Letters to the Editor: ‘Canelo was every dog I ever loved and lost’ -- readers on the Arellano family dog

Chocolate lab
Canelo, the Labrador retriever of the family of columnist Gustavo Arellano. He passed away at age 11
(Courtesy of the Arellano family)

To the editor: When I read Gustavo Arellano’s tribute to his recently departed family dog Canelo, I felt deeply moved by his tender emotion.

His story of the love that he and his family felt for Canelo, their Labrador retriever, transformed an ordinary moment of my life into a soothing reflection on the gentle power of love, and the purifying value of holding communion with docile animals whom St. Francis called brothers and sisters.

It’s obvious that Arellano dipped his quill not into his inkwell, but into his heart to write this tribute. With his words he wove a delicate net, which surely must have captured the hearts of all who read them. And I am certain that after shedding more than one tear when they reached the end, their hearts (like mine) felt much lighter.


Descansa en paz, hermano Canelo.

David Quintero, Monrovia


To the editor: Arellano’s column brought tears to my eyes.

I have adopted several rescue dogs and cats over many years, all with their former baggage for me to unpack. I cannot express how wonderful it is to see an unhappy animal respond to human kindness and love.

Patience, love and unconditional devotion to a formerly under-loved pet result in the most wonderful response of reciprocated love and affection. I remember and honor my dear dogs, Annie, Sammy and Bruno, and amazing cats Walter and Lucie, for giving me more love, comfort and affection than I could have ever hoped for.

Thank you, Mr. Arellano, for reminding us of how wonderful these animals are and how much we gain from taken care of and loving them.

Ria Levine, Oak Park


To the editor: I opened up the newspaper on Friday, as I do every day. I scanned the A section, then went on to B. I read down the page a bit, then Arellano’s column hit me right in the face.


I knew what this was and knew better than to read it, but I couldn’t look away. The question was how far I could get before I embarrassed myself. I got through the first part successfully, then came the rest of the column on Page B-2.

Every dog lover on Earth knows what’s next. It took me a while to clear my eyes and my head.

Canelo was every dog I ever loved and lost. He was Nick, Jack, Dusty, Leia and a dozen more. Every one of them lived and loved unconditionally but never for long enough.

It’s easier not putting oneself through this, but as long as there are unhoused dogs, I keep bringing them in. I have four now, which means at least four more times I will live this story.

P-22 first, then Canelo. I need more tissues.

Robert Remillard, Ontario


To the editor: At age 76 and never having had a dog, I cried like a baby when I read the heartfelt and beautifully written tribute by Arellano for his beloved Canelo and his Mami. His words were the perfect description of what Canelo meant to the family and what the family meant to Canelo.

May the memories of these two beloved family members always be a blessing.

Doris Melnick, Newport Coast