I don’t know many people who love dogs as much as you do.

There are pureed pumpkin smears on my pants, and I have you to thank for this, sweetie. Whenever I see pureed pumpkin, I always think of you.

Because you are the only person I know who feeds their dogs pureed pumpkin, along with other nutritious human foods such as green beans, bananas, and special organic nitrate free cookies that cost $9.99 each.


The problem, of course, is that one of our dogs is a bloodhound with floppy jowls. Food gets stuck in these jowls. Especially squishy foods. So when you feed our dog pureed pumpkin, sweetheart, only fifteen-sixteenths of the pumpkin actually gets eaten. The rest gets smeared on my pants when the bloodhound rubs her face against my leg.

But it’s okay. Because I don’t know many people who love dogs as much as you do.

I remember when we first met, you told me that a member of your family had just died. You were a wreck. I was too embarrassed to ask who you were talking about. But, judging by your emotional state, I sincerely believed that it was an uncle, or a grandfather, or maybe even—I’m sorry, I’m just being honest here—your little brother.

Then you told me this deceased loved one had been named Sarge. I thought it was perhaps a nickname for an uncle who’d served his country. I don’t mind telling you that I mourned for that patriotic uncle of yours.

Then, you took me to Sarge’s grave located in the front yard of your parents’ house. A wooden cross was poking out of the ground. I was starting to get the Willies because what kind of a deranged nut buries their uncle in the front yard?

Then you placed a chew toy on the grave, and I understood.

You cried so hard over this dog. Which made me cry. And I knew then that I would love you forever.

While I write this, you are sitting on the sofa, playing on your phone, drinking coffee. You have two enormous dogs in your lap. You always have these dogs in your lap.

The dogs are yours, really. They don’t even care about me. Whenever you come around, they lose their minds. Whenever I come around, they lick themselves and ask what time this dump serves dinner.

One time I had this bright idea to train our dogs. I bought a book on canine obedience. The book suggested fastening the leashes around your waist during training sessions. That way, whenever the dogs would try to wander, they would see the leashes and realize they were attached to a human.

According to the book, this established dominance. The idea being that everyone clearly understood their roles in the pack with them being the submissive canines and me being the lunatic with leashes tied around his vital organs

I tried this method. I attached two ninety-pound dogs to my waist with commercial strength leashes. Things were going great for the first five minutes. Whenever I would say “Sit,” they would chew their own tails and play Ring Around the Rosie.

But then the front door opened.

You came walking into the house, sweetie, carrying groceries. They could sense your presence. One hundred and sixty pounds of canine muscle bolted for the front door and yanked me off my feet.

I hit the ground and they dragged me through the house dog-sled style. The doctor tells me I will walk with a limp for the rest of my life.

But I say all this to illustrate just how much these dogs love you. They would gladly drag my lifeless body across a sea of jagged furniture just to see you.

The thing is, I know that you and I weren’t ever able to have children. And I know that even though you’re okay with this, sometimes when you see a little redheaded toddler in public your heart hurts. I know this is true, even though you won’t admit it.

And sometimes, when a baby smiles at you, you light up like a Rockefeller Christmas tree. And I feel this little pang of guilt when that happens. Not a big one. Just a twinge.

Because you could have married someone better than me. Seriously. You could have landed a real prize. And by this stage of life you would already have a great house, a few kids, and all the things a woman would want. Tennis bracelets. Endless shoe supply. Maybe a swanky SUV that’s roughly the size of a YMCA. I don’t know.

But you chose me. You looked at me and you didn’t see a hapless fool. Somehow you saw what I didn’t. You saw what I could be. And I could say a lot more, but I’m running out of room. Besides, I really need to get this pumpkin puree out of my pants. So I’ll finish by saying this:

I don’t want anything from this tired and busted world. Not a single thing. I don’t want lots of money, nor a good retirement plan, nor an SUV. Nothing. Zip. Nada. All I want is to be alive to watch you grow into an old woman.

But if for some reason I’m not around for that, I only ask one thing: Please, with all my heart, I beg you, don’t bury me in the front yard.

Happy birthday, Jamie. From me and your babies.


