You have become quite the wonderful dog and we give thanks for you in our lives. We wouldn't be the same without you. You are a ray of sunshine and hope. I rejoice at coming home to you each and every night. I love the way you insist on being pet and that at a solid sixty pounds you still think you are a lap dog. You goofy dog, you have long outgrown that stage.
You are a wonderfully loving dog, you love people and bring joy to everyone you encounter. I am thankful for your patient spirit and your tolerance for people, especially children. You repeatedly encounter children who "pet" you perhaps a little rough, they sit on you and even tug on your ears, and you lay still and your tail wags back and forth. Your tail never stops moving unless you are sleeping. You wag and wag and wag all day long with joy. Even in the morning when we come to get your out of your crate, which thankfully you still love to sleep in and beg to go into at night, and as we greet you, your tail goes crazy.
You also continue to help the Golden Retriever breed. You are one of the currently just over 2000 dogs in the Morris Animal Foundation lifetime study of Golden Retrievers. You love going to the vet, they give you treats and there are new faces to befriend.
Winter is a little rough on you when the weather doesn't allow us to get you outside to run. We attempt to get you the exercise you need but when the bitterly cold strikes it complicates things. However, you love to throw your orange ball down the steps to go and chase, you have discovered if you drop it at the right point it will roll the whole way down the stairs and you can go and get it. Sometimes, we put a couple inches of water in the bathtub and you eagerly jump in and will play in the bathtub for sixty or so minutes before you get bored, especially if we float an ice cube or two or your orange ball in there, the fun is endless. You are a well behaved dog.
Your favorite toys currently are: orange chuck it balls, the turtle from my parents that you got for Christmas (do all spoiled dogs get Christmas gifts), and rope toys. You live to run free and without the leash. With our recent move to the lot next to the State Park, I am fairly convinced you are in some level of heaven. I can't wait for summer to come again so that you can swim again, you love the lakes as well on a hot day. You are greatly motivated by a treat or a bone. You also love when I finish a jar of peanut butter and I leave that last little bit in it for you to lick out, you will haul a mostly empty peanut butter jar around for hours and will attempt to get every last spec of peanut butter out of it.
This was a tough year for you in the sense that your two best friends died. Luther and Gus both died this year and still when we go to their house you search for them. I don't know how else to explain it to you. They really were your best friends. Your friends now are Nala and Echo and Duncan. You know them all by name and watch for them when I say they are coming or at the door. You love your friends. You have a few other acquaintances and love to play with other dogs when we got to the dog park, but no one that you love as much as those three.
Your favorite people include: me, Marc, Vicki, Linnea (due to the fact that she feeds you whatever she is eating), JT (because he also feeds you whatever he is eating), KT, and Cubby. You love all people though, especially if they have a treat for you. You also have gotten to make several trips to one of our local nursing homes, you are so sweet and tender with all of the residents. You wag your tail at 200 miles per hour and walk right up to people when they wave you over and you rest your head right on their laps so they can pet you. You have no fear of wheelchairs, walkers, canes, or crutches for this reason. You even have a favorite old man at one of the nursing homes who always takes you from me and he takes you from room to room to show you off to all of his friends, you are happy to go along with him as long as I am walking behind you.
You also have a great appreciation for adventures, you know when we tell you we are going on an adventure you get to ride in the car. You are an amazing camper and love when we tent it somewhere. You also love when Marc takes you on adventures without me because you know that means you will get to ride in the front seat of the car. You really are an amazing dog and I give thanks for you and your joy in our lives daily.
You have managed to become family and life wouldn't be the same without you. You are one amazing three year old. Please live forever. You will always be my first beloved dog as I have grown up. You have taught me much in life and I pray I am able to give you even a tenth of what you pour out on me. May your days be filled with lots of tail wagging, orange balls, someone to pet you, treats, a good run and swim, and evening snuggles. May you always be so filled with joy that it radiates out of you. May you continue to be a blessing to all of us who get to know you and love you and have you in our lives. Happy 3rd birthday little girl.