To my best friend, my soulmate. Dear Soda,

Today is your fifth birthday, my boy. Can you believe that? I definitely can’t. I don’t suppose as a dog you spend a lot of time dwelling on your age. But you haven’t said no to the extra birthday treats, so I’m guessing you know it’s your birthday… (#crazydoglady…)

It feels like just the other day that you came into our lives, like a whirlwind. You quite literally left the ground when you met us, all in the name of biting my nose. And in that moment, we knew, with all of our hearts, that you were our boy. The one we’d been looking for, without even knowing it.

And you probably didn’t even realise it, because you’ve never asked me to be anything other than myself, but you changed me, Soda. You gave me a reason to get out of bed in the morning again. And on those days when I couldn’t; on those days when I can’t, you still do.

Dapper bowtie, tag and most special birthday bone from the beautiful @thejanuaryrose, always.

You don’t ask for anything. But you’re grateful for everything. The longest and the shortest walks. Anyone who visits. You remind me to be grateful; to be present. You remind me that now is enough. You remind me that I am enough. And more than that, you make me feel it, right in my chest.

I don’t know what we did before you, your dad and I. I don’t know what we did before the pretending-we’re-you-when-we-talk evenings (A.K.A every evening…) You made us love each other more, and fight for each other a little harder. You came into our lives and made us a family. You changed us, our lives, completely, and yet made us more us by loving us just as we are.

Happy birthday, Poppy. Happy birthday, my little boy. I’ll spend the rest of my life trying to give back to you all you’ve given and give us. Every. Single. Day. I promise.

‘You are my dearest friend, my deepest love. You are the best of me.’ – Unknown

All of our love, always,

Caitie, and, of course, Paul (a.k.a your mom and dad – #crazydogmamandpapa)