Dear Mr. Waldo,

You and I make a great team. You know it, I know, and everyone else knows it. We didn’t meet until you were six years old but that’s ok because we made up for all the lost time. You probably have no idea but we met on Mother’s Day 2009. Your foster parents brought you over for a “trial run” and we clicked and just like that, you and I became an us. You came from the Basset Hound rescue group and even though you’re part Lab they took you in and I fell in love. You’re funny looking. I’m sorry, but there’s no way around it. You have a Lab head stuck on a Basset Hound body and the saddest, most inquisitive eyes I’ve ever seen on a dog. You’re funny looking, but damn, you’re cute. We get stopped numerous times when we walk around Lady Bird Lake because people just want to know what you’re mixed with. You’re always so quick to give a hand sniff and a wag of the tail. You make people fall in love with you. I knew the only way someone would be able to become part of our family is if you approved it. You approved Michelle years ago and she’s given more love than you know what to do with. I also know she lets you sleep in bed when I’m traveling for work. I know what you two have been up to.

I have no idea why you were at the animal shelter but none of that matters now because you’re with me and I’m with you. You’ve been there for me when I needed to talk out loud to make sense of situations and you’re always willing to listen to me sing Aretha Franklin songs to you. This my dear, is why you’re my best friend. Remember after your surgery when you gained weight and your doctor said it was time to reign it in? I know you were kind of irritated about the diet but all the extra walking was a blast, eh? You’ve taken everything in stride and that’s what’s so endearing about you. You looked so handsome last summer when the folks at PetsMart painted your nails blue and you’re always so patient when your grandma puts bunny ears or antlers on your head.

I’m writing this letter to you while you sleep at my feet. You’re at work with me today. This isn’t unusual but the circumstances are. I tried really hard to hide my tears from you yesterday after speaking with different doctors but I just couldn’t keep them in any longer. You’re dying, friend. I don’t understand it and it’s not fair but this is the hand we’ve been dealt. My main goal right now (as it’s always been) is to keep you happy and free from pain. I want you here with me forever but I know that’s not possible. Listen to me kid, I love you unconditionally and I know that feeling is mutual. My life will forever be separated into two halves; before Waldo and after Waldo. I’ll be with you through the end, buddy – you’ll never be alone.

Lindsay


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