From sloppy kisses to endless cuddles to constant companionship, our furry family members give us so much to be grateful for all throughout the year—but Thanksgiving is the perfect opportunity to put it into words. To celebrate the upcoming holiday, we asked some of Instagram’s most famous pet parents to share exactly why they’re thankful for their furry families. Their Thanksgiving thank-you notes are tear-jerking, heartfelt and stand as a powerful reminder of the special bond between person and pet—and of the amazing gifts they give to us every day.
Emily Blanchard lives in West Warwick, Rhode Island, with her rescue dog Opal. Four years after adopting Opal, she is still grateful that their paths crossed on Petfinder.
"Dear Opal: It’s been four years since I stumbled across your mismatched ears on Petfinder. Four years of waking up to your morning stretches (and sometimes explosive diarrhea). Four years, three couches, two apartments, one failed engagement—and the only thing I know for certain is you."
"My sidekick. My partner in crime. My soulmate. Sometimes I wonder if I would have gotten through this past year without you. You who eats her own poop and is afraid of inanimate objects. Who destroys underwear, humps pillows, and chases frogs. Who is always sad to see me leave and happy when I come home. Who has taught me to bask in the sun, relax in the shade, and roll in the grass. Who has made me an advocate for those without a voice. Who loves unconditionally, uncontrollably, and uncompromisingly. Thank you for taking up all the storage space on my phone and for being my icebreaker on dating apps. My heart is bigger because you are a part of it. Love you always, Mom."
See more of Opal and her family @emilyeveryday.
Over the past three years, Shayna Hadley, her daughter, Paisley, and their Dalmatian Noble have been through some pretty big changes together, including a move to Colorado. But Hadley is thankful for all of the adventures the always-loving and loyal Noble has brought her.
"Dear Noble: If you only knew just how thankful I am. When you came into my life, I had just moved from middle-of-nowhere Illinois to St Louis. I was scared, homesick and I felt so alone... Then there you were: 5 weeks old and needing so much love and care. All those previous feelings disappeared. We were so focused on giving you a better life I forgot about my own struggles. You made me stronger, and you made me want to get out and explore. These past 3 years with you have been one crazy rollercoaster but I wouldn’t have it any other way. I’m thankful you were the pup we picked and that you are every bit as weird, loving, and loyal as I am. We love you, Nobes."
See more of Noble and his family @sir_noble_.
Los Angeles-based Terina Li and Kubo, her precious Shiba, are coming up on two years together as pet parent and pup. During those two years, the inseparable pair have shared an incredible bond (and countless dance-offs) for which Li expresses her gratitude.
"My darling Kubo: We're exactly one week away from celebrating our 2nd year together, and wow, am I so proud of the dog you've become. Sure, I will always miss your dorky puppy days, but I wouldn't trade this bond we now have for the world. You've high-fived me as I laughed, licked away my tears, and danced with me to the closing songs of the dog-friendly outdoor malls we frequent. You are my heart dog. Imprinted on my soul. And I am grateful beyond words that you came into my life. The next time we're standing at the crossroads, locked in our battle of wills because I'm late for work and you want to walk more, just remember that those premium jerky cut treats don't grow on trees... And I love you. Obviously."
See more of Kubo and his family @hey.kubo.
Michelle and Alex live in Greenville, Wisconsin, with their cat, Minnie. Minnie might be short in stature (her mom muses that her breed is mostly likely a cross between American Curl and Munchkin), but she’s certainly big on personality. In fact, her mom names Minnie’s “cattitude” as one of the things she’s most thankful for.
"Dear Minnie: We can’t even imagine our lives without you. You complete our family and you know it. Thank you for always greeting us when we walk through the door... Thank you for cuddling us when it seems like a chore... We still can’t believe you can sleep through Alex’s snore... Each and every day we love you more and more. Minnie, never change that cattitude of yours, you are perfect to us in every way."
See more of Minnie and her family @munchkin_minnie.
Seda Piazza’s Golden Retriever DJ is always by her side, whether it’s a big move to a new state or her journey into motherhood. Piazza credits DJ for helping prepare her for the recent arrival of his (human) baby sister, through showing her unconditional love and how to be a mom.
"Dear DJ (okay already crying): We’ve been together a little over a year now and I’m incredibly thankful for every minute of it. I became a mom with you first. Then I got pregnant with your baby sister and we moved to a new state, from a big city to a small city. All those changes, hormones, being away from family and friends, it wasn’t easy at all, but I’ve never felt lonely because I had you. You’re my family and you’re my best friend. Then we brought your baby sister home and of course you’re soo good with her. Seeing you two together is the best thing in the world.
"You’re the sweetest and the goofiest guy I’ve ever met, and also absolutely the most handsome one! Your cuddles, your (slobbery) kisses, your friendship, your company, your love is everything to me. Thank you for being by my side no matter what, thank you for listening [to] all of my secrets, thank you for making me laugh, thank you for teaching me [to] unconditionally love, thank you for teaching me how to be a mom, thank you for comforting me in any situation and thank you for being mine. Life is beautiful with you! And I’m so thankful you’re my baby. I’m obsessed with you. With love, Mama."
See more of DJ and his family @djthegolden.
Lucy Barnes of San Diego, California, is thankful to her pup, Fancy, for her constant companionship, pushing her to get out of her comfort zone, and for showing her what unconditional love truly is.
