Dear Dog

Holy Moly Motherhood ~ January 2023

by Alana Smith
Boy mom, nurse anesthetist, and blogger about all things motherhood

Dear Dog,

I do know that you cannot read letters, but that didn’t stop me from writing this one. I’m sure you’d either shred this paper to pieces—or eat it whole if I gave it to you—so I’ll read it aloud for you one day.

You are a good dog, as most dogs are. You don’t destroy shoes or poop in the house. You don’t chase cars and you don’t bark into the night. You don’t make many messes. You do dig in the yard and bother my plants, but I will overlook it. Your good qualities outweigh the bad, and that’s something you can’t say about some folks.

You aren’t my first dog, and I hope that you aren’t my last. You are our family dog. You were brought into our lives when we were a family of three. Since then, we’ve added another little human, and you took that in stride, somehow knowing the importance of that tiny bundle. You tolerate toddler slaps, pulls, and all the noise and excitement from a house full of boys. You sleep outside their rooms, like you know that is your duty—your post throughout the night.

Photo courtesy Matthew Allen

You live a simple life. As humans, we often don’t take the time to just enjoy the little things like you do. You love lying in the sun, meeting new people, leaves, napping, and chasing bees. You find warm windows to lounge by to pass the time. You watch the world with attentive eyes and take it all in. You live for a back scratch and a thrown ball. You are easy to please and a happy fella overall. Your daily pace is a slow one, and one that I should aspire toward.

Simplicity.

You are eager to go, to play, and to please. Unlike humans, you are always ready and full of excitement. You don’t begrudgingly go anywhere, other than to the vet, which is understandable. You would get an “A” for attitude if you were in school.

You are funny. You are spooked by the fireplace and thunder. You chase your tail, which is barely a tail and more of a nub, so maybe you are confused by it. You can sit, shake, and roll, but you refuse to “speak,” no matter how hard I try. I don’t think you’re too old to learn it at this point, I just think you like to keep your barks to yourself. You bring laughter to our house, especially when we try to put a sweater on you, or a Batman costume, or attach anything to your collar. That is your collar, and no one is to touch it, apparently. I get it.

You don’t have much to say, but you are an expert listener—oh how I wish to be this way! How much more I would learn about others, and myself, if I could calm the words flowing from me.

Sometimes I don’t clearly hear what another is saying, because I am thinking of how to properly respond. I assume this is human nature, but we would be much more aware if we were a bit more like you. Quiet and contemplative. Kind and easygoing.

You are a selfless and loyal dog, like most are. You are protective of me especially, as I am your favorite—but I won’t tell that to your Dad. You are by my side always. When I’m lounging on the couch, you are leaning next to it. When I’m getting ready in the morning, you are at my feet. When I’m feeling overwhelmed, you are there. When I push you away, donning freshly painted toenails or black dress pants, you still love me from afar. Humans harbor grudges and hurt feelings, yet you always come running right back to me. You hold no judgment; you just want to be in my presence. You can sense my emotions, and your eyes read mine with the slightest bit of true comprehension. Like you are saying: “Don’t worry, I am here.” You are a loving companion. And you are my friend.

With love and dog treats,

Your Favorite Human

Alana Smith is a boy mom (ages 7 and 2), nurse anesthetist, and writer in Birmingham. She shares her writing at Holy Moly Motherhood (on Facebook and Instagram), where she tackles all things motherhood and marriage.

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