A Dog’s Purpose

Every once in a while a dog comes into your life and changes everything.

Daphne ~ 11.18.04 – 03.15.17

Story by Mike
Photos by Mary

It was summer. We made the decision to extend our family. We viewed the photos online. We had to meet her.

We made the drive two hours south. My wife and I never had a family dog…therefore, neither had our kids. It would be the first for all of us. This was the summer of 2009. Were we really going to do this?

Daphne, the beautiful boxer, immediately won our hearts. Life for her and us was about to change.

She was 4 years old when we adopted her. Not a puppy, but every little kid in the neighborhood called her a puppy. In fact, 8 years later, despite the soft, tired eyes and grey whiskers, an entirely new group of little kids could he heard uttering..…”puppy”.

Daphne, her adopted name, which we couldn’t bare change when we adopted her—was small by boxer standards—at around 50-55 pounds most of the time. She was not a purebred and we are not even certain of the mix, but we know one thing for certain—we allowed her into our home and she changed our lives.

She did not always play well with other dogs. She always played well with kids. And, she followed her family everywhere. It was her personality. Whenever one of us relaxed on the couch, watched TV, worked on homework, etc…Daphne would follow, as would her howl….until her bed was moved from one room to another so that she could be next to us. In the beginning it may have been bothersome….how soon it became something that never failed to bring a smile to our faces. Little things with Daphne. Every time.

We do not know the life of Daphne in her early years. We know she was abused. It took a while with her in the beginning. Then, just like that…. she was content. She knew we were going to protect her. We knew she was part of our family. She was there when the kids came home from school. She was there when my wife and I came home from work. She was there to play fetch with, walk with, chase with, howl with, bask in the sunshine with, nap with and chill out on a Friday night and watch a movie with…just be with.

Over the years Daphne endured her ups and downs when it came to her health. We actually thought this day would happen a few summers ago. Her health was weak. And, the average age of a boxer is 9-10 years. She bounced back. Again it happened. She bounced back. And then again….she bounced back. She woke us up every morning.
There was no wake up Wednesday morning. Cuddled in her bed she so loved. So peaceful.

In this sad time, I sit. I write. I remember….so clearly the drive south 8 years ago on I-35. The drive that gave my family memories that will last a lifetime.


When we first met.

Picking up Dad at the airport, waiting for the plane to land.



Valentine’s Day.

Hayward summer vacation.

At the Sullivan cabin.

Christmas card photo.


Waiting to be fed. The drool bubble.

Birthday celebration.

On a walk along the shore of Lake Superior.

Another summer vacation in Hayward.

Watching the kids as they leave for the bus stop.

Halloween – the boxer with the boxer jack o’ lantern.

Family Christmas photo gone awry.


Fetch in the snow.

Summer vacation in Hayward. A family tradition

On the sandy beach at the Sullivan cabin.


Out on the farm, running through the fields.

And another summer vacation in Hayward.

Hartley Park in the fall.


Portrait of a boxer.  By Sophia.

Playing in the freshly fallen snow.

Glorious sunshine on the deck.

At the Sullivan cabin with the whole family.

Back in Hayward on vacation.

Super dog.


Hayward summer vacation.


After the big summer storm.

In the fall leaves.

Thanksgiving in the Twin Cities.

Fetch in the snowy backyard.

In the back seat with Sophia. Heading home after a road trip.


Soaking up the sun on a lazy Sunday morning.

Her final day.  Enjoying the mid-day sunshine when I came home to spend my lunch break with her.

The final foot steps.

You are forever in our hearts.

TEN x 7

Our faithful boxer Daphne is turning 10 today.  Here are 10 things that we love about you Daphne…

10. You enjoy going for walks and get excited anytime you hear the noise made from your collar and leash getting taken out of the drawer.

9. You love to play fetch with tennis balls in the backyard.

8. You love to play fetch in the basement with your squeaky bone.

7. You love to play. Period.

6. You love peanut butter.  As soon as I pull the jar out of the cupboard and start twisting the cap off you come running into the kitchen hoping for a taste.  Despite your very adorable face, your begging doesn’t always work.

5. You are a wonderful guard dog and are very protective.  You bark when someone is outside the house, at the door or when the kids get too wild in the house.

4.  You are always excited to see us when we get home.

3. Your favorite thing to do in the morning is wake up Sophia for school.  You howl, wag your tail and tap her with your paws to get her out of bed.

2. Your favorite thing to do at night is have your bed moved into Sebastian’s room before he goes to sleep.  You get comfy and don’t want to leave.  We think it is because Sebastian has the warmest room in the house.  Sebastian thinks it’s because of him.  He is probably right.

1. We are so glad that we adopted you 5 1/2 years ago.  You made our family complete.

Sweet Daphne

Super Dog

Daphne is nearly 10 years old, but she still knows how to play like a puppy.  She loves playing fetch and tug-o-war.  Sophia wanted to see how far Daphne could jump when leaping off the deck to fetch her ball.  I think we were all impressed with her height and distance.

The Approach
The Jump
Nearly A Decade Old
Portrait Of A Boxer

It’s not often that we see Sebastian in a shirt tie.  He was all dressed up to attend an end-of-the season caddie banquet at the local country club.

Formal Affair

Most of my plants are done for the season including the garden vegetables and flowers. The deer have finished off anything that had remained except for a few blossoms on the hosta plants and one lonely rose.

Hosta Flowers
Last Rose Of Summer
Hen And Chicks
Fungus On Birch

The fall colors are beginning to show up on maple trees throughout the city.  I’m looking forward to capturing some of those changing hues in the weeks ahead.