I'm "that" dog owner.

Posted on: Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Dear Mallory,

I want to be completely truthful with you, so I'm starting this letter by saying: I have no idea what you're going through. None whatsoever. When I was 6-years old, my parents rehomed our crazy black Cocker Spaniel to a family with a farm and grown children and time. Unfortunately, I was happy to see that crazy scoundrel go because she spent most of her time either (a) trying to bite my feet while I watched Full House on the couch or (b) jumping on me in the pool. Also, and I may be remembering this incorrectly, but I believe she tried to join me in the bathtub once.

But I know how much you love Duke. We've spent an embarrassing amount of time discussing our weird obsessions with our dogs. So if I know you and your relationship with your dog like I think I do, I know you're a total mess right now. And I'm so sorry. I'm sorry you had to rehome him. I'm sorry you had to make that decision. I'm sorry the military doesn't have some sort of dog walking service on base that you could have utilized. I'm sorry I couldn't be there for you. I know you wouldn't have wanted to cry in front of me, but I would have insisted on hugging you and comforting you with cookies.

Above: A trip to one of Tacoma's institutions, Frisko Freeze.
Below: Chuck, short for Charlotte, trying to understand the appeal of chairs.
10-month old Mini Bull Terrier-Pit Bull mix.

The idea of being separated from Hurley before fate intervenes [read: I know that he will die someday, but I'm having a really hard time coming to terms with it, so I use elaborate ways of discussing his impending demise. I am that dog owner] makes me feel physically ill. And while my bond with Chuck isn't as strong as it is with Hurley [hello! Hurley and I have cuddled and cried our way through a 7 month deployment together], it's getting there. And I just can't imagine. I don't trust anyone else with my dogs and I honestly think you are so brave to trust someone else with Duke. I know they're family and I know they're exercising him and loving him and feeding him and all of those important things, but the decision to allow them to keep him for 6 months took a lot of guts, Mallory. A lot. And I admire you for it. It really would have been selfish to keep him "with you" during Jon's deployment and your travels. There is a lot put on your plate when a spouse deploys, and I don't blame you at all.

Above: Hurley, the 4-year old wonder, huffing the air. 
Below: The one and only time Hurley has ever initiated cuddling with Chuck.
Pit Bull-Boxer-English Bulldog mix.

How are you feeling today? Any better? Same? Worse? I'm virtually hugging you right now. Right now. Have you been able to Skype with him? I know it seems ridiculous, but I would. I think you should. Do you get regular updates? Is someone texting photos to you? How is Jon doing with it all? I know you were worried about Harry becoming afraid of dogs--purely from not being around them every day--do you have a friend with a dog that he'll be able to spend time with?

I admire you, Mallory. I really do. I know you feel like a horrible person right now, but I think you are one of the most selfless people I have ever met [if not the most selfless]. You stay strong, girl. Text me when you need to be reassured of your decision. Lean on Jon when you feel like you're going to crumble. And do not adopt another dog. Just don't. One, along with a cat, is good enough.



  1. That picture of Hurley is maybe my favorite ever. And thank you so much for the sweet words and the virtual hug. I feel so loved. XO, Mallory


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