That's the only word I can use to describe my reaction to the many thoughtful people who have written to express their condolences about the death of my greyhound, Elvis.
From feedback over the past nine years, I've known that friends, colleagues and Chronicle readers enjoyed following my Pet Tales column in which I often wrote about my sweet boy. From the day Elvis arrived in my home as a frightened three-year old, to conquering his fear of stairs so he could be near me in my bedroom, readers felt like they knew Elvis and he was a part of their family. Elvis was, in every sense of the meaning, my "Lifetime Dog" and, as animal lovers, readers could relate to this very special bond.
Still, upon word of his death, I found myself stunned by the outpouring of love and affection. Numerous bouquets of flowers were delivered to my home and office, some by people I've never even met, but who felt my loss nonetheless. Friends made generous donations, in Elvis' name, to the East Bay SPCA and Golden State Greyhound Adoption. Cards, emails and blog comments conveyed their profound sorrow, with many sharing cherished tales of their own "lifetime" pet.
I truly intended to answer every card and email, but when the numbers started swelling into the hundreds, I realized that might not be possible. Especially since each heartfelt message brought yet another flood of tears; with sadness for the loss of my beautiful boy and with gratitude for the kindness of strangers, the affection of friends.
And so, please accept this collective "thank you" for reaching out and sharing your thoughts and experiences. Every word, every gesture has helped dry my tears.
Because, as animal lovers, you get it. You truly do. And for that I'm so very grateful.