Hilde snoozing on my sofa

My granddog Hilde recently left me after our six months together.

What began as my fostering this sweet military brat while her family settled in Hawaii ended with my being completely in love with her. We did alot during our half year of co-habitating, but one thing we didn’t do much of was FaceTiming with her “sisters,” aka my granddaughters. The time difference, especially during the week, made it hard for us to chat. I began to realize as Hilde’s homecoming approached that her family knew very little about our daily activities and other adventures, and I wanted them to know how much fun we had. Plus, I waned to preserve the memories for myself.

So Hilde wrote a letter, which I asked my son to read to the girls after their beloved pup was safely  home. Here it is:

My dear family,

   I am SO happy to be home with you! I’ve missed you so much. I can’t wait to discover my new backyard and to enjoy the trade winds here in Hawaii. As you know, I can’t speak your language or write, but Gigi understands me, so I am dictating this letter to her, so she can type it for me.

   Thank you for letting me stay with Gigi for six months. We’ve had a really fun time together, and I am going to miss her and my best friend Pablo.

   I did a lot of things in Virginia Beach and Norfolk. Gigi and I enjoyed hiking at First Landing State Park, walking through the Norfolk Botanical Garden, and taking strolls by the Bay. I LOVE rolling in the sand, so please take me to the beach here as much as you can!

   One time we went to an art show in the soaking rain and heard Uncle Rhett’s band, Buddha Council, play. Haha… I’ve seen Uncle Rhett play drums in person! We only lasted two songs because the weather was so bad, so we went with our friends Jon and Paula to a brewery where everybody wanted to pet me. Jon was nice enough to let my wet, shaggy self ride on his white leather seats!

   It rained ALOT while I was at Gigi’s. We had to go out in hurricanes and cuddle closely while the winds were howling. One night during a hurricane, we spent the night at the Fields’ house next door. They loved me! It rained a lot on our many walks, so I am used to a blow dryer and actually look forward to getting fluffed and dried. Gigi’s bathroom was my personal beauty salon!

  One day last summer, a storm popped up while we were walking. It was lightning and pouring rain, so Gigi and I ran to her friend Amy’s house. We rang the doorbell (Well, Gigi rang it), but Amy’s kids were being too loud, and no one heard the doorbell or our knocking. We sat on Amy’s little (REALLY little) porch for 15 minutes until we heard her ask, “Did you all hear the doorbell ring?”Gigi banged on the door, and finally Miss Amy opened it and drove us home. We were soaked.

  My mornings have been spent walking about four blocks with Gigi when we got up. All the children at the bus stop adored me and always asked to pet me. I loved it.

   I had play dates with my friends Benjamin Neary and Charlie Kelly, and sometimes I even sat in the laps of Gigi’s clients. I think it’s safe to say everybody adores me, and why wouldn’t they?

   I spent a week in Mayodan when Gigi sold Pa’s house. Gigi was very sad, but I comforted her. Unfortunately, we had to spend the last night in a rather nasty motel during an awful storm. Yep, Gigi and I have been through a lot together!

   You need to know about all the nicknames Gigi gave me. I don’t know where she came up with all these names she called me, but here are a few: Hilders, Hildreth, Hilds, Miss Girl, Hilder Wilders, Hildie Wildie, Hilde Vindaloo, Hilde Lou, Hilde Nicole, Miss Nic… I love Gigi, but sometimes I wonder about her. I do like “Miss Girl,” though, but if you call me that, you have to put some sass behind it, and say, “Ooh, Miss Girl!”

   I walked all over the streets where Daddy used to ride his bike and skateboard, and I even got blessed at the church where Daddy grew up.

   Right before I left yesterday, Gigi took me out on the screened porch I love so much (where I watched squirrels in the early morning while Gigi read), and she took me for one last walk.

   I will miss my walks with Gigi and chasing the tennis ball around the house. I’m going to miss Pablo, too. But you know what?

   I am SO happy to be back with you, my family, who I love so much.

   Now, let’s cuddle and play!

Yes, I wrote the letter. Hilde’s smart, but she’s not that smart, or I would have found a way to profit from it! I wrote it to connect with my granddaughters and to share with them the fun Hilde and I had during our six-month adventure.

Let’s face it: Letter writing is becoming a lost art and a thing of the past in this age of email, texting, and social media. How I wish I’d had the good sense to keep all those letters my sweet mama wrote me from the first week I started college until her mind faded 15 years later. In her lovely handwriting, she’d tell me about picking vegetables in my aunt’s garden, who was sick, what she was cooking for dinner that night, or sometimes, she’d just tell me how proud she was of me. Oh, how I wish I’d saved all those letters!

I’ve decided (better late than never) to write each of my granddaughters a long letter once a month and send them a little gift. I figure it will be easier to connect with them in letters rather than technology, given the time difference. Plus, they’ll receive little gifts and will hopefully will re-read my words. It’s something I should have been doing all long, but it’s never too late to start.

How about you? Do you have loved ones who might appreciate real letters? We all need encouragement in life, and I, for one, don’t want to see letter writing become a completely lost art.

Think about it, pick your people, and have your writing papers at hand. You won’t regret it.


Amy Walton is a speaker, writer, and certified life coach who currently lives in coastal Virginia and looks forward to new territory. She’s the mother of two humans and one feline and the Gigi of three humans and one canine… got it?! She easily laughs at herself and spends a lot of time contemplating life. Connect with her at amywaltoncoaching@gmail.com.