A letter from Lucas to Maris

a progress report

Dear Maris,

I hope you’re running around all you want and finding plenty of sheep to herd on the other side of the Rainbow Bridge. I have been hearing that the sheep in heaven are not any smarter than the ones on earth. So apparently, they still need all the help you can give them so they don’t go astray. If that’s the case, I know that you’re having a good time!

As for me, things are going pretty well. It has been three weeks since I arrived at the Rathbun home, and everything is as you said – they really love our kind! Right now, it is something called “Christmas Time,” and while it’s nice and cool outside, it is toasty inside. I get to take naps on pretty cushy beds, and a few times a day, I go outside to enjoy the wind and sniff the grass. Although… a few days ago, the grass disappeared! It is now covered by really yummy white stuff – I think you told me about this white stuff… is it called… smow? I think they get frustrated when I sit down to eat smow. They keep saying “do your business” over and over again, and I keep thinking “I AM doing my business… the business of exploring this scrumptious white manna from heaven.” Isn’t this what I’m supposed to do with smow? Anyway, they stand around shivering and saying how cold it is, while repeating “do your business!” And I’m like, “what do you think I’m doing? This smow is delicious! And honestly, it is nice and cool out here!”

The one called “mommy” kept offering me small morsels of stuff to see if I would eat it. I know you said that they are generous with treats, but I think you and I have different taste. I was looking forward to them, but they smell pretty bad! I can’t believe you ate whatever she gave you. Anyway, she finally offered this orange stuff that she calls “cheddar cheese,” which is totally worth eating. And the Christmas ham was to die for. So I guess not everything is bad – I’m sure you also had your share of cheese and ham. Even at the doctor’s office, they offered me something called “Pepperoni.” Why do humans keep putting these things in front of our noses and expect us to eat it? I know you liked it, but I think it’s weird. Mommy has finally learned that I like cheddar cheese, so she keeps it with her all the time… seriously, she even takes it to bed. She asks me to do various things, and when I comply, she offers me a bite. I like this “cheese” enough to do her bidding. Then she gives me a belly rub, which is actually my favorite.

The one thing I really don’t care for is this box they call my “room.” They put me in there the second night I was at their house, and I thought that my life was over. I squealed for hours, and mommy finally took me out and slept in my playpen with me. You told me about this “room,” but even you couldn’t remember it well because you hadn’t been in one since you were 1.5 years old, right? You said that you eventually ended up liking your room, but I don’t know how you were able to deal with not being next to mommy. Maybe you were more independent than I am. I don’t know. Will it get better? Well, you were right about one thing so far about the “room…” I’m only in there for a little bit, and mommy always comes back for me. She takes me out, picks me up, and kisses me all over… and I’m overcome with such relief and love. I guess I just have to learn to enjoy the bully stick and the snuggle puppy she put inside my room.

There has been a lot to get used to, but I think you prepared me really well for my arrival here. I am starting to enjoy being a Rathbun… I can’t compare it to anything else, but life seems to be really good here. And you were totally right about these socks! The bigger ones belonging to “daddy” are especially pungent and delightful. I have already started putting them all over the house so that I am never more than just a few hops away from a stinky one. That was a really good piece of advice! And I am looking forward to putting all your advice into good use in the coming months! For now, I need to go take a nap. Maybe you can “write me back” in my dreams.

Love, Lucas