love letter to my dog

International Dog Day 2023: A Love Letter to My Dog

Written by Steph McCulloch
Freddie is a 5-year-old Shiba Inu who was rehomed (by me) at the age of 2. He suffers from anxiety but since coming home has blossomed into the best boy anyone could ask for. I feel proud to call him mine and hope that everybody gets to experience a love as special as this at least once in their life. This International Dog Day (26th August), I’m celebrating Freddie, in all of his weird, loveable, ginger glory.
a shiba inu sitting on the beach and looking slightly to the left

Dear Freddie,

Firstly, I just want to say that I don’t believe a letter can sum up how much I love you. And not to get soppy in the second sentence, but you’ve changed my life in all the best ways.

Secondly, did you know you’re all I talk about, even to total strangers? You’re my common ground, my safety net, and when I don’t know what to talk about next, I’ll talk about you. It’s a winner every time, especially because you’re quite possibly the cutest dog I’ve ever met (I know every mother says that about their child but it’s true, you really are). One look into those brown eyes, and everyone falls in love.

I feel so proud when someone stops us mid-walk to ask about you (though many people stop me just to tell me you look like a fox). I love telling them the story of how far you’ve come since I brought you home and looking down to see you sat next to me.

At regular intervals throughout the day, I have to get up from my desk and come and tell you how much I love you whilst smushing your mochi ball cheeks. I know it’s probably annoying to you but I guess that's just what happens when you're the most loveable dog in the world.

I also love that we have our own language. Walking into whatever room I’m in and sitting extremely close to me translates to ‘let’s go on a walk’, laying down with one arm in the air means ‘give me belly rubs’, and a rogue Shiba scream could mean a multitude of things but most commonly translates to ‘feed me cheese’.

a shiba inu sitting down by a bridge looking to the right

The day we met was an emotional whirlwind. "Just go and view him first", friends said, "Don’t be making any hasty decisions." But when have I ever been one to listen? As soon as I saw you, I knew you were coming home with me. Did I know the challenges we’d face? No. But would I go back and change any of it? Not a chance.

We’ve been through a lot together. Break-ups (mine, obviously), scary vet appointments (yours) and have always had each other's backs. I’ll never forget the time when mid-break-up I was sitting feeling sorry for myself and you came and squeezed in right next to me as if to say, ‘It’s going to be fine, you have me’. That was one of the many moments I knew you were my dog soulmate. Some people might laugh at the thought of a canine soulmate but they just don’t get it. When you know, you know.

I remember the first time I saw you play. After lots of failed attempts on my behalf, I accepted that maybe you just weren’t a fan of squeaky things or that you’d just come around when the time was right. The latter appeared to be true. One night after accepting defeat and going to bed, you woke me up with a nudge. There you were, tennis ball in mouth and tail finally wagging. I didn’t even care that it was 3 am.

Seeing you transform and blossom into a silly, confident, curious boy has brought me so much happiness. If I could somehow transfer years of my life to make the human and dog existence more equal, I’d do it in a heartbeat. And I believe that’s what they call true love.

As your owner/mum/best friend, I’ll never stop making sure every day you spend with me is one full of love, cheese, and a morning lie-in.

And if there’s one thing in this life I’m grateful for, it's not listening to my friends that day.

Love, Steph

Freddie sitting on a blanket

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