(Another) open letter to my dog:

Dear Molly,

I just wanted to say thanks for all you do to protect the family. Your relentless devotion to keeping the backyard safe is a real asset to the neighborhood and we don’t take it for granted.

For example, when you hear the city’s recycling trucks circling the area every Tuesday at 5 a.m., your deafening barks and frantic racing throughout the house are completely justifiable for such a disturbance. I mean–let’s be serious—those trucks could be dinosaurs for all we know. The fact that that they arrive at the same time and day each week, every week, makes it no less terrifying.

And the way you alert us to the presence of an emergency vehicle by howling louder than its siren? That’s a real gift. We never have to worry about being the last to know there was an ambulance four blocks away from us.

I think we most appreciate the way you never fail to let us know when there is a cat outside the house, by showcasing your impersonation of a rabid hyena. It’s cool, Molly; I don’t like cats, either. And they definitely don’t have permission to lounge on our front lawn.

Your reactions to these unnatural forces make it easy to understand why you’re deathly afraid of thunder and lightning. I mean—those are much more legitimate dangers—nature is scary business.

Despite any idiosyncrasies, we love you. You make our lives better and we will always appreciate your quirks.