We humans spend a lifetime of practice and still we are learning to be human. Dogs, on the other hand, may be the perfect Zen Masters. A Border Collie is perfectly and completely a Border Collie. Her only inner conflict involves keeping her silly sheep together. That purity of essence is part of what I love and cannot even begin to emulate. What is the essence of my humanness? The fragile edges of life, the beginning, the end, and serious disability can each teach us something essential about being human – which whatever else it might be is a shared endeavor.