I took Piper to my favorite tree, the one I run to at least once a week in every season just to check in and say hello. "See how it's knotted and gnarled, some might even say ugly, yet it's strong?"  I asked, pointing at its bark. "It's old," I said, "I don't even know how old. But it's useful and kind; it still gives shade to humans and shelter to squirrels." (At which the dog's ears perked up a bit.) "Look how it keeps growing and stretching, after all this time." A moment later I urged, "We should be the tree, Pipe." But puppies being puppies, she peed on it instead.