Dear Parka,

We invited you into our family last summer because we felt a void that only man’s best friend could fill. Down south last summer, we picked you from the litter of pups and brought you up North, to which you’re probably sarcastically thinking, “Oh great, I got stuck with the one family who lives where it’s below freezing half the year.”

I understand you’re only 10 months old, which makes you about seven years old in dog years, but your level of annoyance can make it seem like you’ve been around for 100 years.

Our days begin in the wee hours of the morning to calm your whining. Then we’ll go for a walk to hopefully channel your everlasting energy into the outdoors rather than destroying our couch.

We barricade the valuables, making sure everything that is remotely chewable rests a metre above the floor. We’ll leave you enthralled with a moose bone or peanut butter filled Kong as we depart for the day with a quick prayer we’ll return to a house that’s just how we left it.

Ultimately, divine intervention can’t stop your curiousity of how good that shoe would taste in your month. We’ll come home to your exuberant greeting and sometimes excitement to show off the “present” you made, then add it to the list of things we need to replace because of you’re chewing.

Your day is concluded with dinner and an evening walk, strategically timed to hopefully coordinate with your bathroom schedule. So proud of yourself, with all the chewing and pooping you managed to accomplish in one day, you’ll then curl up for your evening nap setting your internal alarm clock for another 3 a.m. bathroom call.

With all that being said, I can’t deny you’re still a good dog who has taught me a lot of things, besides strengthening my patience. You jump into everything life throws at you with an utter joy that’s hard to duplicate in the human world.

You’re open-minded, you’ll try everything and are the furthest thing from a picky eater.

You give everyone an equally optimistic chance, sprinting up to every dog and human thinking you’ve found a new best friend for life; then forgive and forget anyone who doesn’t feel the same way.

You discover litter in woods, pick it up and then carry it home with such pride, like you’ve found a piece of buried treasure.

You believe in yourself against all odds to chase those squirrels and ravens with such perseverance and determination.

Finally, you have the superpower that most humans spend all their lives trying to master: you find joy in everything! From a walk in the woods, to that piece of food we dropped during dinner and simply that belly rub at the end of the day.

And ultimately, Parka, you remind me life is an adventure and it’s journey I’d rather travel with you by my side.

Your Owner and Friend,

Tess