I don’t have human children. But if I had chosen that path, I would’ve wished for one just like my friend Amy’s daughter, Audrey. She’s intelligent, sweet, hilarious, creative and can rock a pair of glasses like a mini Tina Fey. And she adores the many four legged beasts that rule our household, so bonus kid points right there.
So when Amy told me that Audrey was singled out by a girl named Kale who whose sole mission was to turn the entire third grade against her, my heart sank. In spite of Audrey’s best efforts to reach out, no one would break ranks and dare to be her friend. And in typical mean girl fashion, everything from her hairstyle and clothes to her name was subject to ridicule. (Note to self: a chick named after a cruciferous vegetable is critiquing the name Audrey?)
Aside from plying her with her favorite nail polish and anything with sparkles on it, I wasn’t sure what I could do to cheer her up. To ease the ache of wanting to belong, and being denied that for no apparent reason. As much as I loved this kid, I realized that maybe I had nothing to offer.
But perhaps my dogs did.
And so, the following missive was dictated from the hearts of my mutts (and transcribed by me simply because I happen to have opposing thumbs and keyboard access):
This morning at the park, when we were playing with all the other dogs, we started thinking about friendship (we also thought about chasing rabbits, stealing dog toys and how much we love bacon…but those are stories for another time). Anyway, back to friendship. What makes someone (dog or human) a real friend? From what we can figure out, it seems that these three things make up a real friend:
- They love you, even if you have a bad hair day – There’s this poodle at the park that really needs to go to the groomer. But he’s got a great personality and always shares his toys, so who cares whether his curls are perfect? It’s what’s inside that counts.
- They love you, no matter what your name is – Spartacus, T-Bone, Brandy, Lucy Lu, Chase, Buddy…these are our dog park pals. We really don’t care what their humans call them. All we know is that they are fun to be with, and we would never give them up, no matter what!
- They love you, whether you’re close or far away – We are thankful for our Arizona friends (both 2 and 4 legged), but we also love and miss our friends who live in other places. We may not see them as much, but they are always in our hearts…just like you!
So, Miss Audrey…just know that you’ve got real friends in us. We think you’re beautiful, smart, and funny (we still laugh about the time you crawled into our crate when you first came to visit!). Anyone who is fortunate enough to receive the kindness that comes from that big heart of yours should consider themselves lucky. We sure do.
All our love,
Devo & Ranger
I heard from Amy not long after I mailed the letter. Kale and her merry band of brats were still giving Audrey a hard time. But knowing she was loved and admired for who she is put a smile on her face. And a brand new multi-colored, glittery manicure didn’t hurt, either.
(Yes, I sent the nail polish and sparkly stuff, too. No sense giving up on the tried and true, right?)