A Letter To My Humans On Our Last Day Together

A Letter To My Humans On Our Last Day Together

We never thought this day would come.

I didn’t sleep much last night after I saw your tears. I would have gotten up to snuggle you, but I am just too weak. We both know my time with you is coming close to its end, and I just can’t believe it how fast it has happened.

I remember the first time I saw you like it was yesterday. You guys were squealing and jumping all around, because you were going home with a new dog. Dad, I can still feel your strong hands lifting me from the crate where the rest of my puppy brothers and sisters were snuggled around my warm, comforting puppy Momma. You held me up so that my chunky belly and floppy wrinkles squished my face together, and looked me right in the eyes, grinning, “She’s the one.”

I was so nervous on the way to my new home, I really didn’t know what to expect. But now, 12 years later as I sit in the sun on the front porch, trying to keep my wise, old eyes open, I am so grateful for you. We have been through it all together.

Twelve “First Days of School.” Losing your first teeth. Watching Mom hang great tests on the refrigerator. Letting you guys use my fur as a tissue for your tears. Sneaking Halloween candy from your pillowcases. Keeping quiet while Santa put your gifts under the tree each year. Never telling Mom and Dad when everyone started sneaking around. Being at the door to greet you no matter how long you were gone. Getting to be in senior pictures. Waking you up with big, sloppy kisses despite the sun not even being up. Always going to the basement first, to make sure there wasn’t anything scary. Catching your first fish. First dates. Every birthday. Prom pictures. Happily watching dad as he taught the boys how to throw every kind of ball. Chasing the sticks you threw, even though it got harder over the years. Cuddling every time any of you weren’t feeling well. Running in the sprinkler all summer long. Claiming the title “Shotgun Rider” when you guys finally learned how to drive. Watching you cry in mom and dads arms before your graduation. Feeling lost every time you went on vacation without me. Witnessing the awkward years that you magically all overcame. Hearing my siblings learn to read. Comforting you when you lost grandma and grandpa. Listening to your phone conversations. Celebrating new jobs. Licking your scraped knees when you would fall. Hearing your shower singing. Sidewalk chalk and bubbles in the sun. New pets. Family reunions. Sleepovers. Watching you wave goodbye to me as the jam-packed car sped up the driveway to drop you off at college. So many memories in what feels like so little time.

When the time comes today, we will all be crying; we won’t want to say goodbye. My eyes might look glossy, but just know that I feel your love and I see you hugging each other. I love that, I love when we are all together.

I want you to remember the times we shared, every milestone that I got to be a part of.

I won’t be waiting for you at the door anymore and my fur will slowly stop covering your clothes. It will be different, and the house will feel empty. But I will be there in spirit.

No matter how bad of a game you played, how terrible your work day was, how ugly your outfit is, how bad you smell, how much money you have, I could go on; I will always love you just the way you are. You cared for me and I cared for you. We are companions, partners in crime.

To you, I was simply a part of your life, but to me, you were my entire life.

Thank you for letting me grow up with you.

Love always,

Your family dog

Cover Image Credit: Kaitlin Murray

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10 Pictures Of My Dog That Perfectly Describe The First Day Of Class

Yes, my dog truly embodies my feelings on the first day of class.

After only a week into the second semester, I'm already a little worn out. The rush of being back at school is almost too much to handle, then you get smacked right back into reality after you pay $200 for a textbook and your fingers basically fall off from the frigid temperatures. Yep, class is back in session, and it's time to work through these next few months of sleepless nights and crippling stress. Despite my worries, I know someone will always make me smile: my dog. Allie, my 8-year-old miniature schnauzer, truly embodies some of my feelings towards this semester.

1. When you arrive back at school and are extremely happy to see your friends

Whether I'm gone for two weeks or two hours, I know my dog will be excited to see me. Her excitement is almost exactly how I feel when I see my friends pull into the school parking lot.

2. When you realize you have to put away everything extra you brought back..

Somehow, you always bring back even more clothes, food and random items than what you brought home. My dog's expression when we tell her to do something is incredibly sad but adorable. Me too, Allie.

