On Monday, my dog of nearly fourteen years passed away. He went in peace. A handsome chocolate lab who remained a puppy until his last days, Professor Rivera—we often just called him Bubba—was the kindest and most warm-hearted animal I’ve ever known. Professor had a perfect block head, an otter tail, and loved to swim, fetch, and perform the various tricks he learned as a pup. He had the most communicative, human-like eyes I’ve ever seen in an animal—he often seemed to carry the weight of the world on his shoulders—and demonstrated an emotional complexity usually reserved for other species. He constantly wanted to be by my side and knew that I wanted him there, too.

I got Professor the year I graduated from college, and I trained him myself. My favorite thing was that he knew the difference between words that started with “com-“. So if you said “come,” he would come, but if you said “comedy,” “comeuppance,” “comprehension,” “composer,” or some such, he would stay. Smart puppy. I don’t know that I’ll ever have a furry companion like Professor again, and I can see that his “girlfriend,” Cabbage, a black lab I rescued and gave to my parents, already misses him. I miss him, too.

Professor taking a break.

Professor taking a break.

I loved my dog. I was always raised around dogs. And I know the importance of treating our furry companions humanely. I also know we must keep our streets safe for every neighbor. Growing up in San Antonio I saw many, many stray dogs. Unfortunately, this problem still exists everywhere in our city, including in District 1. That’s why I support a responsible no-kill policy that fully funds ACS and associated non-profit shelters. What we shouldn’t do is play number games with residents by refusing to pick up or by re-releasing dangerous animals. Dignity for our four-legged friends and respect for our two-legged neighbors means saving as many animal lives as possible while also keeping District 1 families safe.

That’s what District 1 residents tell me they want, and it’s what I believe Professor would have understood.

As always, I invite anyone who has questions to call me on my personal cell phone at (210)-900-4269.