Love Letters

Dog Mom Love Letter to a Lab

Some people are born dog lovers.  Others grow into dog lovers.  And some just may not realize they’ve always been a dog lover in disguise.  That’s me.

All packs, however, share one thing.  They are changed irreparably from the soulfulness a dog has to offer.

Whatever your relationship may be with dogs, I hope this letter to my lab, Cali, touches you.  After all, Dog Love is so healing.  Time with a dog can restore faith in the purity of life and its furry blessings.


Dear Cali:

Once upon a time, I gave you my heart.

But it didn’t happen right away.  OK, it happened a little the first time I held you on my lap.  You shivered in warmth much the way I imagined Love would do once it found the right home.  You believed it was me.  I wasn’t too sure.

At first, I only offered a sliver of my heart because to divvy more, it might hurt.  You see, my mind played cunning tricks.  It commanded me not to get too attached with these words:

A dog’s life is short.  You will lose.  Your heart will break into a million pieces and you’ll have to fetch them.  Roll them back together.  Leash the aftermath into a space that will never quite feel the same.  And then walk on.  Come now, it’s safer not to play those odds.

I listened to my mind.  We’re taught it’s the wise one.

But your eyes told me something different.

What is life without risk?

a lab puppy...

I took that in and mulled over it.  At the same time, my eyes told you to consider a few things.  Like maybe peeing and pooping outside.  Yelping just a little less.  And being a good dog-sister to my daughter, Summer.  When I blinked, you read my worry and knew intuitively you were meant to help her connect.  I didn’t even have to soul-speak the word autism.  You wagged your tail, aware and confident.

I respected your spunk even though you didn’t master some of my requirements right away.  But the loving my daughter part, you accomplished that goal rather quick.  In fact, I already wrote a post that detailed your selling points, Dog Love is a Mom Soul Soother.

This letter, though, it’s about you and me, kiddo, or more appropriately, doggo.

We’ve had our times, haven’t we?  The chasing you through a maze of five neighbor’s yards.  Still didn’t catch you!  My heart’s hour-long tornado of terror when you ran away from home.  Sly and defiant, you only returned once you could offer me a gift from the mouth.  You rested that dead bird inches from my feet, thank you very much.  And herds of deer?  You’ve dragged me along my street in hot pursuit as if I was your race car passenger more times than I’d like to admit.

How about the multiple episodes of destruction?  I never did get to try out my brand-new running shoes.  Not even once.  Oh well, I didn’t need them anyway at the time.  A day later you wrapped my legs with your leash, and dropped me like a downed tree when I gave you an outdoor shower.  That episode landed me in the doctor’s office and out of commission for a bit.

a tornado...

But all is forgiven, isn’t it?  I’m sure you’ve done the same for me.  Took pity on the dog mom who hadn’t a clue about how to be a dog mom.

Still, time has a way of teaching you new things.  So does a dog trainer in the form of a husband who grew up with your kind.  You loved him from first sniff.  And your bond deepened in a way I secretly longed to know.  I watched you misty-eyed every day as you sat near the window waiting for his return.  And when his car came into view, I studied you as you howled like a creature released from the madness of a full moon.  Then, off you went.  Running to him.  Licking him.  Wagging your tail.

When would you do that for me?  I wondered this a lot, Cali.

But you probably wondered a few things too.  Like…

When would she give more than a sliver of her heart?  When would she truly let me in?  Yes, she sneaks me food under the table.  And she takes me on walks.  I love walks!  She rubs my belly more than the others.  True, she teaches me out-of-the-box, NO, out-of-the-crate tricks.  Even tells me I’m her writing muse.  But I don’t think she’s given me all of her heart.

Well, I’m here to tell you, Cali, it did happen.  Just not like a lightning bolt.  Instead, moments strung together and played like the soothing strings of a guitar in the fingers of an artist.

a guitarist with her guitar...

You stayed up all night with me every time I got sick.  No one else did.  Challenges arose with my daughter on her journey.  At times, my heart drowned with tears as powerlessness flailed alongside it.  But you uplifted me.  Even licked my pain.  When I needed to feel peace and oneness with nature, you showed me there existed an even deeper connection.  We could “be” together like no human I’ve ever known.  And whenever insomnia served as my kidnapper, you rescued me with your warm company.

Then I suffered a concussion and you never left my side.   When I couldn’t walk, you rested your head on my lap.  Every time I fell, you collapsed with me.  As I struggled, you stayed.

You see, I think you “got” something during my incapacitation.  You realized that all those things I do for you, they equal an awkward-sort-of Dog Mom Love.

Now your eyes speak softer to me.  So do your actions.  Like how you cuddle more with me, wag your tail even quicker to see me, and sneak into my bed to snuggle with me.  You were always my dog daughter.  But you’ve turned into my friend.

a dog mom and her lab...

Also, you serve as my teacher.  You showed me that I hadn’t tapped or lived a reservoir of love–the kind that transcends into a place called soul.  A place where living things connect and intersect to create magic.

This much I’ve learned.  Humans who love dogs can be tagged as a different breed.  They stand at the cusp of an ocean.  Reach inward and open their hearts.  Allow the waves to come, to crash, aware that the tide will recede.  The sun will set sooner.  Night will come.

But when it does, stars will shine down in a million pieces, unleashing sparkling remnants of a journey well-lived.

a beach at night with a starry sky

Cali, I know the time I fear will find me.  One day you’ll fall asleep.  I will be left to fetch those million pieces of my heart.  Roll them back together.  Leash them in a space that will never quite feel the same.  But as I walk on, the cracks in my heart will illuminate.  Light will stream into memories, and Love will flow.

a dog running on a sunlit cloudy beach...

Once upon a dog, I gave my heart.

And my soul grew richer for it.


Your Dog Mom


Be sure to read about my childhood history with dogs that informed my fear, as well as Cali’s connection with my daughter, check out Dog Love is a Mom Soul Soother.

Cali the Lab and my daughter hugging it out


I created a dog pin and shared it on the Mom Soul Soothers Facebook Page earlier this week.  Click below if you’d like to participate with the wonderful dog lovers who wrote mini-love letters about their pets.

I thought my husband was crazy when he told me that a dog would help our family, and that deep down I was truly a dog...

Posted by Mom Soul Soothers on Monday, October 22, 2018


Cali’s full name is California.  My husband named her California as a loving tribute to me.  I lived in Los Angeles for eight years, and I left behind people who I consider family.  And so, in a strange way, Cali has helped me still feel connected to my loved ones, as well as the soul of California.


I wrote my love letter to Cali listening to this soul-soothing guitar music.  You can play and reread to catch a California Love vibe.


I saved the best for last! If you LOVE dogs, check out my husband’s awesome website, Barking Laughs

a labrador retriever dressed up for Halloween...


dog quote with a little girl and a yellow lab...

“A dog is love’s purest shadow.”

dog quote...

When a dog digs you, the hole in your heart is forever filled.

Join Mom Soul Soothers

Subscribe to Mom Soul Soothers to keep up. Share a post if it speaks to your soul. And if you know someone who needs to be soothed, please send her or him this way.

Your moments here matter to me. Warm wishes and gratitude…always.

dog quote | a picture of a dog in on the open road..."When I feel lost, my dog's eyes speak...home."


  1. Marilyn Jannarone October 28, 2018
  2. Angie Weiland-Crosby October 28, 2018