A belated happy birthday, dog

Casper: I'm sorry. I completely forgot that today was your birthday. I didn't plan a party or get you a present or anything. What can I say? It's been hectic around here. What with the kids and our busy schedules, school events, your late-night collar shakings jarring me from sleep, your blatant manipulation of an 18-month-old's generosity in order to wrap your maw around whatever scrap of half-chewed food you can , and your multiple escapes, it's been a real whirlwind. Your special day got lost in the shuffle, and I'm really sorry.

I can tell you're upset: all day you've been pretending to be asleep in the teepee the kids got for Christmas that you've taken over. I'd trade a dollar for every hair you've shed in there just to make you feel better. Your emotionless facial expression can't fool me: you've been feigning "peaceful slumber" for ten straight hours now, and when you "wake up" and demand to be fed, I know that your unsettlingly human-sounding yelp for immediate satisfaction will really just be a cry for help. You are like all of us: it's human attention you crave, and if eating the entire contents of the kitchen garbage is the only way for you to get it, well, that's the price of emotional admission. Whatever I have done to punch that ticket, I apologize.

So, here's how I'll make it up to you. Tonight, with my own two hands, I'm going to make you a birthday card that gleams like a fresh pile of regurgitated candy wrappers and shines brighter than the bedazzled turd you left on the lawn after you ate all the glitter glue. It will really be something, and it will all the more because it came from the heart.

So, here's to a bright future together, full of shockingly long naps, appallingly ungrateful missteps, and surprises. Really can't wait for more of those surprises.