Guest Post: A Love Letter to Parker
Here’s what Elly wrote:
I have been head over heels in love with you since you were exactly one week old. On Christmas Eve of 2010, I passed a poster that a woman named Emily had tacked to a bulletin board in the local feed store. I don’t know quite what I felt that day, but I know that fate had drawn me to that poster. When I dialed Emily’s number, I was so overwhelmed with joy that my hands were shaking and tears were running down my cheeks. My puppy, I thought, that’s my puppy. What a spectacle I must have been!
I always wanted to adopt, you know. But a mixed puppy from a litter of 7, that may or may not have been unplanned, just wasn’t in my blueprints. I had just been getting into the swing of things as a groomer, and after a devastating break-up with my fiancé (you wouldn’t have liked him anyway!) I knew that you were everything I had ever needed.
I met you when you were three weeks old. You had the tiniest little pit bull ears I had ever seen! I told everybody that you were a hamster. My beautiful brindle boy. By three weeks, I had already squeaked all of the toys in Petsmart, sniffed dozens of treat bags, and engraved your first ID tag. You were all I could think about. When I held you in my arms on Emily’s apartment floor, you fell asleep nibbling on ears, noses, and fingers.
When she called me at 5 weeks and told me that other people were interested and her vet had cleared the puppies to leave, I was stunned. I wasn’t ready! I needed a vet, I hadn’t chosen my puppy food, there was no crate… and I hadn’t figured out how to tell my landlord! Five weeks is far too early to send puppies away from their littermates, even if Hazlenut had rejected you and your brothers. I was too afraid to ask her to keep you until 8 weeks. I had the next 10-15 years of my life planned out around yours, and I wasn’t about to give you up. I picked you up that day, and I greeted you with a blue blankie that still had its tags on. To this day, you still sleep with your tongue out, snuggled up in blankets and it will always warm my heart.
You turned 1 not too many weeks ago. You sure haven’t made it easy! Even though I raised you by my side in the daycare I groomed for, I can see how desperately you try to please me despite being visibly uncomfortable out in public. “Leave it” was the first command you ever learned. Leave that stranger, leave that skateboard, leave that pair of poodles…
For months, you walked around with your hackles up everywhere we went just trying to be brave. I am so proud of you, big boy. Just last fall we made our usual rounds at the Farmer’s Market and you strutted past all of those children and dogs like you’ve been doing it forever.
I wish you knew that our neighbors’ hearts are in the right place, and that even if some humans don’t respect your space I would never let anything happen to you. I wish you looked to me before getting upset, and saw the stony determination in my eyes. Those dogs on that man’s leash don’t have any manners, Parker, but they won’t be getting past me. Those twin girls want to pet your big, blocky pit bull head, silly, not perform acts of terrorism behind your back. But they won’t be getting past me, either.
I am your mother, best friend, drill sergeant, and chauffeur. But most importantly, I am your rock, sword, and shield. I am tethered to the other end of your leash, keeping you grounded while you sort out your terror. I am the warrior who keeps the enemies at bay, constantly scouting for space, and ever maintaining crowd control. I am the mother who decides when you have had enough, and I take my most honored place between you and your fears.
You have taught me patience, communication, and unconditional love. You have given me the passion to fight, not only for you but for every fearful dog without a voice. I love you, Parker, and I always will. May I always be the kind of person that you think I am.