"Mama, Woo-woo? Dada?"
She whispers plaintively, as she has every night we've been away. Mummy, where are Wolfie and Daddy, I miss them. Although her vocabulary is fast expanding, her sentences still have a way to come.
Tucked into my side as we sing the last songs before sleep, she always says the same thing. Woo-woo, Dada.
And I realise that it's true, Wolfie is Giggle-Bear's best friend, the one who's always with her, the one, apart from me she sees the most when the big kids are at school. He's been with her for her first step, her first memories. They play together and squabble over toys. He's gentle with her, rough with our rough boy. They've sat and waited in the front window together for the big kids to come home, watched the big kids playing in the street. When she plays in her sandbox he's beside her, when she naps he sits guard or lies beside her. He's there to lick the ice-cream off her face and steal away the high-status toy.
Wolfie turned two yesterday - celebrated with diced beef, some bones, a big walk and a lion toy Giggle-Bear stole for her own - the stealing goes both ways. And I looked over some old photos and reflected on how lucky we've been. At two Wolfie is mellow and calm and steadily affectionate, and Giggle-Bear's best friend. While in his wild-puppyhood he'd almost pull us over on walks, he now plods amiable - and only pulls a little bit when he spots a random cat. We really lucked out.
While Wolfie was slow to bond - no 'I-Love-Everybody-Labrador' he's loyal and gentle now. A toddler can, and has, picked up his bone without danger, he loves to come swimming with us in the sea and he's never met another dog he hasn't been desperate to be friends with. Having had some less friendly dogs this is a massive relief.
So in celebration of our gorgeous Wolfiekins and in hopes of many more years... girl and dog, growing up together...