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Aug 31 2016
by Rylee Smith

A Letter to my Dog, Upon my Impending Departure

By Rylee Smith - Aug 31 2016
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Dear Maggie, 

Everyday - bright and early - you're at the door to my room, whining because it's closed and you want to get in bed with me. Soon, I won't be on the other side, just waking up to let you in. You're a dog, so you obviously don't understand what's about to happen, but I have some things to tell you anyway. 

You came into my life just before I started high school, a tiny squish of a puppy with a diva attitude. I picked your name, Margaret (Maggie) Mae, because Julia Roberts (who played Maggie Carpenter in Runaway Bride) and Madonna (Mae Mordibito in A League of Their Own) were two of my favorite people in the world at the time - little did I know that you'd become my favorite, too. As we've grown, our personalities have matured and we've become nearly inseparable. You also finally fit into the name Margaret. Today, you're kind of my best friend. 

You never cared if I aced a class or failed a test, as long as I came home everyday and sat on the floor so you could jump onto my lap. That complete lack of regard for the things we humans take so seriously has always been refreshing and a lifeline from the many stresses of my world. New squeaky toys and early morning snuggles are what make you happiest, and it is through you that I've learned to find joy in the little things. 

To be honest, I’ve learned so much from you that even though I like to pretend that I'm a Jedi master and you're my young Padawan, you may very well be the more masterful of the two of us. Through your role as my favorite (and most stubborn…) photography subject, you have taught me just how necessary patience is - not only in the creative world, but in every realm of life. It is because you almost never listen to me or do as I ask that I have developed some grown-up level patience, and I owe you one for that. You’ve also taught me that nothing compares to a good, solid nap on pretty much every occasion - it could be the apocalypse and you would still find time for a little snooze. While this may not seem important, good napping skills will serve me well as I begin the next phase of my life at Smith College, I just know it. I feel like there are a million and one more things I could say, or go on about all of the lessons I’ve learned because of you, but I’ll stop here (before the emotions set in too much).

Maggie, I want you to remember that just because I’m leaving soon doesn't mean I’ll be gone forever. In fact, I will be home just in time to dress you up in your favorite (read: most hated) Christmas sweater - so don’t worry! Also, with all this newfangled technology floating around, I’ll be able to FaceTime you! And yes, I know you don't understand any of what I just said but…whatever. Even though I’ll be hundreds of miles away, you will still be my best friend and most beloved photography subject - and yes, I am taking approximately 100 pictures of you to put in my room (sorry roommate…). As the poet Andrea Gibson once said, you are my “beating heart with fur and legs,” which means I carry you with me, always. I love you and I will see you soon.

Hugs and nose kisses,

Your pal and snuggle buddy, Rylee 

Photo Credit: Rylee Smith


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Rylee Smith - Smith College

Rylee is about to be a first year at Smith College and hopes to be an English major. Three things that Rylee is passionate about: her dog Margaret, her sport dude (Kevin Love of the Cleveland Cavaliers), and feminism. Follow her on twitter @AllthewayMae17 for some moderately amusing tweets on all three subjects and many more!

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