Eleven years ago today — also a Wednesday, the day before Thanksgiving — I had to have one of my beloved dogs put to sleep. It was a bleak and depressing holiday.

I took a few years’ hiatus from having dogs after my last one died in 2016. Ever since I was born, I’d never been without dogs in the house. But it takes a lot out of you to keep outliving such close companions, so I needed a break from it. Last month, though, we finally adopted another one from a shelter. We’re calling him Galahad, and we have dispassionately determined that he is objectively the bestest boy in all the land.

We have a lot to be thankful for this year, but I think I’ll make time to reflect on two things in particular: the love of our pets, and the passing of time which makes even deep heartbreak surmountable.