Who else but Anna Quindlen could make the short life of an ordinary Labrador retriever so profound? Good Dog. Stay. is a short, elegiac book of black-and-white photographs sprinkled with text, based on a popular Newsweek column by the Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and author (A Short Guide to a Happy Life, Object Lessons). Barely touching upon the predictable shoe-chewing antics of Lab puppy Beau, a 40th birthday present, she dwells most movingly on the more difficult aspects of aging alongside her dog, noting creaky legs, clouding eyes and the fleeting bittersweet arc of a life that follows children growing up and leaving home. When it comes time to say goodbye, Quindlen lays Beau on their patterned carpetfavored as it hides the dirt that a sick, old dog createssurrounded by her now grown children and watches as the dog is put down while her husband's tears fall like raindrops on her head. "Occasionally someone will tell me that they won't have pets because they're messy, and I suppose there's some truth to that," Quindlen writes. "I have to choke down the temptation to respond that life is messy, and that its vagaries go down hardest with those who fool themselves into thinking that they can keep it neat."