  1. tattletale411 - October 26, 2019 5:55 am

    Happy Birthday, Jaimie

  2. Sarah Filliter - October 26, 2019 6:04 am

    Thank you for sharing your heart. You make a difference in my everyday life.

  3. Evelyn Mann-Wilder - October 26, 2019 6:46 am

    Happy birthday Jamie. I’m so glad you have each other ( and the dogs, of course the dogs).

  4. Sandi. - October 26, 2019 8:07 am

    Abundant birthday blessings to Jamie!

  5. Terry - October 26, 2019 8:12 am

    I understand that y’all can not have kids, if you can adopt y’all would be great parents. I have three grown ones y’all are welcome to have.

  6. Cathi Russell - October 26, 2019 8:15 am

    Jamie, Happy Birthday! 🎁

  7. Mary Ellen Hall - October 26, 2019 8:20 am

    HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO YOUR BEAUTIFUL JAMIE, SEAN!🎈🎂🎈I LOVE THIS STORY! ANY STORY YOU WRITE ABOUT YOUR PRECIOUS PUPS🐾MAKES ME HAPPY!😁I’m SO SORRY to hear about Jamie’s loss of her BELOVED SARGE!💔The loss of one of our pets is like losing a CHILD! I KNOW your ADORABLE PUPS have made Jamie feel RIGHT AT HOME! PUPS have a way of doing that!🐾🐾
    I KNOW Jamie’s BIRTHDAY will be WONDERFUL, spent with ALL 4 of your family members!💙❤🐾🐾

    Mary Ellen Hall

  8. Suzanne Cahill - October 26, 2019 9:51 am

    Happy Birthday Miss Jamie! ❤️

  9. Jean - October 26, 2019 10:43 am

    Happy Birthday Jamie….fur baby lover here too with a October birthday as well!

  10. Keloth Anne - October 26, 2019 10:51 am

    Happy Birthday to Jamie🎂🎁🎉💕

  11. Susan - October 26, 2019 11:05 am

    Happy Birthday, Jamie! 🎉 🍰 🎉

  12. Karen - October 26, 2019 11:31 am

    Happy Birthday to you sweet Jamie. Thank you both for sharing Sean with all of us. Thank you for loving your dogs as you do. Bless you both.

  13. Marilyn Ward Vance - October 26, 2019 11:36 am

    Happy, happy Birthday, Jamie! I hope you have a gazillion more!

  14. Meredith Smith - October 26, 2019 11:58 am

    Aw that was so sweet, Happy Birthday Jamie, do something great with your dogs and the guy with the pumpkin puree on his pants. I think he loves you.

  15. Jill - October 26, 2019 12:12 pm

    Complete adoration for Jamie, you and those sweet dogs. Happy Birthday, Jamie.

  16. Melody - October 26, 2019 12:22 pm

    Happy birthday Jamie! Hope you have a great day. Sean I think you and Jamie are perfect for each other.

  17. Jo Ann - October 26, 2019 12:33 pm

    Happy Birthday, Jamie!! Hope you have a wonderful day!

  18. Barbara Pope - October 26, 2019 12:41 pm

    Touching birthday love letter to your Jamie–make it special!

  19. Melanie - October 26, 2019 12:52 pm

    Happy birthday to Jamie ❤️ You are wonderful. Thank you for making Sean and your babies feel so loved.

  20. Karen Erwin-Brown - October 26, 2019 12:54 pm

    Happy birthday

  21. Richard C. - October 26, 2019 12:56 pm

    Happy Birthday, Jamie. You share a birthday date with my Mom. She would be 98 years old today.

  22. Leigh - October 26, 2019 1:09 pm

    Happy Jamie and to me❤️

  23. Dawn Bratcher - October 26, 2019 1:18 pm

    🎂🎈 HAPPY BIRTHDAY, Jamie! 🎉

  24. Teresa Tindle - October 26, 2019 1:35 pm

    That Sean is the kind of love letter I would want. Happy Birthday Jamie!

  25. Nancy - October 26, 2019 1:56 pm

    Happy Birthday Jamie! You and Sean and your fur babies are such a blessing!

