If you read my last blog post, you'll know that I have decided to start a passion project with a mission to give rescue dog moms a chance to express their feelings and write an honest letter to their sweet pup. I want to kick off this project with a dear friend of mine Ashley and her darling little chihuahua Titan! Little Titan is reactive but Ashley is one of the most dedicated dog moms I have ever met. The two of them are on such an incredible journey together, I knew her words could inspire and resonate with many of you! When I first read her letter it made me cry and every single time I've read it since, tears have always come. So don't say I didn't warn you - prepare some tissues before you start reading!
Dear Titan: An Open Letter to my Best Friend
Written by Ashley Nequest
Dear Titan Warren Nequest/Love Bug/Monkey/Chicken/Fluffy Butt,
You changed me. Thank you.
I imagined myself being the kind of owner that only let their dog on the furniture when they’re invited up, that never let them sleep in the human’s bed. I had visions of having a full social life that didn’t involve me introducing my pet as the main topic of conversation at every possible chance. I was going to be a dog owner; nothing more. And I was… Until we were about 10 minutes into the drive home from the shelter, suddenly a seven-month-old, reactive, rescue chihuahua mix had my entire heart.
A few days after I brought you home you met Zoe, your favourite poodle, for the first time. I was able to watch you run, play and be a puppy, it was so completely freeing. Though, between rounds you would walk the fence line, sticking your little nose under at every possible opportunity. It took less than ten seconds for you to get your entire body under the gate. By the time I had flung it open you were almost at the street. All I remember is calling your name, which you didn’t know, and dropping to my knees feeling an overwhelming level of helplessness. I also remember the utter relief as you turned around and came flying right into my arms. That was the moment it happened, the exact moment the world shifted and everything clicked into place. That was the exact moment I stopped being a dog owner and became a dog mom.
The first time I experienced your reactivity was more than a little alarming for me.
I called my mother at 6 a.m. crying because this sweet little thing I brought home had spent the entire night barking at people in the park. You lunged at the end of the leash growling and snarling at every single person we happened to pass. To finish off the night you awoke from a dead sleep having a complete fit due to a child crying on the TV. I was terrified, you were terrified and all I wanted was to give you a loving home when someone else had given up on you.
I’m sorry it took me so long to realize what you were going through, I wish I had understood from the very beginning. I wish someone had told me that you were scared, that my anger wasn’t helping. I wish I had done better. I wish I didn’t waste months trying to figure out how to “fix” you when you were already so incredibly perfect. I wish I had seen you for the blessing you are right from the start, maybe you wouldn’t be as afraid now. Some days I still grieve the loss of a life I never had, I miss the imaginary trips I took with my fictional “perfect” dog. Most days I know this is better.
I plan on spending every day of your life making you feel as safe and happy as I can, regardless of the cost. I know the world is a scary place, I find it terrifying as well, but please know I will always protect you. I will stand between you and the other dog, I will stand between you and all of your fears until we are ready to take a step closer. I promise.
Titan, this is my love letter to you, this is my love letter to rescue dog motherhood. I do love every single second of it, both the easy moments and incredibly challenging. There is nothing that makes me happier than waking up to your little paws on my chest as you get a good stretch, nothing makes me as feel as proud as being called a good dog mom and nothing breaks my heart like you feeling overwhelmed. I absolutely love your giant ears and when your lip gets stuck on your tooth, it is both the cutest and the ugliest thing I’ve ever seen.
You changed me, you changed my very core.
You have taught me to be understanding and patient, when to fight the battle and when to back down. You have proved that I was right about the importance of naps, there is nothing better after a long day of living than a nice long nap under the covers with your best friend. You have taught me to use my words instead of my hands, that love and compassion can do so much more than grabbing and yelling. I will never be able to thank you enough for forcing me to learn how to be something other than angry, to ignore the bad but always reward the good.
I love you more than I have ever loved anything.
To me you will always be perfect, you will always be a blessing and you will always be my little Snuggle Butt. Thank you for existing.
Your Crazy Dog Mom
Hands up if you are totally wiping the tears away! (I know I am - again)! Please support Ashley and Titan by following them on Instagram! You'll get to see much more pictures of the sweet little pooch and read about their story and progress! Ashley thank you once again for writing this honest letter and reminding us of what rescue dog motherhood is all about.
Want to submit a letter of your own? Write a letter to your rescue dog and send it to firstname.lastname@example.org to be featured!
All photographs featured in this blog post are the property of Ashley Nequest.