Dearest Lilly, the Boston Terrier,
We know that words don’t mean as much to you as the sound of mommy’s and daddy’s approaching voices and footsteps as we come back home to you. Letters and words on a page have no meaning for you who read us best by how we twist our bodies as we lug our humanness around.
Yet, somehow we think you know what we want to say. At least we want to think that. We want to think that you know that we love you every bit as much as the human child we never had, that you make us better people by trying to understand you - a being so different from us. And that we celebrate your very life as the best example of balance and simplicity.
The barbed wire drawn taught around our hearts over the loss of Louie, the brother you never knew, had just begun to loosen when we met you three years ago. It fell away completely during that long drive home as you nestled in daddy’s lap like you’d always belonged there.
How brave you were to let us slip that strange collar around your neck and click your harness and leash into place. Some animal rights people believe that made you our prisoner, but that has never been the case. Sadly, the world that humans created and in which we live together demands that you be trained and kept safe.
Since that night you have been our constant companion and live-in shaman. You taught yourself to do so many unfamiliar and scary things like walking on the wet, midnight grass, scampering up our spiral staircase and making friends with Lola, the gentle giant on our block. We almost cried the first time you mouthed one of the toys you’d been avoiding, then smiled when you flung it into the air and watched it fall back down. You could hardly wait to do it again! Almost everything you’ve learned to do has showed mommy and daddy that we could do anything we want to - but didn’t think we could.
Our hearts break at the thought that your former family kept you outside because you pooped in the house too much and no one took responsibility for teaching you to poop outside. It’s not fair that you were the last four-legged welcomed into their house - and the first pushed out. They should have known that they did not have enough love to go around. We hope that you do not dream of them, then wake up in terror that we might give you back, too.
Your brother went to live on a horse ranch because he lashed out at people who surprised him and it was not fair of us to hold down his big spirit within our tight walls. We cried a river at first because we missed him, but we knew deep down that his new home would let him be the best doggie he could be. We hope that Louie dreams of chasing horses and being wrapped in the love of his new family. Who knows, maybe you’ll meet him, someday.
Sometimes love means letting go, other times it means never letting go.
Darling Lilly girl, as long as we are breathing, you will never have another home but ours.
Love Always, Mommy and Daddy