I am full of gratefulness. I am grateful Hannah took care of me while you were gone.

At night, I get ready for bed by jumping on yours. I drop either pig or octopus or tug in just the right spot on the space between the towels you spread out for me. I let you know I am here for you whenever you decide it’s time to get into bed. You need me to remind you. I have to watch you so you don’t escape. I am grateful for your company. I jump off the bed once I know you are cozy. I move from place to place at night to keep you in sight—into my crate, onto the rug, onto the carpet, onto the bare floor. Sometimes you get up and then I have to follow you around wherever you go.

Every morning after we have slept and dreamed, I sit up at Daddy’s side and watch him very closely until he wakes up. Sometimes, I have to put a paw on the side of the bed and let him know I’m here and need to go outside with him. He pats me on the head, greets me, “Good morning, Oliver!” and talks to me and gets dressed and puts on his coat and my harness and out we go, into the beautiful world. 

Sometimes there’s a bunny to watch under the bushes by our house. Bunnies are funny and fast. Sometimes I want to go one way. Sometimes I want to go another way. Daddy follows my lead. I like it when it is quiet early in the morning. I love the quiet. I can hear the bunnies better. I am grateful for you and Mom. You love me. I love you.

I am grateful for breakfast. Oh, dog, do I love breakfast. I wolf it down. (Wolves were my predecessors, after all.) I am grateful for wolves. 

I love when Mom turns on the radio and magical music plays and you and I sit and look out the front window. I slide my front legs down into a prone position and we look out at the world. It’s full of snow today. Walkers and bicyclists with headlamps move down the path. I am grateful for music and our front window.

The paperboy drives up and throws the newspaper on the front deck. I run to the door and put my nose on the bells so they’ll jingle. You open the door and I grab the paper with my strong teeth. Today it was extra heavy. I bring the paper to the kitchen and you trade it for a treat. Quid pro quo. I am grateful for treats. You are grateful for the paper.

Daddy is cooking a big bird in the kitchen. It smells good. Thank you for good smells.

I am grateful to be alive. When I carefully scratch at the door to the deck, you let me outside again. You know what I want and when I want it. I sniff into the cold wind and feel my hair blow back. I look at the people who park on the street. I have to bark at them to let them know I’m in charge. You open the door, tell me “no bark!” I come back inside and lie down at your feet. The music is still playing.

I am waiting for a long walk around the lake. I’ll jump up at grab the leash in my teeth and we’re off!  People see my eyes and say, “He’s a happy dog!” They are right.

Advice from Oliver: Be nice to your friends.They might let you play with toys like pig. Listen to music. Feel the wind in your fur. Smell the birds. Watch the bunnies. Keep good company. Take long walks. Be grateful.


I can always tell when we’re walking to Kenwood. There are a lot of dogs in the neighborhood, so I have a lot of sniffing and pee mail to catch up on before we arrive at the building. My nose is very busy. When we go into the building, I try not to run. You press a buzzer, the door clicks open and we strut into the office. Heads turn to look at us. I like going to school. I twirl around a few times to see if anything has changed.

This is Danielle.

Danielle, the secretary, is one of my best people. When I come to Kenwood School, she always says, “Hello, Oliver!” and I put my feet up on her counter so I can see her better. I’m really not supposed to do that. I am supposed to keep my feet planted on the floor, but I can’t see what’s going on that way and sometimes, depending on who’s around, you pretend you don’t see me. It’s a little game we play.

Danielle and I are very excited to see each other. She usually gets up from her chair and comes over to pet me. I talk to her in my Oliver talk. “Grrrowrrower!” She understands me completely. I don’t talk to very many people, only the unique ones who speak my language. We don’t use the same words, but we both understand a smiling face. Do you see how my paws and Danielle’s feet line up? We’re besties.

While Danielle and I are making eyes at each other, you write our names in a notebook.

Danielle unlocks the conference room door where I work with you and we listen to children read and write and tell funny stories. Sometimes . it’s very warm in the conference room and I have a hard time keeping my eyes open. If i go to sleep, I snore. That blows my cover.

You laugh a lot when you read with one of our favorite little girls. She likes to get down on the floor and play with me. I like to smell her boots. They smell of other dogs and a cat. She pretends she’s a feline, but I know she’s a girl. I am a canine, otherwise known as Oliver.

Advice from Oliver: I can tell who really loves me and who is just pretending. If you want me to talk to you, try being polylingual like Danielle.