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Anyone with kids has probably heard the following not-so-compelling argument:

Kid(s): “Can I PLEASE get a puppy! I promise I’ll walk it and feed it and take care of it! PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE!”

Parent(s): “No you won’t. You will love it for a week and then I will be the one walking, feeding and taking care of it. No way. Not gonna happen. I will buy you a goldfish!”

Kid(s): “But EVERY kid has a puppy! Goldfish are dumb!”

Parent(s): “Not EVERY kid has one, and goldfish are lovely!”

Kid(s): “You can ground me forever if I don’t take care of it! You can even take away my allowance!”

…and then the clincher, Kid(s): “You’ll be the BEST MOM/DAD EVER!”

SIGH! Then, at SOME point the begging wins out…and you suddenly become the proud owner of a furry creature who pees in your house, chews your favourite boots, eats Bounce sheets, Nerf gun bullets, roast string and your underwear! Well that’s MY experience anyway. Sigh. 

Meet Walter 🙂

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Soooo everything I predicted came true. I walk, feed and take care of Walter 98% of the time. I told ya…mom’s know these things!  But what I WASN’T predicting, was that I would fall in love with him. This little creature has literally changed my life. He’s my care-free shadow wherever I go! He follows me around the house. Sleeps next to me. Insists on laying on the bathroom floor whenever I am in there, and wakes me up every morning. We have a bond I never thought was possible. A loving, generous person once called him my ‘therapy dog’, and that he is!

We, (Walter and I) were cleaning the house the other day and chatted about how if he wasn’t there I wouldn’t be chatting at all. Yes I talk to my dog all the time! He keeps me company 24/7, and makes me laugh as I chase him after him when he attempts to eat things like granola bar wrappers and old, mouldy leaves. I can’t help but think about how much he keeps me out of my bed and active as well. I understand his language, and miraculously, he understands mine. We just ‘get each other’, and I don’t know what I would do without him, bad dog-breath and all!

He gets me out of myself, and forces me to interact with the world. When we walk or go to the dog-park, I find it easy, and actually enjoy socializing with other dog owners because we have a common love, and it’s impossible not to smile when you see your dog happy and playing with other dogs. Furthermore, watching Walter run faster after a ball than any other dog at the park also makes me a pretty proud dog-mama! 😉 And icing on the cake is watching those eyebrows blowing in the wind out the car window…it’s laugh inducing immediately! I’m even smiling right now writing about it 🙂

Not only has Walter taught me so much about unconditional love, our walks together have taught me to see things about the world itself that I never would have seen otherwise. While journeying around the neighbourhood I have learned that lilac trees smell just as wonderful when they are wilting. That falling maple-tree ‘helicopter’ seeds look just like falling snow when a big enough gust of wind blows. That crystal-clear nights sound as quiet at the sky looks. That rain puddles are super fun to splash in no matter how old you are. That fresh snow falling under the street-lights is as peaceful as a cool lake on a hot summer’s day. That the smell of BBQ’d hamburgers and the sound of the ice-cream truck in the distance will never get old, and that no matter how hard Walter tries, he will never outrun a squirrel.

Being a depression survivor, it’s also immensely comforting knowing that Walter knows when I’m sad. He can sense it! Even if I’m not crying, he will sit on my chest and kiss my face. And if I am crying, he lays his head on my leg and looks up at me as if to say, “you will be ok”. He’s a precious little creature who has helped me heal through many heartbroken, dark days. In fact, he’s my best friend ❤

If I could write Walter a letter, this is what it would say:

Dear Walter,

If you only knew how much you have changed my life for the better. Your big brown eyes overflow with so much love, and I couldn’t imagine not having them wake me up every morning. Thank you for the snuggles and laughs you give me every day, and for the bugs you eat in the house.

Side-bar…we have a king-sized bed, so it would be nice from time to time if you could give me some room to sleep, BUT I thank you for at least keeping your bones on the other side. I’m sorry that I’ve made you a ‘begging dog’ because I share everything I eat with you, but that dog food looks super boring!…I can’t help but think that you love enjoying good food too! However, you do eat cat poo…soooo I’m fairly certain we have exceptionally different taste buds! Thank you for letting me blame my farts on you, and welcoming me home the same enthusiastic, like-you-haven’t-seen-me-in-months way every time.

I know you miss your dad, I do too very much. But he gave you to me because he knew without a doubt that you would continue to save my life. Just like you show me unconditional love, the gift of you is one of the greatest acts of unconditional love I have ever known! And if he reads this one day, he can see how much you have helped me to heal and grow and enjoy this amazing life. ❤

You are the perfect dog for me! And I love you more than any super-expensive bone could say!

Please stop eating my underwear and bras.

Love you so VERY MUCH FOREVER!

Your dog-mom, Natalie xo

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