Puppy Love – Literally

Ok, I’m a dog person…a crazy, mushy dog person.  I get the whole cat thing – really I do.  We’ve had cats in our family and when they snuggle and purr and deign to acknowledge you with an arbitrary display of affection, it feels good.  But for me, there’s nothing like a dog.  Teddy sits in my lap while I write, Archie encourages me to forget what I’m writing about by bringing me his ball in a never-ending game of ‘stop-taking-yourself-so-seriously-and-play-with-me’.  Neither of them are going to score off the charts on any canine I.Q. test, but they would be in Mensa if the requirement was affection and loyalty.  Teddy did get a certificate once for being ‘Perfection In Fur’ – but that was because he didn’t really take to the training for which completion certificates were issued.  And it’s true, neither is particularly discerning, and were it not for the barking, a robber would be made to feel welcome.  Ah well…they’re my guys..

And here’s a weird one for you..the first dog we got when we moved here was Bubba The Wonder Dog.  And he was a wonder dog – probably could have been a brain surgeon but for his webbed paws and absence of impeccable hygiene.  A big guy, Bubba would sit on my lap during our regular drives up to NY and NJ – 70 lbs of lap dog.  When I was diagnosed with this funky autoimmune issue, Bubba would just stay with me on the bed, he’d lick my face when I cried and made it very clear that he was going to be my side 24/7.  After each surgery,  Andy would hold Bubba and lift him onto the bed so that he could arrange himself for the duration without bumping up against some unpleasant incision somewhere.  Bubba was diagnosed with an autoimmune disease too and when living became too much for his body, I couldn’t handle my sorrow.  How could we both get hit with the same ball??

This isn’t about sadness though – it’s about connections that we make that are not necessarily human-to-human.  Connections that reflect unconditional love, no pretense or guile, devotion and trust.  The lessons we absorb about ourselves, friendship, nurturing…the laughs we are given by goofy looks,  a relentless paw, wet licks and unexpected havoc when a certain you-know-who has to get his wiggles out.  Puppy breath and Buddha bellies that just beg for a rub…growing into four-legged friends with a capacity for love and devotion that in many ways is unparalleled.  We learn how to love from many teachers and in many ways.  If you have a bad day and feel just bummed with the way the world behaved towards you – just look at your dog’s face when you walk in the door.  He’ll remind you that you’re better than all the rest…