in Boston; I got Chester and he didn't even have any eyelashes yet. I asked the vet. "He's still a baby," she told me. 74 pounds, ribs sticking out, a giant baby. When he died he was over 90 pounds. I could never deny him. He was starving when they found him.
There was only a little music I could listen to because everything would trigger me into either a shaking mess, a crying spell or fleeing the house with Chester to the nearby Arboretum. And I began to notice that certain music triggered Chester in a big way. If I put on Chuck Berry he would run out of the room (!) Black Sabbath caused him to jump off the bed and down the stairs ("Smart dog," Pops Lethal quipped.) Hank Williams, Jimmie Rodgers, and The White Stripes made his tail wag. Two songs in particular, I played endlessly: "Tiny Steps," by Elvis Costello and Madonna's "Ray of Light." The first to remind me to just go slow and the second to give me hope. Some songs I tried and shut off immediately and still can't listen to.