The Question Every True Dog Lover Must Answer
Panic set in this week.
During a phone call home while I was out of town.
A last minute trip I’ll tell you about sometime.
For now, this panic was about our “newish” puppy.
Because of the last second nature of this trip,
I left all the animals in care of my husband.
There was a time when this would’ve seemed impossible.
This man who didn’t want any pets.
This man who has come so far.
Early on, he learned to love my old dog, Darla.
May she rest in peace.
A whole new chapter began with this puppy.
How is it that Husband has found himself falling in love with a dog?
His techy, analytical brain needs an explanation,
“She’s just such a sweet, loving dog,” he mused the other day, prompted by nothing.
Yeah, he was just thinking about our dog, because Dear Reader, you know that’s one of the symptoms of dog love.
You think about your dog.
“This is how it works,” he reasoned the other day. “You get a really nice dog and then you fall in love. Otherwise, you’d never love a dog.”
“Does it really work that way?” I wondered aloud.
This leads me to that ancient philosophical question.
What came first, Dear Reader?
The love or the dog?
Does it take a specific dog for you to open your heart or do you have a huge dog-loving heart and then, in walks the dog?
Back to the phone call.
I had called Husband’s cell but there was no answer.
Within minutes he was calling me back as I stood in a rather loud room.
“Sorry I didn’t pick up,” he apologized. “I was struggling with your dog.”
There it was.
The pet parent panic.
I knew I shouldn’t have left him alone with the dog.
Now he’s going to hate her.
“You’re struggling?” I worried, stress coming out in my voice.
Did she shred every roll of toilet paper?
Terrorize the 3-legged cat?
Jump on the dining room table and eat someone’s breakfast?
Each of these being entirely reasonable possibilities.
“No, not struggling, snuggling.” Husband snapped me out of my panic, “I was snuggling with my dog.”
Words failed my mouth.
“You didn’t pick up a call from me because you were too busy snuggling with your dog?”
“Yep,” Husband said perfectly pleased with himself.
That will go down as the moment.
The moment my panic eased.
The circle completed.
Which does come first?
The love or the dog?
In Husband’s case, let the record reflect the dog.
Not that it matters from here on out.
Both are here to stay.
Husband doesn’t know yet to be afraid.
For yes, to love a dog is expand your heart beyond what any other love makes possible.
Ultimately sets you up for a heartbreaking goodbye.
A heartbreak whose only cure will be to ask,
“Where is the first dog I can love?”
And if you enjoy this column about loving your dog, you might enjoy my book,