A Letter to the Family Dog: You're a Good Boy

by Julia Pelly October 27, 2016

kid and dog sitting at dinner table waiting for food

Dear Bo,

This is a letter of both apology and thanks. You're a good dog. You came to us when you were just a pup and when your dad and I were newlyweds. When we picked you up at the shelter we promised to love you forever and to walk you every day.

Since we brought you home almost five years ago, just about everything has changed. We moved you from Louisiana to North Carolina and then from one neighborhood in North Carolina to another. You’ve changed vets and friends. And, most strikingly of all, we grew from a family of three (you and me and your dad) to a family of four when our baby boy was born.

When the baby came home the course of your life changed. Your walks got shorter and you lost your feature spot on our Holiday card. Even your name changed. You used to be Tonks, like in Harry Potter, but, when the baby began to babble and called you “Bo” the name stuck. Now-a-days you rarely hear your old name. For that, and for so much more, my little Tonks, I’m sorry.

I’m sorry that we don’t buy you presents every time we go to the grocery store anymore. I remember the first time I went to the store after we picked you out. I loaded up the cart with treats and toys, excited to spoil you. After that, I picked out something for you almost every time I went. Now I struggle to remember to get your food, special treats and toys are limited to the holidays.

I’m sorry we forgot to get your shots last year because the baby got sick. I'm sorry that once we remembered, we’d missed the appointment and it took us a month to get you in. Like the proud parents we were in your puppy days, we both used to attend your vet appointments. Now we volley the responsibility back and forth and do our best to get you in.

I’m sorry you lost your spot on the bed – four is just too many. When you were a tiny puppy you slept in my arms, right between us. As you grew, you moved to the foot of the bed, keeping our feet cozy and our bed full. Then the baby came, and the bed was full and you were booted. We got you a dog bed, soft and cozy, but you still hop up from time to time, looking for your old spot.

I’m sorry I’m not as excited to see you when I walk through the door. I used to look forward to our reunion as I drove home but now, as I walk in carrying both child and bags, I only hope you don’t knock me over with glee. I'm still excited to see you, I promise, I usually just need a few minutes to get settled before I can give you your hugs.

I’m also sorry that you get stood on and rode on and patted with force almost every single day. You’re quite a trooper. Though we’ve always loved to cuddle and pet you, the little hands doing the petting now are still learning to be gentle. You’re so kind, and so patient.

So Tonks, for all of it, I’m sorry. But I'm also so, so thankful.

Thank you for being my boy’s first dog and best friend. Thank you for letting him walk you on a leash, so very slowly. Thank you for playing the part of a horse, and a road, and a pillow.

You were our first baby and, no matter what changes, we’ll always love you.


Your family

Julia Pelly


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