When the Christopher family lost their beloved family pet unexpectedly, they decided one of the best ways to heal would be to rescue another animal in need. They drove all the way from Florida to Alabama to adopt a tiny puppy named Dakota, and ever since then, he’s been such an important member of their family.
“From a tiny baby, Dakota was an ‘old soul,’” Terri Christopher, Dakota’s mom, told The Dodo. “It’s almost like he knew what we had been through, and really it was he who rescued us! He has always had just a laid-back personality and never even acted like a puppy.”
Dakota has had an incredible, adventurous life. He’s lived all over the place with his family, including Florida, Costa Rica and the Great Smoky Mountains in Tennessee. One of his favorite places has always been the beach, and when he was younger, he used to love to splash around in the waves. He loved it so much that his family used to take him to the beach for his birthday every year for a special celebration.
“We have always celebrated his birthday in big ways,” Christopher said. “Usually a day at the beach with a big smile on his face … As he got older the birthdays have become more profound and are truly appreciated that we are fortunate to have been granted another year.”
Now that Dakota is older, he doesn’t have the energy to run around the beach anymore. His family still wants to make each birthday special, though, to celebrate exactly how much Dakota means to them.
This year, for Dakota’s 14th birthday, his family came up with the perfect way to let the whole world know that it was his birthday and invite them to celebrate along with him. They made a sign that said “Honk for my 14th birthday” and hung it up on the passenger’s side of their car, right under Dakota, who was smiling so big from the front seat. They drove all around so that Dakota could get all the attention he deserved for his very special birthday, and he absolutely loved it.
“Last year at 13 was the first time we did the ‘honk for my birthday’ sign and car ride,” Christopher said. “He got such an amazing reaction and really seemed to enjoy all the attention. With his physical health declining over the [last] year, we were so fortunate to get to year 14, so of course we had to do it again. Another wonderful trip around the sun. We had some serious celebrating to do!”
Dakota is such an important, special member of his family, and for his birthday, they couldn’t help but let the whole world know exactly how much he means to them.
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