  26. Val Sestito - October 26, 2019 2:17 pm

    Happy birthday, Jamie!! 🙏🎁🎂

  27. peggybilbro - October 26, 2019 2:21 pm

    Happy birthday Jamie!

  28. Kappes - October 26, 2019 2:22 pm

    Happy Birthday, Jamie!

  29. Connie Havard Ryland - October 26, 2019 2:26 pm

    Happy birthday Jamie. You are both richly blessed to know so much love.

  30. Janis - October 26, 2019 2:36 pm


  31. MermaidGrammy - October 26, 2019 2:42 pm

    Happy Birthday, Precious Jamie!! Y’all go find a couple of sweet babies to adopt. It will change your life. For the better. I promise

  32. Janice - October 26, 2019 3:03 pm

    Happy Birthday Jamie 🎉. You did good Sean!!

  33. Landa - October 26, 2019 3:05 pm

    Dear Sean,

    I don’t respond to stuff, but…

    Not long before he died last February, my husband and I were just riding around.  We passed a big house with a porch all around and he said, “I wish you could have had a place like that.” 

    What I had was almost fifty years with the most interesting, supportive, and loving man I ever met.  Fancy “stuff” is nothing compared to that.  I bet Jamie feels exactly the same.

    I wish you two many more wonderful years and happy birthdays together.

  34. Linda Allen - October 26, 2019 3:15 pm

    ❤️ Wonderful writing as always! Happy Birthday to Jamie, you are both so lucky to have found each other. And your doggies! ❤️

  35. Judy Tayloe - October 26, 2019 3:23 pm

    Happy Birthday, Jamie!

  36. Gordon - October 26, 2019 3:36 pm

    Wishing your sweet, devoted Jaime a very Happy Birthday.

  37. Claudia Rowe Kennedy - October 26, 2019 3:48 pm

    Sean, I don’t know if you read your comments, but if you do, I want you to know this: I love every single word you write. I love it as much as a crisp apple slice with a huge glob of crunchy peanut butter!
    I am a writer too. When people ask me, “How do you do it?” I say, “Just use common words in an uncommon way. Make your reader feel something real, everyday stuff. And if you can, cause them to laugh, to cry out, “ Yes!” That’s exactly what you do. I read your column to my husband. He laughs, reaches for my hand and squeezes it. So, we thank you. So much.

  38. Linda Moon - October 26, 2019 3:59 pm

    Sean, you are so kind to let random things like pumpkin smears make you think of your sweetie-sweetheart. Jamie, your presence, your smile, and your hugs are always a present for me when I show up at an event. I understand why those dogs just want to see YOU! HAPPY BIRTHDAY!! Grow Old (it ain’t that bad) and love on all those babies, including the one you’re married to. But, when the time comes and y’all have finished growing old together, don’t bury him in Talladega….you might not ever find him again – HAHAHAHAHAHA!!! (3 exclamation points)!

  39. Brenda - October 26, 2019 4:03 pm

    Happy birthday! Hope you have a blessed day

  40. Rebecca J Cotney - October 26, 2019 5:09 pm

    Happy Birthday Jaime!!!! Hope you Sean & your pups have a great day.

  41. Joy - October 26, 2019 5:20 pm

    You definitely blessed me with your Birthday letter to Jamie! I am always blessed when I read you….and I read you daily, then forward it on! Please give Jamie a Birthday hug for me.

  42. M. J. Clinton - October 26, 2019 5:50 pm

    This melted my heart. Happy birthday, Jamie!

  43. Shelton A. - October 26, 2019 6:31 pm

    Ah, dogs. The dogs I’ve had have always gravitated to me over my ex-wife or my kids. Lucky took a stand and guarded my daughter when a stranger came to the door. But he followed me back to the couch when the show was over. I have always loved my dogs and I still miss them all. My current dog is a sweet-heart who I had to cure from couch pillows and blankets. Sorry you got drug through the house…love will not be stopped. Happy Birthday, Jamie (and many more!). God bless you both and your hat eating dogs.

  44. Carole Lea from Dothan, AL - October 26, 2019 6:55 pm

    This is a beautiful tribute to your love of your wife (and your mutual love of your dogs). Happy birthday, Jamie!! I know you know this, but Sean’s a keeper (and so are you)!!

