The relationship of a boy and his dog is special, and is one that has gotten me through so many of the difficulties that life can throw at you. Unfortunately, last October found me saying goodbye to my dog Riley, my best friend. 

It has taken me a long time to be able to talk about it, but the past five months have helped comfort me from the absence in my life. Where I used to look at his dog bed, or where he laid in my office and feel sadness, there is now gratitude for the time he was there.

Where many probably look at the work I do and think that this life is lived as a Rockstar, this is not true. The reality is that I am a shy, autistic guy that crawls in his own skin in large groups. I am fiercely private, which made my companionship with Riley so strong. Whether I had just shot a huge campaign, or lost a bid, the unconditional love from him was always the same. When the recession hit, and the world was falling down all around us, he and I would sit in our backyard and everything was okay.

One of the brightest parts of the pandemic was the opportunity to spend every day at our house up north with the family. We knew that time for him was finite, as he was diagnosed with lymphoma early into the lockdown. While time was only able to be speculated upon, it was thought that 3-6 months would be likely. We decided to live everyday with him like the last. Playing in the yard, feeding him meals from our plates and letting him sleep in the bed whenever he wanted. He never went a day without smiling, and lived for 15 months more.

Riley left this world with great dignity and on a high note which he deserved. For this I will always be grateful, and will always miss him.