"You are more than a pet, more than family... You are my best friend, my constant companion, my adventure partner. Everything that I love and cherish has been brought into my life because of you. You have sparked my love of the outdoors and my passion for photography. You have given me a desire to wander and have inspired every adventure we’ve taken. You have turned me from a doormat into a confident and assertive lady by giving me something to stand for. You push me to get out of my comfort zone and have helped me grow in more ways than I thought possible. You have shown me the unconditional kind of love that I now know I deserve. These have all, in turn, brought me to working for a company I adore and finding a man who treats me right. I love you, baby girl. Thank you for giving me the world. I will continue to give you the world in return."
See more of Fancy and her family at @ms_fancypants_.
Candice Sedighan’s dog Bear helped her heal after the loss of her previous dog, Champ. Although the two dogs couldn’t have been more different, Sedighan, who lives in Calabasas, California, says she’s grateful to both of the pups for helping her connect with the social media community, and for walking with her through life.
"To Bear: Nine months after Champ passed away, you came into my life and made it bright again! You could not be more different from him, and that is an amazing thing because I've learned so much from you. Thank you for being the other half of our photographs—you and Champ are the reason I have connected with this awesome community that loves you as much as I do! You are the slobberiest, goofiest, goodest boy and I look forward to taking this journey called life with you. 'Dogs come into our lives to teach us about love, they depart to teach us about loss. A new dog never replaces an old dog, it merely expands the heart.'"
See more of Bear and his family @thatgoldendog.
Navy, a corgi from Broadlands, Virginia, lives with Alex Hibbs (her dog mom) and her dog dad, both of whom she has to share with her corgi brother, Duke. Her pet parents are grateful she’s so good at sharing toys and attention, as well as for all the joy and happiness she brings them on a daily basis.
"My Navy girl: I’ll be the first to admit you aren’t the most perfectly behaved pup, but man, you are perfect in my eyes. You came into my life 2.5 years ago when I needed you the most. You quickly became mine and your father’s best friend. When you are around, I truly have no reason to ever be sad. You bring me so much joy, happiness, and purpose. You helped show me that family and quality time with loved ones matters. You’ve encouraged us to be more active, adventurous, and spontaneous. Without you we wouldn’t have met some of our closest friends. You are the best big sister to your little brother, always sharing your toys and treats and precious time with mom and dad. I couldn’t have asked for a better first pup. I love you forever and always, Navy girl."
See more of Navy and her family at @navycorgi.
An important member of Jenna McFarland’s pack is her family’s dog, Charles. At their Grand Rapids, Michigan, home, Charles is infamous for following closely behind family members (sometimes too closely) and giving the sloppiest kisses—which McFarland couldn’t be more thankful for.
"Hey Bubba, thank you for always being there. Literally. Always there. Right behind us, especially in the dark, when we have a full armload of things. You’re always watching out for us, and keeping us safe from the squirrels and the trash cans when it’s trash day. What would we ever do without you?? Thank you, Charles, for all the love, all the smiles, and all the slobbery kisses!"
See more of Charles and his family at @heyitsjenna.
Portland-based Micki Le and and her partner are the pup parents to Corgis Taro and Mochi. Le is thankful to Taro and Mochi—sometimes called Tochi—for being her big and little spoon respectively, as well as for their patience when their pet parents skimp on the playtime.
"Dear Tochi: We’re not perfect doggo parents, but we’re trying. We’ve learned a lot and we have a lot more to learn, thanks for being patient with us. Thanks for never failing to wiggle those butts every time we walk through the door. Mochi, thanks for being my little spoon, and Taro, thanks [for] being big spoon. Thanks a million for the unconditional love, even when I didn’t feel worthy of it. But most importantly, thank you for just being."
See more of Taro, Mochi and their family @mochthecorgi.
Mandy Helwege of Littleton, Colorado, credits her two dogs, Elliott and Allister, with breaking down her walls and being a constant ray of light during times of darkness.
"Jar Jar Bean, I’m supposed to write you a thank you letter, and I honestly don’t even know where to begin. Two and a half years ago you came into this world and blew my heart right out of my chest. I didn’t expect the bond I would have with you, nor could I have prepared myself for the ways it would change me entirely. In two and a half years you’ve shown my heart pure love, you’ve helped me discover joy and you’ve broken down the walls that kept me closed off to the greater part of the world for so long. Your adventurous spirit has brought mine (and countless others) to life and my love of the outdoors has forever changed. My best bean, life will never be the same again because of you."
"Elliott, you have been everything and exactly what my soul needed. You have been an ever present ray of light, the first reason I smile in the morning and as I lay in bed with my hand on your chest every night before I join you in slumber, I thank the universe it found a way to bring me you."
See more of Elliott, Allister and their family @hergiantlove.
Olivia White and Nick—who recently got married!—live in Ann Arbor, Michigan, with their giant white floof of a dog, Leo. They’re thankful for Leo’s contagious smile and silly personality.
"Dear Leo: I hope you know just how special you are to us. Your smile is contagious and your big, silly personality makes us laugh every day! Thank you for bringing so much joy into our lives and to everyone you encounter. I cherish all of our memories together and can’t wait for all the adventures to come. I love you so much buddy! Or as you would say, Aaarroooo."
See more of Leo and his family at @livlovesleo.
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