  45. Carole Lea in Dothan, AL - October 26, 2019 6:56 pm

    Ditto that!

  46. Betty - October 26, 2019 7:05 pm

    Happy birthday, Jamie. Wishing you many more to spend with that hunk of a husband!

  47. Patricia Gibson - October 26, 2019 7:28 pm

    Happy Birthday Jamie

  48. Susan Anderson - October 26, 2019 7:36 pm

    Happy Birthday, Jamie!🎈🍦🎂🍰🍭

  49. Tim House - October 26, 2019 9:32 pm

    A beautiful love letter. 🙂

  50. Susan Kennedy - October 26, 2019 10:24 pm

    Happy Birthday Jamie! 🎉🎁🎈🎊🎂

  51. Debbie Galladora - October 26, 2019 10:50 pm


  52. Susie - October 26, 2019 11:29 pm

    Happy Birthday Jamie🎈🎈I know you have had a fun filled beautiful day. Blessings to you both and your fur babies.

  53. Irma Brown - October 27, 2019 1:37 am

    Happy Birthday Jamie ! God Bless

  54. Judy Wilson - October 27, 2019 3:43 am

    I’ll go through my life loving you…Statler Brothers.
    I love that you are so in love with your wife as I am sure she is terribly in love with you. Looking at one another with eyes of love is a treasure not allotted to everyone.

  55. Ann - October 27, 2019 11:54 am

    Sooooo full of love….what a gift!🎉

  56. Carole Cornell - October 27, 2019 10:50 pm

    I loved reading this. Made me tear up a bit. Jamie is lucky to have you too!

  57. Robin George - October 28, 2019 1:26 pm

    Happy belated birthday Jamie!
    I love love love your love story, babies or not!

  58. Alice Roose - October 28, 2019 1:50 pm

    This is so sweet Happy Birthday Jamie!and God Bless you Sean I love to read all your stories ❤️❤️

  59. Tom Luckett - October 29, 2019 1:34 pm


  60. susanogden - November 1, 2019 7:26 pm

    Best Birthday gift ever is a story from you! Jamie, you are blessed!

  61. Anne Trawick - November 6, 2019 2:29 am

    I love when you write about your adorable wife.

  62. Ella - November 20, 2019 3:16 pm

    Two things: YOU are the one that just had to have a bloodhound! 💦
    And, #2: only fabulous, fortunate people are born on October 26 – – including me! Happy Birthday winners!!!

  63. Martha - November 20, 2019 5:12 pm

    Sean, I think Jamie knows what I came to realize a long time ago & that is that all men are dogs. Tall ones, short ones, skinny ones, fat ones, every shape and size, but when a woman loves you, she loves you despite all that and she knows she rescued you. It’s true, all men are dogs and no matter how sweet, how kind, how loving, every once in a great while they are going to bark. They canmot help it. My daddy was a good man, he played the guitar (and that gets extra points), he danced a step or two, he told hilarious jokes and made life telling observations, but every now and again, he would bark and break to run, but mamma always came along and helped him quiten back down.
    Now I realize there is always the other side of the coin, so let ne just say in the telling, that all women are cats. Their soft, they snuggle & purr, the comfort us and quietly walk around softly inspecting. Some are a little fuzzy, some sleek, neck I’ve even seen a couple of bald one. They groom themselves and pose provocatively & fetchingly when youre looking and eyes, Lord those eyes & little sweet nose, but every once in a great while theyre going to jump up, curve their back, spit, hit & bring out their switch blades hidden under the soft furr of their paws. But they eventually move on, though not quite as quickly as a dog, that’s because he is a dog & more forgiving.
    But don’t ever think they cannot happily cohabitate peacefully for the better part. They are quite often attracted to each other. Once they decide to cohabitate and spend sometime, you’ll see how they sometime pick up or begin to utilize each other’s behaviours until it’s not clear whoxs the dog & who’s the cat until they bark or hiss. They say if you live long enough together you begin to favor each other and that’s because they so admire each other, they unconsciously take on some of each of each others mannerisms they have engraved on their hearts.
    Live long together in the appreciation of what you have together as you so lovingly display.


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