Dear Honey,

Honey
I just went to the vet and picked up your ashes. They had put them in a nice little wood stained box. I put you in the front seat (your favorite spot) and looked over and thought, “how did they get all that love into one tiny box?” That box doesn’t define Honey’s life. Her life had no walls and was filled with boundless love. “You’re coming home girl. Your job is done.”
11 years ago Honey came into my life. She had mange, worms, and was severely underweight. She found me and I got her healthy again. She lived her life full of adventure. We went to skateparks, went on roadtrips, sat and watched sunsets in San Diego, and BB’Qd on Sundays. I would always do a special voice when talking to Honey. She loved that voice and would wag her tail. She had a life some humans could only dream about. I miss sitting on my bed after a shower when she would come over and lick the water off of me. She kissed me a million times easy. Everyday. I can go on for days. I gave her the best damn ride ever, and in return she gave me love, loyalty, and was my sidekick. Dogs really teach you a lot about life. Good times and bad times, she was there. At the worst of times, she made it better. She didn’t care if at one point all we had was a mattress in an empty apartment. Things got better though. The last year of her life I finally bought my first house. The real selling point was the backyard. She got to enjoy it. She was a huge influence on my start up skateboard company and her image has been on our boards, stickers and tattooed on my arm. Brain cancer had taken a fierce toll on her, and on July 3rd, 2014, I made a choice to let her leave Earth. Her memories of the countless people she touched will remain.
I had a cookout for her on the 2nd and had family and friends from over the years stop by and say goodbye. She kissed every one of them. Her ashes we be spread here in Nashville at all her favorite places but I will always keep some for myself. She was my greatest friend and teacher. You were the sweetest thing on planet Earth. I repeatedly whispered “Daddy loves you” as you went to sleep and you let out a simple sigh and relaxed.
So I ask only one thing: raise a glass for Honey and hug your dog. Their biggest thrill is seeing you.
Thank you Honey.
I love you.

Dear Ruby,

Ruby

You will never know how much you meant to me, every single day you brought joy to my life. Each time I came home you’d greet me like we had been apart for a lifetime. You’d squeak, run up my legs and into my arms. I can’t believe we will never share those moments again. You were so much fun, your spirit was beautiful and ever-giving. You taught me so much. You took each day as it came, never complaining–you were forever happy.

I remember when we first met you, a chunky, fluffy brown puppy. Tom held you and you nibbled his beard, it was the cutest thing I’d ever seen. When we brought you home, you played with your first toy for half an hour and slept for 3 hours afterwards. I just sat and looked at you sleeping so serenely, checking every few minutes that you were still breathing. Sometimes you’d fall asleep in my arms and I’d just gaze at you, waiting for you to wake up so we could play again. You were so tiny you couldn’t even jump up the stairs!

As you grew older, you were such a cheeky monkey. Forever with your nose in something. I could never stay mad at you for long, those big brown eyes, those little white socks. You’d come trotting through the house, your feet pitter-pattering on the wooden floor. How I long to hear that sound again.

We didn’t use to let you upstairs–your favorite place to wee! But after a while we allowed you up there, once you’d realized you’re supposed to wee outside! At night we would get in to bed, and Tom and I would call you up in our silly voices–you had about a thousand different names. You’d gallop upstairs, launch onto the bed, climb all over our faces and eventually under the quilt, where you’d settle by our feet–perfect in the winter. We would cuddle up to you–that was when I felt completely content. If it happened to be a day when me and Tom were off work together and had a lie in, you’d be bored waiting for us to wake up and, come 9am, you’d run up the bed and lick/trample on our faces until we woke up. Tom would pull you in close and you’d lay on your side having belly tickles; we loved making a fuss of you. We always used to comment on how velvety your belly felt–as you grew older the fur became wiry, but your tummy was so warm.

We used to sit in the sun together, do you remember? We always said we thought you were Mexican. You looked so happy and content. We would put your blanket on the patio and you’d lounge about for hours, popping in momentarily for a quick slurp of water. I remember once laying in my hammock, and you laying on my chest. These were the moments of utter joy. I’d look into your eyes, and you in to mine, and we would share a moment. I adored you, you were my soul mate. I don’t know how I will cope not having you in my life.

