To my dog.
I will thank you when you let me cry on you. I will rub my knuckles on the spots you can't reach. I will shove a treat in your mouth if you are too lazy or too weird to eat it like a regular dog.
I will only call you names in a happy sing song voice so you know I don't mean it. I will only ever step on you on accident. I will grab your ear and tweak your butt to make you chase me around the house because you seem to like that.
I will take you up to grandma and grandpa's house at least once a month so you can get the zoomies and play with the big man with the beard and patrol the yard to protect us from chipmunks.
One day I will let you chase a squirrel.
I will pull tennis ball fluff out of your mouth when you destroy them. I will look through your poop for the Lambchop stuffy ear you ate last week. I will feed you food that I would eat if it didn't taste gross.
I will thank you for waking me up when you're going to be sick at two in the morning. Going outside when it's cold is surprisingly more fun than cleaning your runny poops off the kitchen floor but my real reason is because you look so upset when you've had an accident.
I will wash your paws every time you come in the house because it seems to help your allergies. I will find food that doesn't leave you with skin infections and hot spots. I will put fish oil in every other meal because it's supposed to help your skin and coat. I will buy real meat and feed it to you with my fingers if that's what it takes.
I will only take you to the vet when we need to go, and I will hold you as tight as you need while they look you over. I will cry when I leave you there for six hours to get your teeth cleaned. I will tell them they shouldn't hand me your collar and leash when I go to leave you there because it feels too much like it's final. And when we get home I will let you run around the house and cuddle with me as much as you want.
I will feel like a bad mama when they have to shave you down and put you on antibiotics again. I will cry (again) when I see the open wound on your back from where you've licked your skin raw because it itches. I will worry I'm not doing enough for you.
I will not make fun of you (to your face) while you have the cone of shame on. I will not say anything how funny you look with a big patch of hair missing. I will pet you everywhere even when you're hairless and I will still rub my knuckles on the spots you can't reach.
I will not fart in your face to wake you up, and I'd appreciate it if you'd do the same. I will play tug of war with you and Dr Bear. I will sing made up songs to you when you're in the tub because I know you don't like baths and that seems to chill you out. I will dance with you when you want to dance. I will only make you do tricks to impress people if you're already awake and having fun. I will let you take frequent breaks while I brush and trim your coat because it freaks you out. I will make you wear sweaters and coats but not antlers or bunny ears (for more then a few minutes).
I will put you on my Christmas cards. I will be the big spoon. I will make you want to squirm out of my arms. I will take you everywhere I legally can and show the world how awesome you are. I will not date people who don't think you're cuter than I am. I will not date people you don't like. I will not date people who don't understand that you sleep on the bed.
I will love you forever and ever, even when it's hard and expensive and it hurts my heart because you can't tell me what's wrong and I can't fix it right away. I will give you all of my heart and you will give me all of yours because that's what dogs do with their people, and that's what people do with their dogs and somehow, magically, it makes both our hearts bigger so that we can share each other with the rest of the world.
(Sorry for the morning weepies, folks. It's shark week and it's been a rough couple of days and I wanted to share.)