A Letter to My Rescue Puppy on His First Birthday

Maddux, my little Florida dog, where do I begin? Let’s start with Happy Birthday. You turned one on Saturday and since I always write a letter to Toby on his birthday, I will do the same for you.

Thank you for coming into my life. You are exactly what I needed, although maybe I didn’t know it at the time. I realize it now.

Ever since I saw you in that blue carrier at the filming for Puppy Bowl XI, I knew you were special. Taking you out of that carrier, and spending the whole day with you and watching you play on the field and with the other dogs, I just fell in love. I was forming an instant bond with you.

I held you lots, was on the phone with my dad and aunt freaking out, because the timing wasn’t right, and I didn’t know what to do. And, lets not even start with how much of a headache I must have given Laurie and Brianne.

“Should I take him? … He doesn’t like me. … What if Toby doesn’t like him? … I just started a new job. … This is the worst possible timing. … My Dad is going to kill me.”

I knew I wanted a second dog, especially since I was going to be finally living in my house and working remotely, and because Toby was getting older and I thought it would be good for him.

Boy have you been good for him. Bringing you home that day, while the adjustment did have a few bumps, was likely the best thing I have ever done for Toby. You took to him immediately. He, however, did take some time to get used to no longer being the only fur in town, but it took him a little over a month to finally let you cuddle next to him in bed. And now, you two are awesome buddies.

We have done a lot in the 8 months you have been living with us. You and I flew to Florida for the Puppy Bowl, I finally switched veterinarians, we are going to several dog training classes — something I have always had an interest in, but never could find a place I felt comfortable.

You have spent a night being passed around the curling club and impressing everyone you met because of your calm spirit. Yes, your calm spirit. You have not only helped Toby, but you have helped me. You are a very chill dog. Not needy, not clingy — well a little — but overall you are perfectly fine whether you are snuggled in my arms or someone else’s.

As a result, you have helped my anxiety, too.

When you first came to live with us, you weren’t a snuggle bug, but as you’re growing up, and maybe realizing, “yup, this is my forever home,” you have come much more snuggly. You have also gotten a little more confident. I mean, you are a confident dog to begin with, but you are still a little shy, which is ok in my book.

After a day filled with fun on your birthday, you did something you never do — cuddled up on my pillow and refused to move.

Since the moment I let you sleep in bed with me and Toby, you have always went straight under the covers and snuggled at my feet. Not that night. You put yourself on the corner my pillow and stayed there. I finally gave in, shut the lights out and put my head on the pillow, too. I gave you kiss on your head, wished you a happy birthday and said, “I hope you had a good birthday. Love you.”

You, took both your paws and put them on my left shoulder, and shut your eyes.

I love you little Maddux.

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