Friday, April 18, 2014

How Do I Love Thee?

It's so easy for us humans with our muscular tongues and fancy-pants lips to rattle off the sentiment before hanging up the phone: "Love you." Boom! Just like that. Message sent and received.

Dogs, however, have a much tougher go of it. Even the few canines on YouTube who have learned to say "Aaah-Waa-Rooo" (which, if you squint your ears, can sound believable) are working pretty hard to crank it out. And chances are, at the moment they make those noises, they're not actually thinking that they love you. They're thinking, "I wonder if this will earn me another cookie."

The sad truth is that saying those three little words is one big impossibility for a dog--which feels like some kind of cosmic mistake for a creature who is basically a giant Valentine heart in a velvet suit. I mean, who am I to criticize the Universe? But c'mon... the brave among us will admit that horses' legs are way too skinny, sleeping is a waste of time, and dogs should be able to communicate their sweet-tempered view of the world--and of us--a lot more easily.

Our pups have to work like dogs (sorry) to show their love instead of speak it, and then hope we notice the gesture.

How do they love us? Let me count the ways:

  • With soulful looks that enter your brain and ooze warm syrup through your body
  • By coming to your side when he knows you're in pain
  • By whining to be closer when she's somewhere she can't touch you
  • By nuzzling you with his nose and forehead, eyes closed
  • By feeling so awful when you scold her
  • With the full-body lean--the best hug he can give you without arms
  • By using her tongue to soothe you, caress you, connect with you
  • By rolling onto his back, trusting you with his softest, most vulnerable parts
  • By doing the Giddy Dance at the door because you've come home to her
  • With that cute little thank you groan when you rub his ear
  • By pushing herself up the stairs to be with you, even when her old joints are aching
  • By falling asleep with her chin on your feet
Oh, we are lucky, lucky creatures to be chosen by Dog.

Feeling the love this morning of my dear Gracie who made it up the stairs and snoozes lightly behind me as I write... Today I think I'll jot down a few new ways I could show my love for a particular creature in my life--human or not.

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