Oreo, The Best Pup

Oreo, The Best Pup

"Dogs are not our whole world but they make our lives whole"

A few years ago I got a call that broke my heart. I remember to this day exactly where I was. I was sitting in a booth next to a window right by the door at a restaurant called Toast in Charleston, SC. My best friend called me to tell me that her families pride a joy, Oreo had passed away. Oreo was their Boston Terrier and the most unique, lovable pup ever.

I'll tell you a little bit about her. She was wild and energetic. She sounded like a pig, and she made the cutest most bizarre noises. She was funny and a character to say the least. Oreo was quirky and weird, and I never related to any dog more. Oreo and I shared a bond, at least I'd like to think that. She had a thing she did with her toys. She would carry it over to me in her mouth and press it up against my lips. We liked to call them bone kisses.

I had lost a dog before, but it was different this time (even though she wasn't my own). One was a shockingly tragic event, and the other was a long time coming, making it easier to accept. Oreo's passing was different. She was still young, and I had just visited her a few weeks prior. She seemed full of life and happier than ever. Her passing was heartbreaking and crushing. Those weird noises she used to make that would make us laugh was actually cancer. I first remember being at a loss for words, unable to comprehend the news. The doctor said she was very sick, but Oreo NEVER let anyone see it. With how bad the cancer was, Oreo was a frickin' warrior. She was, honest to God, an inspiration; she never let anyone know she was in pain. I know she was a dog, but dogs are family. We value a dog's opinion and trust their instincts. The fact that no one knew how much pain she was in is amazing; she was always so happy.

Once the information sunk in, I began shedding tears in that booth. I was utterly stunned and distraught over the news. Oreo wasn't even my dog, and yet, I was still mourning her. To this day, my friend and I talk about the times we had with Oreo, the funny things she would do and the ways she'd make us laugh. Although she was wild, she was the biggest cuddler of them all. She loved being loved, and she must have been aware when she made people laugh because I'm pretty sure she loved showing off to crack a smile even more. Oreo had one of the greatest personalities of any dog, ever. And, that is why she will never be forgotten.

If these pictures don't make you crack a smile followed with a chuckle, I don't think we can be friends.

Cover Image Credit: Sydney Friedman

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The Thank You My Dad Deserves

While our moms are always the heroes, our dads deserve some credit, too.

Dear Dad,

You’ve gone a really long time without being thanked. I'm not talking about thanks for things like opening the Gatorade bottle I couldn't or checking my tires when my car’s maintenance light is flashing, but rather the thanks I owe you for shaping me into the person I am today.

Thank you for teaching me what I deserve and for not letting me settle for anything less.

While the whole world was telling me I wasn’t good enough, you were there to tell me I was. Whether this was with boys, a friend, or anything else, you always built my confidence to a place I couldn’t build it to on my own. You showed me what my great qualities were and helped me feel unique. But most of all, you never let me settle for anything less than what I deserved, even when I wanted to. Without you, I wouldn’t be nearly as ambitious, outgoing or strong.

Thank you for giving me someone to make proud.

It’s hard to work hard when it’s just for myself, but so easy when it’s for you. All through school, nothing made me happier than getting a good grade back because I knew I got to come home and tell you. With everything I do, you give me a purpose.

SEE ALSO: 20 Things You Say When Calling Your Dad On The Phone

Thank you for showing me what selflessness looks like.

You are the prime example of what putting your family first looks like. If me wanting something means that you can’t get what you want, you’ll always sacrifice. From wearing the same t-shirts you’ve had since I was in elementary school so I could buy the new clothes I wanted, to not going out with your friends so you could come to my shows, you never made a decision without your family at the forefront of your mind. If there is one quality you have that I look up to you for the most, it’s your ability to completely put your needs aside and focus entirely on the wants of others.

Thank you for being the voice in the back of my head that shows me wrong from right.

Even though many of your dad-isms like “always wear a seatbelt” easily get old, whenever I’m in a situation and can’t decide if what I’m doing is right or wrong, I always can hear you in the back of my head pointing me in the right direction. While I may not boost your ego often enough by telling you you’re always right, you are.

Thank you for being real with me when nobody else will.

Being your child hasn’t always been full of happiness and encouragement, but that’s what makes you such an integral part of my life. Rather than sugarcoating things and always telling me I was the perfect child, you called me out when I was wrong. But what separates you from other dads is that instead of just knocking me down, you helped me improve. You helped me figure out my faults and stood by me every step of the way as I worked to fix them.

Most of all, thank you for showing me what a great man looks like.

I know that marriage may seem very far down the road, but I just want you to know that whoever the guy I marry is, I know he’ll be right because I have an amazing guy to compare him to. I know you’re not perfect (nobody is), but you’ve raised me in a such a way that I couldn’t imagine my kids being raised any differently. Finding a guy with your heart, drive, and generosity will be tough, but I know it will be worth it.

Dad, you’re more than just my parent, but my best friend. You’re there for me like nobody else is and I couldn’t imagine being where I am now without you.

Love you forever,

Your little girl

Cover Image Credit: Caity Callan

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I Believe In Big Brothers

A big brother is more than just someone who makes fun of you and beats up the ones who break your heart.


I believe in big brothers. Whether related by blood or water, everyone needs a big brother. Someone to guide you, find you, and fight for you. Someone you can talk to every day but still have stuff to say. Someone who makes fun of you but won't let anyone else.

When I was younger I would follow around my brother, imitating his every move. My brother would then turn around switch places with me and start imitating my every move. We were close, but then he got older and moved away for college and then a job. We didn't talk as much and I only saw him when he came home for holidays, but even then we were so busy we didn't hang out. I lost my big brother, for a little while.

When my brother moved back home, he became part of my daily life. Every day, I would pick him up from the bus stop, and he would ask,

"Do you want ice cream because I want ice cream? Let's get DQ."

I could never pass up ice cream so we would we would drive around screaming Fergie at the top of our lungs and finishing the treat, making sure our mom didn't find out we had it.

Two Oreo and cookie dough blizzards later and the secrets began to spill. We would tell each other everything- relationship problems, work/school issues, things mom did that annoyed us, secrets we couldn't tell our parents, the TV shows we were watching. As the music blasted through the speakers, my brother gave me advice and explained his problems. Then the radio switched to Taylor Swift and we would spend a couple of seconds sharing our hatred for her, but in the end, our voices synced up as we sang along.

As I left for college, leaving my big brother was so sad. I would miss the ice cream runs, boxing fights, and late night eating sessions. It's hard to be away from your best friend.

But college brought us closer. As I began to follow the same path as my brother, he was able to guide and lead me to avoid his mistakes. Even though we were miles apart we still continued our usual antics.

A big brother is more than just someone who makes fun of you and beats up the ones who break your heart. A big brother is someone who teaches you how to be sarcastic, calls you just to tell you about the terrible show he watched and knows when someone's not good enough for you. A big brother is someone who could have no knowledge of where you are but still find you. A big brother is someone who never leaves your side—no matter how big the fight or how far apart you are.

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