A Thank You Note To The Coolest Dog Ever

Dear Dakota,

Where do I even start with you, buddy? I met you when I was 13. When we first saw you at the shelter, Mom and I knew you were the one. The lady warned us about you though; you were already returned twice. I wasn’t sure what we were about to get ourselves into, but what I do know now, is that you are the best dog best friend I could have asked for.

When I was 14, Mom wanted to take us on the ferry and spend the day in Province Town. Well, as you were sitting quietly on my lap, you started shaking and burping. Your stomach and the motion of the ship collided, and seasickness won the battle. Mother’s Intuition kicked in and Mom caught literally all of your throw up in her hands. It was like a scene straight out of Marley & Me.

When I was 15 we moved, driving all the way from Boston to West Palm. On a pit stop in Maryland I got out of the car to buy snacks. You somehow managed your way out of the car and ran after me. You could’ve ran right into traffic. But you came straight to me and jumped into my arms– afraid to be apart.

When I was 16, you started waiting at the front door just before I’d come home from school. You’d greet me with tail waggles and kisses, and I’d get right on the floor to wrestle with you and sneak you way too many treats for Mom’s liking. We’d cuddle on the couch for hours as I did homework, and you’d follow me right to bed.

When I was 17, I graduated high school and spent the following year and a half at home taking care of Mom. I would visit her every day at the hospital. Every night like clockwork, you would be laying at the front door to greet me with kisses, and we would go straight to bed.

I left home at 19 for the Navy. I woke up early on the day I shipped out to say “see you later.” I told you to protect Mama and be a good boy while I was gone; I said I’d come back soon to play with you. Would you believe me if I told you that you were the reason I cried for the first time in boot camp? I missed you too much, dude.

Over these past 7 years you have been the best dog a girl could ask for. When you would get scared during thunderstorms or fireworks, I’d hold you for hours to calm you down. We became Thunder Buddies. When I was sad, you’d stay in bed all day with me and rest your head on my shoulder. We became Nap Buddies. When Mom wasn’t looking, I’d sneak you bites of my food every meal. It got to the point where you’d pretty much eat half the plate. We became Snack Buddies.

Last night I took you to the beach. We ran together along the water as it kissed your paws. We played in the sand, getting it in every nook and cranny and all over the car seats.

This morning before my flight, I said “see you later.”

So to the coolest dog out there– thank you. I know you’ll be right there…laying at the front door…waiting for me to come home.

Your Human,

Alex

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