Dear Banjo (With a Bow on Top),

Dear Banjo,

When I was a little girl, every year I asked my parents for a dog. I got a stuffed one, but it wasn’t until I was 25 years old that my life would allow for a dog to come into it. I carefully researched breeds, and made appointments to attend adoption events. I’m not sure what made me decide to visit the shelter on that rainy day in January 2000. Maybe it was you.

You were in outside in your pen, but when I came by, you shyly licked my hand. You were beautiful and unique, and I asked the volunteer if I could meet you. As soon as I petted you, you laid down across my feet and let me pat your belly. That’s all it took for me to fall in love with you. The people at the shelter told me that you were past your euthanize date, but luck had been on your side: they’d had room for you and hadn’t yet had to put you down. You were picked up as a stray off the street, you were so skinny that your hips were visible.

The next day I picked you up from the vet to take you home. We stopped at the fast food drive-through and I bought you cheeseburgers. We shared them at the park. You ate most of them. The fries too. The first night, I didn’t want you to feel afraid in your new home, so I slept down on the couch near you.

You amazed me with your good manners. You were already house-trained, and you have never chewed a shoe in all the years we’ve been together. You took eagerly to obedience training, and I taught you silly tricks. “Say hamburger” impresses people. Your shyness melted away and you became the cuddly, outgoing, loving dog you are today. You’ve won over everyone who meets you, even my self-proclaimed “cat person” mother.

You have been there for me when no one else was, for almost fourteen years. You have loved me longer than anyone outside of my family. You always know when I need your cuddles, when I need a good hike to clear my head, when to go for a ride in the car, when I need to laugh. I’ll never forget the first time you saw snow, or watching you catch lizards with your paws, or you eating blueberries right off my mother’s bushes.

I don’t know your actual birthday, but every year in January, I make cupcakes to celebrate the day you came into my life. I know there probably aren’t going to be many more cupcakes, and I don’t know what I’ll do without you. I wish I could express how much you mean to me, and how much I love you, but I suspect that you already know.

I love you forever.

Your Momma (Heather)


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