To my beautiful Black Lab, Phoenix in her eighth year:


You’re at the vet now. Each time I get up to get coffee, go to the restroom, or step outside, I feel your absence like a twinge on my heart. I miss the tinkling of your tags and your body blocking my path. I remind myself there’s no need to check on you. You’re just across the street at the vet.

Yet, I miss your presence. You, Phoenix are my true companion. I’m lucky you chose me to love the most in this world.

I feel so blessed that I got you back after losing you all those years ago. I only let him take you because I thought you’d be happier on a hobby farm.

I had no idea he’d lock you in a dark basement. I’m so sorry that happened to you and scarred your sensitive soul.

Please know I’ll never give you up again. Not for any reason. You’re mine. I’m your mom. I take that role seriously and it’s an honor.

I wish I could explain it to you in a way you’d understand. They say dogs have no memory, but you clearly remember being alone and scared.

Unfortunately, I can’t take you with me everywhere. So, I go to a lot of trouble to make sure you’re not only well cared for, but also well-loved when I can’t be the one to do it. I’ll never leave you in circumstances that would jeopardize your well-being.

I know—you think your well-being is jeopardized any time I’m not with you! You’re so cute how much you love me!

Please know it’s mutual. You comfort me and bring me more peace and joy than I can measure.

One day you’ll have to leave me and I’ll have to let you go. Until that day arrives, I’ll do my best to ensure your health and happiness. We’ll walk, play and hang out like the friends we are.

But, sometimes caring for you will mean things neither of us enjoy, like the vet putting you under to clean your teeth, as is happening while I write this.

Sweet dreams, my baby. See you soon.

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