The Power of an Encouraging Note

When I opened the mail yesterday there was an envelope with a handwritten note from my 7 year old nephew, Kase. Each year around Christmas we have him and the other nephews (and now a niece) over to make and decorate gingerbread houses. This is mostly my wife’s event, but I love it and help out as well. When he was younger I remember Kase being afraid of dogs. So, it was a bit of a challenge for him to come to our house where we have 3 corgis.

Last December when Kase came over he really bonded with our female corgi, Fiona (or FiFi). He spent much time in the floor loving and getting love in return from our “tub of goo.” Last week our hearts were broken (still are, in fact) over having to let Fiona go. I wrote a tribute to her here.

When I opened the envelope from Kase I found the following:


Kase wrote that from his concern for us and from his own sadness over FiFi. His words of encouragement are precious and tender. They lifted our spirits — he lifted our spirits.

This is a reminder to me of how much of an impact a simple note can have in the lives of others. In the era of email and text messages, a handwritten note really stands out. But whether handwritten or created any other way, uplifting words can make a difference in the life of someone you care about.

Thank you, Kase, for your sweet words. It helped us.

Who can you encourage today with a note?

A Tribute to Our Girl Fiona


Today (8/26/15) was a hard day in our household. We had to say goodbye to a furry friend who graced our home for over ten years. Her name was Fiona. We often called her FiFi. She was a tri-colored Pembroke Welsh Corgi, an enchanted little breed of herding dogs that think they are much larger than they actually are. She was our “alpha male” who presided over a pack that included two male corgis – Toby and Rhett.

Like all dogs, she had some very special qualities and a unique personality that made a difference in our family. Her unique trick was sitting on her butt like a chipmunk. She could balance like that for a long time. She was also the most gentle dog we have met. She loved children and loved us to be in the floor with her so she could snuggle up tight.

I am sure it is a testament to the blessed and easy nature of our lives so far that the decision to let her go was one of the hardest we have ever made. Were we sure there were no other alternatives? We stretched this agonizing decision over multiple days until we were certain it was time.

As Margot and I drove home and amid our tears we agreed that even though the pain of separation is sharp, we would not have traded those ten years of love to avoid this moment. It was not our decision that brought Fiona into this world — that happened without our knowledge or involvement. It was our decision to allow her to become part of our lives, and we will never regret that no matter how much this hurts. The love was worth it all. We gave her a great home, great kids, great canine brothers, and a lot of love. She gave us joy, happiness, and her own love in return. What more can you ask?

‘Tis better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all. – Alfred, Lord Tennyson

In the end we made a decision motivated by that same real love we bathed her in all her life. Our lives and those of Kellen and Matt are richer because she shared hers with us. Dr. Todd Rabon and the staff at Premier Animal Hospital are compassionate caregivers. We thank you all for your tender care.

Note: See the follow-up post here.