Dear Thing One and Thing Two,
When we all rolled out of bed on Saturday we were excited. You both had plans with friends, we were going to have a house full of kids, the snacks were purchased and the sun was shining and everything was falling into place for a wonderful day.
Just like always, Woodson was sniffing around after us. Always underfoot, always looking for a treat and a belly rub, always wanting to be right in the middle of whatever it was we were doing. He was my alarm clock, nudging me with that big wet nose every morning, always ready to get started with his day a good hour or so before I was. But we had kind of a morning routine. And we went through the motions together.
If I would have known that this was the day we would be saying goodbye to him, I would have taken more time. Given a few more snuggles and scratches and definitely snapped a few more selfies. You remember Woodson being an early Christmas present, tugging and chewing at the big red bow around his neck, but I remember Woodson being kind of a lifeline during a really turbulent part of my life. He was a sweet and funny and smelly distraction that kept me moving forward.
I know you two are sad and confused. Things happened so fast. I can’t really write yet about the actual situation that changed the course of the day. I can’t really make sense of it. So what I will say is this: What happened that afternoon was a bad thing. It could have been much worse and thank God it wasn’t. But it could have been. We can’t keep a dog that bites. Even just one time is way too many. We just can’t keep a dog that bites.
You have both asked me a lot of questions this weekend, and I don’t really know how to answer them all, but I’m doing the best I can. No, I don’t know why Woodson did this. No, I don’t think we can trust he won’t do it again. No, we don’t have to stop talking about him. No, we don’t have to stop loving him. No, we most certainly do not have to be glad he’s gone. No, I’m not going to send you away if you do something bad, because people are different than dogs. Yes, I love him. Yes, we can forgive him. Yes, I think he misses us and yes I’m sure he loved us and yes I believe he wouldn’t do anything to hurt his family. But something got into him Saturday, and he hurt somebody else, and we can’t wait around to see if it will happen a second time. There is a lot involved in being a responsible pet owner besides the feeding and the walking and the loving. He had to go.
But here is the thing; I know you two understand. You both are wise well beyond your years, and I can see from your behavior this weekend that you understand why Woodson had to leave. I was so proud of you both, your strength and your bravery in saying goodbye to him. Watching you two pet him and hug him and take some last photos with him, holding back tears until the car was out of view, well, I was just in awe that you two were able to say goodbye with such grace. There are lots of grownups in the world who couldn’t handle a situation like this with the same level of maturity. There just isn’t a word big enough to describe my love for the two of you.
So here’s the thing; I think that the years we had with Woodson don’t have to be defined by this one action. If we all agree that we understand why he had to go, and we have acknowledged that, then it’s okay instead to remember all that was good about having him in our family. All of the funny nicknames (The Baron Poopstick von Shartsalot), and all the funny voices we made for him, and the way he was a bed hog, and how he loved to go swim in the lake, and the way he made us feel safe when we were home alone at night, and how his paws smelled like Fritos , and how much he loved peanut butter, and the way he’d lay on his back and his lips would flap open and he’d look like such a goofball. And that time that he farted in his own mouth. Let’s remember those things, and love him for the kind of dog he was when he’d sit patiently while Thing Two blew bubbles in his face or always follow Thing One around when he had Funyuns or practically smother me while he curled up in my lap. Let’s remember how he liked to carry a stick in his mouth when he took a walk and how handsome he looked in his Michigan football jersey.
I’m going to miss him too. But we’ll get through this together. I promise.
I love you two with my whole entire heart,