Dear Olive,

I don't know if you can sense it or not, but summer is rapidly coming to a close; Monday I turn back into a pumpkin and return to work, and you fall back into your school-year routine of long napping hours in a quiet house. Not only was this a wonderful stretch of time for us, but it was special because it was our last together as just you and me. Next summer it won't be just us on the couch, or on a walk - a little girl will be with us. 

Our lives will soon be shaken up by the arrival of this little girl, but I want to promise you that you will not be ignored. Every now and then someone will remark to me that after the baby is born, you will "become a dog again." And I'm going to go out on a limb here (naysayers have a field day if you wish) and say that you, Olive, will never be just a dog. You are so much more to us than a four-legged furry animal. You have become an integral part of our home and our lives. You are family. I'm not saying that there may be times when this little girl will have to come first, but keep patient and I promise I will come for you as well.

Olive, how can I put into words, words you won't even read or understand, what an amazing creature you are? You provide laughter on a daily basis, your unfaltering loyalty is second to none, and let's face it - you're too freaking adorable with your perpetual puppy look and floppy ears. You have endeared yourself to us in a manner neither of us was expecting, and I will never for one second forget that in Big Red's darkest hours it was you, Olive, and only you, who could make that man smile. For that I am in debt to you. I will un-apologetically admit that since bringing you home three years ago that I have become one of those people - someone who probably loves their dog a little more than is socially agreeable to most. And I don't care cause you're awesome. I'm fine with that label.

I hope I've done right by you this summer, lavishing plenty of pets and hugs and snuggles, walks and playtime, and more than just an occasional special treat. My summer pal, my furry best friend - you have taught us how to love beyond ourselves in a way that I know has given us a tiny glimpse of what we are in for in the next few months. And who knows, you may even share a birthday with your human little sister - her due date is just two days after your birthday! 

Thanks for a great summer, thanks for being the galloping calamity of hilarity that you are, thank you for you. I can only hope my actions somehow translate these thoughts into something you can understand.

** my absolute favorite picture of Olive **

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