This is part of our Saturday Editorial Series. Normally, we let our dogs do all of the talking! Join Peanut Butter Brickle and Digby Pancake every weekday for their take on life at 2travelingdogs.com
If you follow our blog, you know that we have went through a pretty big bump in the road lately with Digby’s foot injury. It has been hard to watch our boy struggle to do every day, normal activities like walking and hiking. But as our boys get older, we see that we are going to have to make adjustments too. And it was a big learning lesson for us.
I often wonder if Brickle and Digby know how much they truly mean to me. To us. To our family. I thought that I told them enough, but when this incident occurred with Digby, I realized that I had not truly told them my innermost feelings. I realized that if they were no longer in my life, that there would have been things unsaid. And I did not want that. I see the posts on social media to dogs that are no longer with us and the outpouring of love for them. But why do we wait to tell our dogs until they are gone? Because we would seem crazy? Because we don’t want to feel? Because we don’t want to be hurt…as much…if they are no longer with us? I knew that was the case for many. And I did not want to be a part of that.
So last week, I put my pride aside and I decided that my dogs deserved to know how I felt just as if I was writing a letter to a person. Because truth be told, they mean more to me than almost anyone. And that I am not afraid to say. So I started off last week with a letter to Digby. And you know of course, I had to follow with a letter to Brickle. And I agonized over this letter all week. Why?
Peanut Butter Brickle is my heart. Yes, I know that may be just a figure of speech for some. But for me, I mean it. If he is sad, I am sad. If he is happy, I am happy. My heart literally will skip a beat when I see him sometimes. My heart will hurt when he is hurt. I feel him and his essence unlike any other being in my world. It is like we can communicate better with no words. But that being said, I wanted him to know, as best as I could articulate, what he meant to me. That is a privilege that we as people have. We can voice our feelings. Don’t take that for granted. So here it goes.
I know you like me to get down to the point. So here it is. I have wanted to write you a letter for a very long time. I have wanted to tell you exactly how much you mean to me, how amazing you are, and how I feel about you. But to be honest, my feelings are so deep that putting them into words seems impossible. And in some ways, I don’t think that any words could truly be enough. And that is why I have put off writing this letter. I took it for granted that you knew, and that you know, how much I love you. But I don’t want to take any chance that you don’t.
I joke with you all of the time that you know how handsome you are and how expressive you are. But the truth is, that is what I think. And what I know. When I look at the colors in your fur, it mesmerizes me. The patterns, the brindle colors, they are simply fit for you. To me, you are exquisite. Yes. Exquisite.
When Nathan first showed me a picture of you that the shelter had taken for your adoption photo, you had your head in your dog bowl. You looked so sad. And sometimes, I cannot get that image out of my head. I want you to know that Nathan wanted to go get you that day. But we had a dog before you in our family that had died. And we were still so sad. I didn’t think I was ready. So instead of waiting on me, Nathan went to that shelter you had been in for six whole months and he said that although you ignored him, you loved the kittens there. And that is how he saw how truly kind you were. I want you to know that when I pulled up in that driveway, and I saw you sitting there, that is the most surprised I have ever been in my whole life. You see, Nathan did not go to shelters. He did not do things like that. And I knew when you sat down and watched me pull in the driveway, that you had been waiting for me. You had been waiting for me! And Brickle? I had been waiting for you for my whole life. My whole life. OH, how much you changed my life that day, my love.
You challenged me from the start. I knew you were different. I knew you were your own person. Yes, person. No one will ever convince me that you are a simply a dog. You needed walks, but more than that, you needed interaction, you needed conversation, you needed to be mine. You needed to be mine. You needed a purpose and I was your purpose. I am grateful for that.
I told Digby last week in his letter that I thanked him for fulfilling my dreams of being a parent. I have told you before that I had always wanted human kids. And when that did not happen, I hoped that somehow, I would still be able to be fulfilled in that way. I didn’t mean to put any burden on you or Digby in that way, or treat you any other way than what you deserved. I did not want to make you into human kids, or pretend that you were. But what you did for me was show me that having you both in my life was a gift all in its own. It was a privilege that was no less important than my past dreams had been. And you really did complete me.
I want you to know that sometimes, I worry about you. I know how deeply you feel, and I worry that you can’t express your worries. I see how sensitive you are, and I know you realize the depths of my depression. I want you to know that you do not have to cure me. You do not have to think that it is your job to make everything better. It is my job to take care of you. And I want you to relax. Oh, Brickle, if there was one thing I wished for you is that you could relax sometimes. I feel like you take the burdens of the world on your shoulders. And Brickle? Just being you is good enough. In fact, it is more than enough.
Brickle, you are a part of our family that makes it complete. Digby looks up to you. Nathan feels secure knowing I am safer with you. And you are beyond needed. Brickle, we need you. I need you.
One time, many years ago, someone told me that our relationship was weird. That no dog should mean that much to someone. And I have always remembered that in a good way. Because it showed me that what we have IS special. I know that our love is a once in a lifetime love. I don’t take it for granted. I never will. I never have. I want the world to know how wonderful you are. I want the world to know how hard you worked visiting all those shelters on our trips. I want the world to know that all dogs are individuals, and you have made that happen for many. Brickle? You are perfection in one brindle package. I’ll always be grateful to you for showing me what love really is.
And if any words can tell you in this letter how I feel about you, in case you still don’t realize it completely, it is this…I love you, Brickle. I love you. I love you as much as love can love. You have kept me alive. You will be a part of me forever.
So if you are fortunate enough to have a dog, a cat, or any other animal in your home and in your life, let them know today how you feel. Don’t wait for a special occasion. Don’t say that you don’t write letters. Don’t say that it is too much work. I can guarantee that on the day that they are no longer with us, you will feel all of the feelings towards them that you try to push away. Feel the feelings now with them in your life. Enjoy every single moment. Imagine that there is a clock…ticking down…right in front of you with how much time you have left together. Make every second count. Be the person you can be for your dog. Be the best you. Tell your dog today why they make your world go round.
-Rachael Johnson, Owner and Girl Person of 2 Traveling Dogs and Your Dog’s Diner
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