3. When you try to wake up for your 8 a.m. on the first day

A full schedule of early morning classes? Yep. My dog likes to cover her eyes and push away the world when she doesn't want to get up, so why can't I do it, too?

4. When it's two degrees outside on your walk to class

The winter weather is not so forgiving, and I think my first walk to class was more negative than positive. Allie is extremely small with little-to-no hair, so she absolutely hates the winter and snow. My dog and I have more in common than I thought.

5. When you let a yawn slip in front of the professor

Okay, you have to give me a break on this one. How can you expect me to wake up so early when I have homework to do before the first class? My dog is never one to shy away from a huge yawn.

6. When you realize how much work you already have to do

Syllabus week? More like syllabus half-the-class-period. It seems like the farther I get into my college career, the more homework I have to do even before the class begins.

7. When you have to buy $300 worth of textbooks

The bookstore will completely play you when it comes to purchasing textbooks. Do you need the book? Too bad. You can either pay the bookstore price or search through old copies online. I guess Allie and I will have to wait for my books to come in the mail.

8. When you proudly shout the wrong answer in front of a class of strangers then shrug it off

Yes, my dog may look a little crazy, but her expression truly embodies how I feel on the first day. You want to make a good impression, but you don't want to embarrass yourself to the world's end. The. Struggle.

9. When you miss your family and think of your time at home

My dog misses me when I'm gone (I hope). She gives me puppy-dog eyes with a few whines and cries to make me feel extremely bad about nothing. I think it's time to FaceTime my dog...again.

9. When you just want to hang out with your friends, but they're too tired to do anything....

You're so excited to see everyone, but your friends are tired and exhausted from car rides and plane flights. Maybe tomorrow we can hang out? Dogs always want to play, especially when you just want to relax.

10. but then you're too tired, so you take a nap.

After a long day, you realize all you need is a bed and some shut-eye. Sweet (puppy) dreams!

Cover Image Credit: Brittany Bluthardt

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When Home Is No Longer A Place

Understanding what "home" is when you have more than one

As a way of killing time during my last week of vacation, I’ve been organizing the photos saved on my computer, and have gone through almost twenty years of my life as a result. Looking at so many photos over different periods of my life has been like watching a montage of the most memorable images I have lived through. It allowed me to see the beginnings and endings I’ve experienced: the different friend groups I’ve had, milestones like my high school graduation, and the last photo I took outside my house in London before my family moved to Brazil.

Going through photos reminded me the ways my life has changed over the years, especially the places I have lived in and have called “home” at a certain point. The idea of home has always been somewhat blurry to me and is something that I’ve never been quite able to define. The few times I have moved to a new country, I felt like I was leaving my true home behind. When I moved to Brazil, I felt like my real home was in London, yet when I moved away for college, I knew I was leaving another home again. The way I thought about home was constantly changing, to the point where I felt like I had several homes scattered across the world, each representing a different phase of my life.

While attending an international school for almost eight years, I became part of a community of students who had experienced moving from place to place and making new lives for themselves every time they moved. I got used to my friends moving away and making new ones every semester when more people came in. In more ways than one, everyone who was a part of our school’s international community had experienced these changes, and for those who moved as often as once a year, the idea of home can become especially complex.

Even though I have only moved a few times, I am still confronted with the way I define home every time I go back to one of the places I have lived in before. Coming home after my first semester of college was a shock to me: while it seemed like everything was still the same as when I left, it was clear that life in Brazil had gone on without me for the past six months. It was still the home I knew, but it was different, and it had moved on.

Reminiscing on the places I’ve defined as home made me realize that, for me, home is something that is constantly changing, and is often more than just a place. Home can be a person you’ve known your entire life, a sensation of total comfort, or somewhere that transports you back to your past. If you are someone who has moved around, if you went to an international school, if you left your family to go to college, then you may understand what it’s like to leave certain pieces of your identity in different places. I spent my childhood in London, grew up in Brazil, and learned to live independently in New York—when I return to each of them, I know I’m going somewhere that contains a piece of me and probably always will.

Cover Image Credit: chuttersnap

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