I remember going to see you at the animal shelter. You were a skinny, lanky ball of black fur, all ears and tongue. You stared up at me with those huge brown eyes and slowly wagged your tail back and forth, as if you couldn’t quite believe that we were there and that we were looking at you. The people at the shelter had you on a slip leash, and I remember that it was bright yellow because it made your fur seem even darker. We took you out into the open field behind the shelter to introduce you to our other dog, and the two of you played together. You ran so fast you were a blur, and I remember thinking how happy you looked.
You’ve been living with us for over ten years now, and sometimes I wonder if you can remember your life before you came home with us. If you can’t, I have a few things I wish I could tell you. A few things I wish you could understand.
1. You will always have a home with us.
You always seem so full of unrestrained, surprised joy whenever anyone in the family walks in the door I wonder sometimes if you think we aren't coming back. I promise you we always will. Sometimes we go away for a long time, but we always come back.
2. I’m sorry.
I’m sorry that when you were born you had to learn to fend for yourself on the streets. I’m sorry that humans treated you poorly. I am sorry that you are afraid of brooms and I am sorry I do not exactly understand why. I’m sorry that wooden floors are slippery and steps are terrifying. I’m sorry that we don’t speak the same language so I cannot tell you exactly how much you mean to me and how brilliant and silly I think you are.
3. I Will Always Take Care of You
I think you know this one, but I feel like it should be repeated. When you were little and you tore your ACL’s in your back legs on a hike, Dad carried you all the way home. Do you remember that? He picked up all squirming, screaming, terrified fifty pounds of fluffy you and carried you safely to the car so we could go to the vet. I know you are older now, and that sometimes your legs are stiff and you don’t feel well. I want you to know that even though I’m not at home all the time, I will always care for you and take care of you. You made a home with us. We chose you from all those other adorable, big brown-eyed dogs at the shelter that day. You’re special, and you’re family, and we will always take care of you.
4. I love you
I know I tell you this all the time, but it is true. I am so happy that we found you and that you are a part of my family’s life. You make me laugh every single day I am home, and you are the best snuggler. Know that no matter what happened in your past, no matter how others treated you or how they hurt you, I will always love you.