A Birthday Letter to My “Boy”

Dear Dakota,

Today is your birthday. YOU ARE NOW SIX YEARS OLD! 

dakota birthday 6

 

It is hard for me to wrap my head around that  number.

This is the first of your birthdays that I am sad.  I am trying with all of my might to be in a celebratory mood, and I will accomplish that, I just can’t at this moment.

Where has the time gone?

this was the first photo we were given of Dakota from his breeder, Shelia Ellis, before we had met him

this was the first photo we were given of Dakota from his breeder, Shelia Ellis, before we had met him

 

It seems as if it was only yesterday that after an INTENSE and most DEDICATED search by your Dad to fulfill a childhood wish of  mine of presenting me with a Sheltie for my birthday, that SIX YEARS HAVE PASSED.

caren dakota and lenny best yom kippur 2012edited

 

When you joined our family you were only 8 months old. A mere pup. I remember when we had picked you up and were bringing you “home”, sitting with you in the back seat of the car, you were in your crate, I was next to you petting you and talking to you because we were told that you and cars did NOT get along. I did my best to  soothe and reassure you.

You instantly became friends with your kitty brother, a huge blessing for your Dad and I.

I am HONORED!

My biggest frustration in those early days was that I thought you would NEVER be housebroken!! I remember a relentless parade of going up and down 12 stairs with you, you were housebroken in your previous home,  you just had to learn the lay of the land with us.

It is hard for me to believe that the first two weeks that you lived with us you were QUIET! I honestly thought you did NOT know how to bark! To think, that ever worried me with the multitude of times every day that you show us that YES INDEED YOU CAN BARK,  and  quite well I might add!

I often feel guilty that you live on the second floor of a condo. I often feel that we are doing you a disservice. I see other dogs with fenced yards that are able to romp freely during the day, you? I think you are part cat, or maybe it is because you live with a cat, you don’t enjoy walks and prefer to stay inside.  I never was one to force you to do what you don’t wish to do, so maybe our situation isn’t that bad after all.

Dakota me and my shadow

 

You never cease to amaze me. You hated obedience classes but are an apt pupil for learning EVERYTHING that we DON’T want you to learn! You seem to have a grasp of language far better than many humans that I know. You know just what you want and let us know, you know just what your Dad and I need, and give it to us unselfishly.

dakota books

Your Dad and I survived indoor “accidents”, chewed cell phones, CD’s, paper, and enough wood to light a fire, it is a miracle you are still with us!

This was particularly delicious. The green color gave it a "Minty Fresh" taste. I was stopped from my fine dining experience before I could get to the delicious licorice flavored battery

This was particularly delicious. The green color gave it a “Minty Fresh” taste. I was stopped from my fine dining experience before I could get to the delicious licorice flavored battery

But, with the blessings of God, you ARE still with us! Your sixth birthday has made me face the brutal fact that you are no longer a pup, even though you still act like one, you are approaching your gasp, Senior years. I am having trouble accepting this.

Dearest Dakota, you have brought so much laughter, joy, love, craziness, and devotion to your Dad’s and my world that I cannot even fathom what life would be like without you.

dakota northern lights caren lenny

So, rather than be melancholy and reflective, I am going to switch to celebratory mode.

I celebrate your birth, I celebrate our good fortune when your human sister told us about you, I celebrate your smile, your warm and lavish fur, I celebrate your loving licks, your gentle eyes, they way you hold my hand with your paw when you lick me, the way you pick up your red, white and blue ball when your Dad and I return home, even if we were gone for only 5 seconds.

"Hooray for the red, white & blue!!!"

“Hooray for the red, white & blue!!!”

YES, I even celebrate your BARKING (remind me please that I said this)

My precious Sheltie boy, I vow to make your remaining years with us, and I hope there are MANY, ones full of continued learning, NEW adventures, MORE walks, tons of snuggles, oodles of  kisses, tasty food and  never-ending love.

YOU, Dakota, were the answer to my childhood dream of one day having a Sheltie of my own.

Happy, Happy Birthday my silly and sensitive boy,

me holding dakota

 

I love you more than all of your cherished bones being piled to the “moon and back”

Mom