Dear Finnigan,

I just wanted to write you note of thanks for all your great assistance and attention while we lived together in Des Moines. I had no idea how little I knew about dogs until I moved in with you. I also think that I found a good soul in an animal that had a killer “pouty face” when you wanted something.

I admit that I am not a dog person, but I do have some experience with canines. I did live with another dog for about six months, but I wasn’t paying much attention to her. You demanded that I pay attention. Remember that morning when Amy kenneled you and you made Chewbacca noises and howled until I let you out? I had no idea what the rules where but could’ve cared less after you woke me up so early.

That was a great time!

Then there was that night when Amy left in a hurray to go to a funeral. I had no idea that you and I would spend the night alone. I had no rules, no instructions, and no experience overnighting with a dog. Being my first time ever, I took your bed, let you sniff it, and then made sure you saw me take it upstairs.

You slept downstairs on the couch.

And all those days we fought over the kennel. I hated putting you in there, but that was the rule. You growled, bared teeth, bit, and did as much as possible to not get in there. Then I started sneaking you vegan treats for your cooperation. Then we became good friends!

I still won’t feed you off the counter or table. Too bad; dogs eat from the floor.

Finally, Finnigan, we really became friends after you jumped through the hole in the fence to go bark at a stranger. Amy was there, so I backed her up as she picked you up and brought you inside. I insisted on fixing the hole because I always got worried when I let you outside. I found ply wood in the garage and though Amy balked, we blocked that fence. After that you became a free range puppy. I saw you out there having a good time after that, and then you stopped barking at me when I did Tai Chi or got my bike off the front porch.

We buds, yo.

I’m gonna miss parts of Iowa: the bike trails, the bits or prairie ecosystem that remain, my coworkers, Cambell’s Nutrition, Fleur Cinema and Cafe, and Best Place Ever, and A-Dong. I’ve learned so much out here in Middle America. Personal stuff that never would’ve happened inside my bubble back home. Professional stuff that only comes with being alone on the road.

And getting to know a kooky dog like you.

So goodbye dog. I won’t miss your shedding fur or sudden blurts of barking. But I will miss your backyard frolics, your excitement for protecting the home, and your love for anything edible on the ground.

Be well, my friend, and come visit me in San Francisco. There are lots of doggies out there that’d dig meeting a Mid Westerner pooch.

And goodbye Iowa. If I ever see anything fried on a stick, I’ll think of you. If I see a cornfield, I will remember watching the seasons roll along your GMO plains. I’ll remember your bars and dives, your Mormon history. And I’ll remember your people: nice, polite, close to the earth, and mostly white.

Off to the City By The Bay. Back to the leftward shores where my community has followed my travels with support and excitement. Back to the hot tubs and amazing massage therapists. Back to Critical Mass! Back to the grit and graff of mi barrio. Back to the good hugs and great dinner parties. Ect. so on so forth and such with….

And, after resting a bit, back to working on making this world a better place to live in.

Your biped friend forever,

PS: Oh, thanks again for letting me know when the rains or winds come. So cute that you always try to jump in my lap when the weather turns.