I recently lost one of my two beloved American Eskimos to an unexpected and aggressive cancer. Losing her reminded me of things left undone, so I decided to honor her memory by re-starting this blog, and posting a little something that reminds me of her.
For most of us, the phrase “Puppy Love” brings to mind young teens, flushed with the feelings that accompany a new-found infatuation, or budding romance. The starry-eyed gazing, the giggles, the boasting, the hand-holding; all of these scenes invariably draw wistful sighs from adults, and the phrase: “Ah, puppy love!”
But did you ever wonder where the phrase came from? Throughout the years, I’ve always assumed the name “puppy love” was drawn from the example of simple adoration found in dogs for their owners. And so it was, but the REAL puppy love is so much more than the phenomenon we name after it. It pales in comparison.
A dog’s trust and love in his human counterpart is unconditional. When was the last time teenagers gave anyone “unconditional” anything? Dogs, well-trained or not, give every ounce of their energy when expressing their adoration. My two dogs would come charging to the door every time I enter. They seemed to say “Mommy’s home! Mommy’s home!” just by their sheer excitement. I wonder just how I became such a wonderful human being in their eyes.
Hunny was my sweet little lady, always sitting quietly at my feet, nudging me when she wanted attention, and smiling an endearing, wide-open grin, with her tongue hanging out. Who says dogs don’t smile? What else do you call that jaw dropping open at the sight of something or someone they love?
Tell is my original “flubber” dog. He comes at you bouncing on both legs, making you think his name should be “Tigger”. When he wants a hug, he stands on two legs, puts a paw in front and a paw in back of you, and turns his head into your stomach. Just like any small child wanting affection.
Once given, a dog’s love is hard to break. Only the most fearsome abuse will drive out the trust, affection, and adoration completely. Dogs forgive over and over. Punished one minute, they will gladly cover your face with wet sloppy “kisses” the very next….once again sporting that uniquely doggy grin.
In many ways, human affections, even the first flush of young love, falls far short of the complete and total giving found in dogs. Fickle hearts are all too common, even after declarations of undying devotion. Perhaps, considering our self-stated nature of being a “higher intelligence”, we feel it is too demeaning to give so selflessly and completely. If so, we should reconsider that opinion.
In an age where complete, selfless giving is so rare that we almost sanctify those who represent it; in a time where divorce is not only common, but often so acrimonious we have parents stealing children for custody battles; in a time where hate is so much a part of our daily life we’ve become immured to it, we may have missed the point.
Perhaps the true point of love is REAL “puppy love”: the complete, selfless, “I love you no matter what” approach to life exhibited by dogs all around the world.