Over the past few days, I've been listening to, and telling my kids, and telling myself, all the usual stuff like "It was the right thing to do," and "She's no longer in pain."But dammitall, my dog was DIFFERENT and all those generic platitudes JUST AREN’T GOOD ENOUGH.So I bought this book.My kids are too old for picture books, but no reader is EVER too old for a picture book like this. I put this on hold at Barnes & Noble after making The Call to the vet and picked it up on my way home from work. As soon as they saw the cover and title, both kids knew that it was time for The Talk About Jackie.My 12-year-old daughter glanced through it, and then said, "I know what happens, Mom, I’ve seen Marley & Me," in her snotty tween-age voice before erupting into ugly tears and wiping her snotty nose on my sweater. But she clutched the book in her arms as we had The Talk, and she read it to her little brother before bed that night.The nine-year-old little brother, however, is A Questioner. Sweet Mother Of All That Is Holy, the QUESTIONS. And he never accepts "I. Don’t. Know." as an answer — he'll just keep asking the same question again in a dozen different ways. Uff da. I clearly did not not inherit whatever brilliant skill my dad had for Making Up Sh*t On The Fly That Trusting Children Believe Until They Graduate From College.I answered my son's eighty bajillion questions, most of which I'd answered 70 bajillion times before, as honestly as I could. The only questions that stumped me were the ones about cremation (managed to avoid direct answers on those), and of course, "But why does it have to be NOW? Why does it have to be TODAY?" Gah.Dog Heaven prompted even more questions, and it couldn't help me answer the unanswerable questions, but this book did lead us to doing to some Canine World-Building of our own.In Jackie's Dog Heaven, there are no suitcases or nail clippers, and the Mean Squirrels will cower in her presence. There will be garbage cans full of Happy Meal remains for her to nose through and nobody will care if she makes a mess of it all over the kitchen. Grandpa Phil will take her for walks and give her pieces of cheese whenever she wants and they will watch all the March Madness basketball games together. She will have a whole couch to herself and she will sleep on ALL THE BLANKIES and never have to sigh over humans warming their toes under her tummy.Thank you, Cynthia Rylant, for making this just a tiny bit easier.