Dear Daisy,

It’s been 11 years since we saw an ad in the paper that said you needed a new owner. We planned to just take a peek; to meet you and mull it over: did we really want a dog? did we even have room for a dog? would a Jack Russell like you be too rambunctious for us?

We pulled up to a house that sat across from a baseball field. Your third owner in six months sauntered outside, explaining you’d been a poorly-chosen Mother’s Day gift in a household already full of pets. You were darling, with sad but hopeful eyes and boundless energy. And just like that, without mulling it over, we took you home to be your fourth and final family.

I won’t lie – sometimes you drive me crazy with the barking and the jumping and the digging. But I also love you like crazy – the way you shadow me and snuggle up and protect me so fiercely. That’s why it breaks my heart to know something must have happened in those first six months of your life that put fear in your heart. All these years later, you literally shake at the sound of a man’s raised voice – even someone yelling at a game on TV – and then you sheepishly slink out of the room, as if you’re desperately praying not to be seen. We’ve tried so many times to console you and convince you all is well in those moments. You have yet to believe us.

The other day, on vacation, I caught our little guy sitting with you – stroking your head, whispering sweet nothings and saying he loved you. I nearly cried seeing {I swear!} a little smile on your face – maybe letting his unconditional love wrap itself around your heart and heal the broken pieces. After all these years, old girl, we never stop trying to ensure you feel incredibly safe and deeply loved. And we’ll never give up. That’s what a real family does.