Dear Dexter--an open letter to the dog we adopted the day we returned home

Posted by  Brooke Tower on Friday, August 28, 2015

Dear Dexter,

It seems a little strange to be writing you a letter only a month after we met you, but since you were such a big, delightful part of the grand finale of our 48 state project, it still seems appropriate to say a few words. Especially since we had to say goodbye to you today.

It is amazing how quickly you melted all of our hearts and fit our family so well. Your cuddles, kisses, gentleness with taking treats, patience with lots of hugs and "Dexter, I love you!!"'s in Lauren's high-pitched voice, learning to sit, come, stay, down, and shake brought us so much joy and happiness. Luke especially loved taking you for walks, and we all loved petting your soft fur and seeing your beautiful eager face.

Though, I will readily admit that I was the most resistant to getting a dog, I found myself loving you and showing your photo to strangers mere days after you came to us. Surprisingly, you chose me to be the one you most preferred and would come whenever I called you, no matter where you were.

I already miss the sound of your dog tags jingling when you would shake, especially first thing in the morning after your stretch when Luke let you out of your cage. I miss the little clatter of your nails on the hard floor. I will really miss your excitement and wagging tail when we would come home, or just come back in after a few minutes of being gone. I will miss seeing you sleeping in the light spots on the carpet, or under J.'s desk. I might even miss you walking me around our neighborhood.

Unfortunately, even with all the love, cuteness and fondness, we can't trust you with our friends, neighbors, or extended family members. We know life feels stressful for you and it can be difficult to function when you are always anxious and on high-alert. We felt horrible when you bruised and scraped a young friend you were kissing, when you bit J's dad, when you knocked over a 2-year-old, and again when you bit my dad. You barked and growled at too many people that we invited into our home. We know it's not your fault, but we can't just ignore it.

We had a trainer with an excellent reputation and experience come to meet you and evaluate whether we could train you to be trustworthy. We were more than willing to give the time, energy, and money required if we could be reasonably sure no one else would be injured. But the objective trainer offered options, insight, and said that there would undoubtedly be another "incident." This risk when we have friends, family and neighbors coming by regularly is not one we can take in good conscience.

You may never know how many tears have already been shed by all four of us in having to say goodbye to you, how attached we became to you, how well we thought you fit into our lives, hearts, home, and family. We hope you can be adopted by someone with a quieter life who wants a handsome, loyal, protective dog with a large fenced-in backyard without kids or other people around. We love you, and miss you, sweet Dexter.

Love, Brooke