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Special to the Daily The greatest dog in the world has left us. Emma had a life better than most people in her 12 years. She was our river dog, camping buddy, good paw dog and our best friend. She always made us smile, and our lives were better because of her. We will always love and miss her. She is in a better place now, playing with her friends and enjoying an unlimited amount of bones and treats. We'll miss your smile and puppy kisses. We love you, Emma Lou, and we'll never forget you.

Good morning and welcome to Summit Up, the world’s only daily column that’s super-pumped about getting selected for jury duty.Thrown in among our subscription to Skeptic magazine and a bunch of pre-approved credit card applications last week was the golden ticket of mail – the jury duty summons.Sure, most folks abhor the jury duty summons, as did we when we lived in the Big City, but not now. See, when attending jury duty in the Big City, you have to fight traffic, pay for parking, go through metal detectors, endure full-body searches and then sit in a room with about a thousand people for about a thousand hours. Then you may or may not be called upon to serve on a jury for some totally heinous crime.Here in Summit Up Land, it doesn’t seem too shabby. Parking’s not a huge deal and there aren’t enough people here to be crammed in a room of thousands. And we hear that you even get paid for the gig.

We also heard that we weren’t the only ones to receive the glorious summons. Congressman Mark Udall was selected for actual jury duty recently in Boulder County Court. Udall, who did not press to be excused, will sit through a two-day civil trial and will not be in Washington, D.C., for votes until Wednesday night at the earliest. “Trial by a jury of peers is a sacred constitutional right and a pillar of our free and democratic government. Jury duty is one of the greatest American civic responsibilities, and I’ll take my duties seriously. We have some important votes in Congress this week, so as soon as the trial is over, I will head back to Washington and cast those votes,” Udall said. Way to go, Udall. Here’s hoping we get selected to do our civic duty as well.***

We got a happy little e-mail today, in which a writer told us the following story:While patrolling the Dillon Ridge Shopping Center on Dec. 11, Dillon police officer Doug VanDyke found an unexpected early holiday gift for one Summit County family in the most unlikely of places.The Dillon Police regularly patrol around the back of businesses looking for signs of crime, but instead of criminal activity, officer VanDyke found a cat Dumpster diving. He was amazed when the cat saw him and ran across the alleyway with a food wrapper in its mouth and dove into a storm drain. “I know there was something living in the drain because I’ve seen paw prints in the snow there before,” the writer told us, “but I thought it was probably a raccoon.”

Officer VanDyke, an admitted animal lover, was concerned about the cat making it through the recent Summit County weather living in a storm drain, so with the help of Animal Control Officer Lisa Sielaff they coaxed the cat out with food and captured him. As it turned out the cat, named Sam, had an imbedded microchip and had been reported missing in Wildernest a year and a half earlier by Sandy Tidwell and her family. After a quick phone call, Sam and his family were happily reunited just in time to share the holidays together. What a great Christmas gift. We hope you get some catnip for Christmas, Sam.***It’s Tuesday, and we’re still accepting those photos of dogs with the Summit Daily. Send ’em to summitup@summitdaily.com.We’re gone with the wind …