Dear Rustle, also known as Rustlypoo, Rustlypoobear, and even Rustlypoobearupintheair,

The moment you stepped into my home during the summer of my 5th-grade year, I was immediately in love. You were already considered a Senior dog, although I disagree that 10-years-old is anything near old. You sat right beside me and begged for my hand to never leave your belly and your head. You resembled a piece of fried chicken and the moment I made that comparison, I knew you'd be a part of our family forever.

I know you were sad the minute your previous owner left the house. You waited for weeks and months at the front door for her return. But that didn't stop you from playfully pulling my little brother around the house as he gripped on a towel or blanket. You still played hide-and-go-seek with me even though you found me within 5 seconds every single time. You still waited for the evil mailman to step onto your territory and still scanned the house for potential those damn squirrels. You didn't let your sadness get in the way of adjusting to a new family. Because of that, you fit yourself right into the spot in our family tree that was waiting for you this whole time

You walked me all the way to school and picked me up. You attended all my volleyball and soccer games even if we lost every single time. You never left my side when I was sad or upset. You knew when I was hiding away from everyone and made sure I wasn't alone during the process. When I had a 104-degree fever while I was home alone, you didn't even get up to eat or drink water for the whole day. We took you on all possible family trips and vacations. From Yosemite to Las Vegas, you were always there by our side. You just love being around people especially around your favorite humans. You'd stay by my side while I was doing my homework or panicking for yet another exam. You'd scoot my arm with your nose as if to let me know that everything will be okay. You were there in all of our Christmas family pictures and you were the star of all my Facebook and Instagram posts. You made sure you were heard during Breakfast, Lunch, AND Dinner and always reminded my brother when he was even 10 minutes late to your feeding time (6:00 pm SHARP). You moved with us throughout every house we lived in, and that is part of the reason why our house turned into a home

I am sorry for all the times I forgot to pat your head before I left to school or if I complained when you would want to pee in at 4:30 am in the morning. I'm sorry I couldn't be home more and I'm sorry I let my dramatic and meaningless problems get in the way of ever spending more time with you. I'm sorry for all the times Pokey and Rocky annoyed or disturbed you.

Even though your times with us, from my 5th-grade year to my third year in college is a long time, I always feel like our time fell short. However, you lived 23 long and strong years. When we pulled up to the hospital on April 7th, 10 am, you passed peacefully right near the house where we first got you. It was as if you didn't want to have me make the difficult choice that all pet owners have contemplated. I scratched your chin and patted your head one last time after you took your final breath.

Thank you for cuddling with me every night. Thank you for staying in my room even though it's inconveniently far from the water bowl. Thank you for protecting our family. Thank you for making me feel better when nobody else could, you are the ultimate example of how sometimes presence can heal better than words.

Your presence still lingers within this family. No matter how many houses we move to, you are forever in our lives and you will forever be remembered. You will always be my best friend.

Yosemite Justine Ramos

Las Vegas Justine Ramos

Lake Perris Justine Ramos