July 7 marks five years of Baxter being part of our family. Years ago I was inspired by Tracey at love lives on to write a letter to Baxter each year on his gotcha day. Here are the letters from year 1, year 2, year 3, year 4 and Baxter’s adoption story.

Dear Baxter,

In this family, we do things together. That means hard times, good times, routine times–we’re a unit. I’m so grateful for the many ways you’ve been there for everything our little family has gone through over the past year.

Hiking with Baxter and Ellie

You’ve taught me acceptance–of people, of situations, of life. You adapt, go with the flow and do what is needed—even if you may not be thrilled when your walk is cut short because the baby is tired of being in her stroller.

I was uncertain of how you’d be with your new sister, and I wanted badly for you to be okay with being a big brother. I’m so proud of how gentle you are with Ellie. I’ve done my best to help you adjust, but you’ve done most of it yourself. You are naturally kind and caring, and I feel so lucky that we found you all those years ago.

Baxter the boxer mix

We’ve had a lot of joy over the past year, and we’ve also had some hard times. You’ve waited patiently alone at home through long days or willingly went to Grandma’s and Grandpa’s. You’ve listened to us during walks as we discuss our fears and our hopes. You stand by me during tough days when I bury my teary face in your fur.

I worry sometimes that I’m not giving you my best. Not enough hikes, not enough scratches, not enough fetch, not enough conversation. However, you never seem to hold that against me. You take what I can give you and wait—mostly patiently—for your turn.

Baxter the boxer mix

You accept situations as they come. And you accept me without judgment. You are a good example for me. Thank you for five wonderful years.

Love,
Julia

What have you learned from your dog? How do you celebrate your dog’s birthday or adoption anniversary?

Julia Thomson is a blogger at Home on 129 Acres where she writes about her adventures of country living and DIY renovating. She and her family live on a 129-acre farm in Ontario, Canada. Follow Julia on Instagram here.