Dear Annie,

Today we say our final goodbyes and recount the many paw prints you have left behind in our hearts and in our memories. You lived a long and meaningful life and I’m forever grateful to have grown up in loving home with you as the 5th member of our family. I am certain Mom, Dad and Adam all loved you for different reasons and in their own ways, but to me you were always a kind and gentle friend.

We began our journey together just before I became a “high grader”. Although I don’t remember vivid stories from when you were a puppy, I will never forget staring at your sweet little face. You had bold brown eyes, wet floppy ears, funny eyebrows and oversized friendly paws. We must have bonded instantly as I was equally awkward with braces and embarrassing zits. You were much cuter though. These were the years you endured my high pitched, incessant baby-talk where I rhymed your name with anything and everything I could think of. You let me dress you up in t-shirts and even played along when I velcroed fuzzy rain boots on your feet. You hated the wet grass.

High school was an adventure and you stood by me through the roller coaster of highs and lows and everything else that came along with being a hormonal teen. You were the silent cheerleader waiting by the door as I bounced in with good grades, new friends, first dates, and a driver’s license. You were also the silent friend that offered concern and comfort during mistakes, knee surgeries, heartbreak and uncertainty.

During college we parted ways, but I took your picture and love with me along with a car full of junk. My first couple of years were tough battling homesick feelings all while learning to become an independent thinker, student and woman. You made the trip a time or two, but I could tell you weren’t ready for college either. I so desperately hoped you understood why I had to leave. Even if you didn’t, you joyfully welcomed me home time and time again. You were always a sight for sore eyes after that 2 ½ hour car ride. Before we knew it those care free, fun days came to an end and it was time to graduate. I’ll forever cherish the picture of us sitting on the couch in my apartment with Grandma Clark. I’m dressed in my cap and gown ready to receive my diploma and without surprise, you were there too.

Fast forward a few more years and I’m happily married, with a house and pets of my own. Because of you I’m able to patiently teach Maddie how to become a good dog. Don’t worry; I know she still has room for improvement. She’ll never replace you, but rather fit alongside the place in my heart where I’ll forever keep you. I don’t think you’ll mind too much because one of your best qualities was your ability to embrace change. You lovingly accepted new members of the family over the years and we both know there have been quite a few. You never discriminated, whether on two legs or four, you loved them anyway and it’s easy to see why they loved you too.

After 13 years of joyrides, cookies, belly rubs, begging for pizza, drinks from the faucet and naps in the sun, you quietly passed on. I am so sorry I wasn’t by your side when your eyes closed, but I’m enormously comforted knowing Mom tenderly wrapped you in warm blankets and consoled you with her soft words, you must have known how truly loved you were. Even though you are no longer here, you still found a way to be with me as you impart one final gift. You are teaching me how to lose a dear friend. You were my first real love and my first true love lost. Our journey ends here today, but your sweet face and gentle spirit will live on and on through my paw printed memories.

Sleep well Animal, I love you.

xoxo Claire


  1. Stephanie McCurry says:

    Wow!! The tears are streaming!! Your letter to your sweet Annie has got to be one of the sweetest things I have ever read!! I also understand the heartbreak. I was blessed with 12 1/2 years,with my K9 daughter,Macy. She went to Heaven on March 1,2010 and I miss her everyday! I’m so sorry for your loss. I hope your days get brighter. Thank you for sharing your lovely letter!

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