Open Letter to My Dog

Momservation: The first ingredient in Humble Pie is cleaning up someone else’s poop.

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IMG_0440In the ongoing effort to change my perspective to a positive one, become grateful for the little things, and not waste energy hanging onto anger and disappointment I have turned to an expert in these matters.

My dog.

After coming home to yet another mess—the result of a Yellow Labrador convinced she hasn’t eaten in her entire three year lifespan—I had an epiphany. As Darby hunkered by the door, clearly repentant for being unable to resist impulse, she could not contain the wag of her tail and body wiggling joy that I was home. Despite knowing the penalty for her transgression was to throw her mischievous fuzzy butt outside, the last place she wanted to be—away from me—I could see in her eyes that she still adored me and already forgave me for the anxiety I was about to inflict on her.

Instead of scolding her and throwing her out, I quietly picked up the shredded gift bag, the now empty box of Junior Mints, and the movie gift card with a bite out of it because it dared to get in the way of a chocolate prize.

Coming back to stand in front of Darby with my hands on my hips, Darby’s averted gaze told me she was sorry. Again, she could not contain the joyous wag of her tail as she peeked back at me, clearly hoping we could let this whole lapse in judgment go and move on.IMG_0739

And in that moment I decided I could learn a lot from Darby. I could hang onto my anger and waste energy being mad, or I could harness the positive energy of forgiveness to propel myself forward instead of being rooted in resentment.

“You’re right,” I told her as I moved forward to scratch her behind her ears. “It feels better to forgive.” Darby surged forward delighted with my decision, prancing around under a barrage of pets as if to say, See? Doesn’t this feel better?

And it did. And I wanted to thank her for it and all the other simple life lessons a dog can teach us. So I composed this letter:

Open Letter to my dog:

–          Thank you for teaching me that even when I can be so mad at someone for something they’ve done that giving in to forgiveness feels so much better. IMG_0329

–          Thank you for showing me how to go after every task with unbridled joy and exuberance.

–          Thank you for keeping me humble by having to pick up your deposits.

–          Thank you for making me think about someone other than myself.

–          Thank you for reminding me that how you greet someone can make all the difference in a bad day.

–          Thank you for showing me the value of being an eternal optimist.

–          Thank you for making me feel relevant by acting like the absence of my presence is the end of the world.

–          Thank you for reminding me of the simple joys in life like wind on your face and cozy place to curl up. IMG_0778

–          Thank you for teaching me that sometimes all someone needs is a quick pat on the back.

–          Thank you for showing me that unfaltering loyalty is a priceless gift.

–          Thank you for teaching me that when your basic needs of food, shelter, and affection are met everything else doesn’t really matter.

–          Thank you for your unconditional love even when I know I don’t deserve it.

–          Thank you for all the times you quietly and patiently sat beside me even though I know you really just wanted to play.

–          Thank you for making me walk you even when I didn’t want to, but then realizing it was exactly what we both needed.

–          Thank you for letting me put silly costumes and headgear on you just so I could laugh. IMG_0790

–          Thank you for showing me that sticking to a routine can be very comforting.

–          Thank you for giving me the security to  be absolutely ridiculous in showing my affection for you with baby talk and silly love names.

–          Thank you for reminding me to live in the moment enjoy the journey.


  1. Jennifer Tuttle says:

    Thank you for showing me that poop can be a tasty snack.

    Thank you for showing me how to sniff butts.

    Thank you making me believe the only things in life that matter are food and urinating on trees.

    Thank you for reminding me that illiteracy and ignorance about every sphere of human knowledge can be wonderful.

    Thank you for reminding me how great it must be to have a lifespan of a mere 15 years, poor color vision, and an inability to speak, or vote, or drive, or ponder the universe. How great it must be to have a tiny brain incapable of even recognizing your own reflection in a mirror.

    • kellimwheeler says:

      Hey, you gotta be grateful for something. To each his own…

      p.s. Feel free to try a cup of half full – so much tastier than cup half empty.

      Enjoy the journey

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