When I got you I knew nearly nothing about dogs. You looked like a cute little spaniel-retriever-something mix, and I thought, "Sure, I can handle that." Imagine my surprise when you grew a long nose and a thick coat, and turned out to be a Chow-Border Collie (or maybe Aussie)-something mix.
I have to be truthful! You were a difficult dog. Reactive towards other dogs, and suspicious of strangers, I had to learn a lot about dogs because of you. I probably would not be a dog trainer today if it weren't for you, so I owe you a great debt. Thank you for bearing with me over the years, as I gradually began to understand that you did not enjoy outings or meeting new people, and would be very happy to just stay home. Thank you for taking agility classes with me, even though you really didn't want to. Thank you for tolerating the occasional foster dog, and for (mostly) accepting that Gromit was here to stay.
You have been a good family dog in many ways. You never needed a lot of attention or work, and were content to hang around the house. You rarely destroyed the boys' Webkinz and other toys, even though they were always lying around everywhere. (I will forgive you your crayon and army guy habit.) You saw us bring home three babies, and somewhere around the time they started tossing food to you from their highchairs, you forgave us. You've taught each of them to Respect the Dog, providing timely (and highly inhibited) (and justly deserved) nips to each of them in their turn.
We will miss you next summer when we open the pool, and you aren't there to monitor the situation and show us the exit. I'll think of you every time someone walks by the house, and you aren't there to bark.
One last thing .... I would really love to know, what did you find under the stairs??