The last week has been really tough for me. Before I became an Aspinwall Dog, Allegheny River Rat and Destin SeaDog, I was the adopted sister. Just over a year ago I was having pups in a shelter and in March found myself an awesome foster Mom before she set up a date with Ms. Crosby, mom and Dad.

Ms. Crosby knew when she met me that I would be a perfect fit for her, mom and uncle Dave. I may have ignored the humans but I was more than willing to get near her even if she barked like a crazy elkhound. I wasn’t sure what life was going to be like with a fluffy bootay, pointy ear, barky, whiny old lady, but I knew if she could teach the humans to do Instagram live at night, play games, walk a different park everyday after morning belly rubs, spend weekends cooking fresh food with real ingredients and weekly stops at the dog park I was going to eventually have them wrapped around my loving tongue. I’m still not sure why Crosby called him uncle Dave, something about her having a first dad, but to me he’s Dad and I’m his hot mama.

I really missed driving back to PA without you–sharing the back seat, cuddling and nose rubbing with me. Those long road trips were really special with you. Pooping at Love’s, sharing a hotel suite with Linds in Bowling Green. Running away on the beach from dad at the Crab Trap. You really told those signs posted by the county. I know why you loved Florida, your winter coat snowed all over grandma’s house as soon as you arrived. Grandma still hasn’t figured out that I’m a kissy dog.

Thank you for introducing me to real dog food. First the Farmer’s Dog, then Mom and Dad cooking for you–and now me. Thank you for showing me that the vet isn’t really scary. Sharing an exam room with you and realizing that meds can help fight off Lyme and other infections has definitely made this first year better.

I must admit the way you taught me about the morning routine was impressive. I’m sorry I always tried to cut into Crosby time. I thought you and I were going to have many more days to fight over Mom and Dad’s attention. I guess now I understand why they would say boundaries and Crosby time. They knew. . . .It hit me those last few days when you didn’t want to eat and just wanted to lay out in the backyard under the stars, even if there were coyote’s roaming the golf course. I’ll do my best to take care of the humans. I may move the morning routine to the bed. Something about snuggling between them and getting my belly rubbed is really awesome as I go into my first winter solstice with them.

Thank you for showing me around the zoo and Highland Park. I guess I’ll have to go on my own to get used to that crazy dog park. In the meantime I’ll keep walking them down to the dog park in Aspinwall and meet my friends- Jedi, Daisy, Murphy. I’ll be sure to tell them how grateful I am for having you by my side, even if you just wanted to lay around in the gravel.

I promise to work on being a water dog. Those walks in Ohara Park along the stream bank were always awesome. I know why the Honda exists– for wet dogs. By the way that whole killing mice in the backyard day was super fun. I’ll keep up the patrol and kill the pests as necessary.

Mailmen? All mailmen? So if I give Donnie a box every month he’ll keep giving me cookies with the mail? Super cool.

I’ve taken over your beds at home and found your chair at the river. I’ll do my part Crosby to keep the humans instep. Hope you and Reba are back to wrestling with each other, hopefully this time in the sandy beaches and gulf water. I heard Lake Michigan was always cold.

Love you always,

Ms. Phoebe Riley-Pankiewicz

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