I had an awful time a few years ago, and you were there for me throughout. I’d be led on the sofa crying for no reason that you or I could fathom. You’d jump up and gently lick my tears and I’d laugh, an instant happiness. You’d then proceed to lie literally across my face and I’d have to move you so I could breathe! I’d give anything to have you console me right now.

I miss your smell. Tom would think me so strange, but I swear you smelled like popcorn. I hope that smell lingers for a while, I’m not ready to let go just yet.

Everyone loved you–I mean really loved you. You got so excited when people came over, you’d jump and squeak until they paid you some attention, which no one could resist doing. If they sat down, you’d wait for the perfect moment to clamber up the side, round the back, and sneak in a cheeky lick. Despite this being terribly bad manners, everyone would laugh.

I can’t help but remember all the trouble you caused! You were hilarious, so mischievous. You didn’t have a bad bone in your body–except for when you protected me (though I should say Ruby, the postman really wasn’t a threat). Also, when a bigger dog would come bounding over–then you’d show ‘em! As you got older, you got little grey “goggles” around your eyes–I used to get angry when people would point them out, I’d say “THEY’RE WHITE!!”–you were forever young at heart, a way of life you’ve passed on to me.

So many fond memories I have of you my darling Ruby. How can it be that you’ve been taken from us so soon? I’d get back from work shattered, and you’d be so excitable, and I’d eventually muster up the energy to take you on a walk. It’s funny–they say you don’t know what you’ve got ’til it’s gone. I would do anything to be walking you in the sunshine right now, down to your favorite place, the Gannel, where I could throw sticks for you and watch you splashing around and chasing the birds in the estuary.

So my baby, I guess it’s time to say goodbye–the single hardest thing I’ve ever had to do. As much as I’d kill to have you back, I know that’s not possible. So, when you get to the other side, find yourself a nice bed, lay down and chew on some rawhide. Look after yourself little one, and continue to be that carefree rascal you always were. Don’t worry about us, all that matters to us is that you’re happy. Forever in my thoughts, always in my heart.

I love you Ruby-roo.

Breed: Jack Russell mix

Dear Haley,

Haley
My little girl,
My peanuts,
My peanutsy balesy pudding pops,

When we first met nine years ago, I never imagined I would form such a strong, loving bond and companionship with such a little puppy.

I spent the first sixteen years of my life not knowing the unconditional love of a dog (and even a few years after, as you only had room for your mommy’s love and nobody else).

I remember sleeping over at Mommy’s during college and taking up your “spot” in the bed. You were really smart – you’d listen to my breathing and as soon as my body fell asleep, you’d dance on my chest to keep me up all night as revenge.

I used to think you were being bratty, but I now realize that you never let anyone or anything get in between the people you loved. That’s such an admirable trait for such a tiny dog.

When I put a diamond ring on Mommy’s finger, I already considered you my little girl. I loved holding you on walks outside on the streets of the north end (why walk on a leash when daddy will carry you?). I didn’t care that I was a grown man proudly carrying a 3 pound yorkie with a pink bow and sweater . You were my little girl.

As we grew up in our first home together, I loved the simple things with you. Your excitement jumping around for a freshly opened bag of Pop Chips, a big scoop of peanut butter being caught on the roof of your mouth, or my/your favorite time of the day–”Haley Funtime.” If you remember, this is when we slowly slid your comfy brown donut-shaped bed (with your pink blanket) from the living room into the bedroom for bed. You couldn’t sleep without being close to your family.

In our time living together, I truly hope you grew to love me near the same level as mommy, and maybe even thought of me as your daddy.
I know you’ve been sick the past year or two, and it breaks my heart we couldn’t find a way to spend one more day with you. You were our shadow and our constant tiny companion. Our lives will never be the same without the sound of your paw reaching for kibble, without your kisses on our hands and feet, and without your cute little self just being around us.

Every night before bed, I will always say a prayer for you and will miss you always. Although you’re no longer with us physically, your little paw print will always be in my heart.

I’ll love you forever Haley.

Love always,
Your Daddy

Breed: Yorkshire Terrier