My dog Woodstock is an impeccable judge of character. In our house, we refer to it as passing the Woodstock test.
Woodstock is a field spaniel, and like many in his breed, he is reserved. He's not nasty at all, but if he doesn't know you, he will generally keep his distance.
I brought Woody in to Iris when he was a puppy. It was an overwhelming experience for him. But one person passed the Woodstock test, Cynthia Ice. Cynthia had a soft heart underneath a very dry cynical wit. Woodstock saw straight to the heart, and made a fast friend. Cynthia saw past Woodstock's reserve to the sweet dog he is.
Cynthia died this week, and we will miss her very much. I keep remembering snippets... Her guide dog Cashmere would sometimes wander out of Cynthia's office when she was absorbed in her work, and Cashmere would head straight to my office. I'd spoil Cashmere for a bit, then bring her back to Cynthia quickly, as Cashmere and Cynthia were quite a team. Meeting Cashmere and Cynthia in the hall, rubbing Cashmere's tummy as Cynthia and I chatted. Cashmere died a year or two ago, and I know Cynthia's heart ached for her. She never replaced Cashmere, I think because there could be no replacement.
And there is no replacing Cynthia. She has left this world a better place - she fought for the rights of the visually impaired, and she gently taught all of us to make our software the best it could be. And she has also left this world a darker place for her light no longer being with us. Cynthia, it was an honor to know you, and heaven is a brighter place today.