Dear dog I got before having a child,
I begged for you for years when I still lived at home. It wasn’t until I got my wisdom teeth out (and a dry-socket), that I was able to sweet talk my Dad into getting me a pity dog. You were eight weeks old when I brought you home. And, though I swore it wouldn’t happen, you spent the first night snuggled in bed next to me. That’s where you have slept ever since.
The first year, I bought every single ridiculous toy, treat and accessory that neither of us ever needed. You managed to completely demolish 4 phone cables, 5 pairs of shoes, a brush, every dog toy, 11 stuffed animals, a purse, 6 tubes of lipstick, your leash, collar, carrier and a chair. However, you were housebroken in record timing and pretty darn adorable with your one floppy ear so I forgave you. Your favorite playmate was a kitten nextdoor. The two of you were exactly like Milo and Otis. We took long walks, I carried you in a bag like Paris Hilton, and brought you absolutely everywhere.
Over the next several years, we moved from Texas to Tennessee to New York and back to Tennessee (with a brief hiatus when I moved to Albania). You were one of the worst travelers ever. You never ever fell asleep in the car. You preferred to run around and whine. You chewed through three very expensive carriers on planes and almost got Zoey kicked off of a flight. She had to lie and tell the attendant you were her emotional support dog, which was a bold lie, considering you were crying and barking the entire time. There was also an incident where you lost two claws in an escalator at H&M. Boy, you can be a handful. However, you always adjusted. You learned to love the snow, pee on concrete, play with other dogs (kind of), shop in fancy stores, love new people and always remain loyal to us.
When you were seven years old, I found out I was expecting. You were going to be a “big sister”. I was SO excited to see how you would respond to the baby. Would you be loving, protective, nurturing, excited, curious or playful? (No. You were none of those.) Before having Luna, I used to hold you and cry. I was so worried that you would feel left out or forgotten. I would tell you over and over what was going to happen and that we would always love you. I knew things would change, but I didn’t quite know how much.
Luna is now two and you are now ten. You are currently snuggled up under my elbow as I type this, and I just want to apologize. I am sorry for what I said when I was sleep deprived. There may have been times I threatened your life and home when you almost (or successfully) woke the baby. I never meant it. I would never actually drive you to the animal shelter or have your barker removed. I’m sorry I lied and told you things wouldn’t change. You are always on the back burner…your walks, baths, vet visits, flea medication and sometimes even dinner are either forgotten, late or last on our list. Thankfully, Luna gives you at least half of all of her meals. I am not half the owner I was two years ago, and I am sorry.
Yet, you still love me most. You are always happy to see me, only sleep in the nook of my knees, listen best to my commands, will walk and run many miles with me, insist on licking me on the mouth (you could actually let that one go) and still love me unconditionally. I’m certain that only a dog has the capacity to love so unconditionally, well or a God, but you catch my drift… anyways, no other human can possibly be so loyal. Thank you Belle, you are truly a girl’s best friend. I may accidentally leave you in the backyard and let Luna walk you on the leash (even though I know you hate it), but I love you. and I’m really glad you put up with my shotty behavior. Happy tenth birthday and may we have many more together!
P.S. Could you maybe at least pretend to like Luna? Other than when she’s holding food? She is my daughter, you know.