We are staying in VA with two of our sons, and that means we're also staying with their better halves as well. They're not married yet, so when I say "better halves," I'm talking about their doggies.
First we have Allie, a Plott Hound/Retriever mix that my #3 son adopted from his aunt several years ago. Allie is a brindle-coated beauty, a wise old lady who would be about 84 in people years but doesn't act a day over 42. She's still got a lot of energy and spunk in her, although her face has gotten very white and her eyes are beginning to show signs of developing cataracts.
Allie is the greatest dog. In a nutshell, she is made up of PURE LOVE. To quote Josh Billings, "A dog is the only thing on earth that loves you even more than you love yourself." Yep, that's Allie. Another great--and oh-so-true--quote from an anonymous source is "May you be half the man your dog thinks you are." Allie again. That old girl makes me feel like the most important person in the world--but I really shouldn't let it go to my head, because she treats most humans exactly the same way she treats me. A great watchdog she is not, since she absolutely adores everyone on sight. As my son said, if a burglar came into the house, she would probably love him, too, and try to lick his face; and if she could talk she'd whimper,"Rub my belly and you can take anything in the house."
Allie likes to lick people. A lot. On the face. On the legs. Pretty much anywhere tasty human skin is exposed. Sometimes, she even licks my jeans. While I can't quite bring myself to let her give me dog kisses on the mouth (and the jeans licking is a bit much), I agree with the anonymous on-line sage who said, "There is no psychiatrist in the world like a puppy licking your face."
Are you beginning to wonder if I Googled "Quotes about dogs" this morning? You're right, I did. That's where I found this little nugget by James Thurber: "Dogs are obsessed with being happy." We humans could take a page out of their playbook, couldn't we? I'd like to be as happy and see things as simply as Allie does.
Son #4 rescued his German Shepherd/Lab mix Finnegan ("Finny" for short) from the animal shelter about a year and a half ago. Finny was about six months old when my son got him. He'd been mistreated and/or neglected in his first home, so he was jumpy and rather wild, and he had serious separation anxiety issues. He became instantly and furiously attached to his new master. When my son leaves the house, he whines in the most pathetic way and stares at the door until he returns. (Unless, of course, you think to distract him with treats; the trauma of separation lessens a little bit when food is involved.) Finny's love for my son is deep--painfully deep. This is Finny last night, staring at the door and anxiously awaiting the return of his master, who'd left briefly to walk his girlfriend home.
Finny and Allie have regulation dog beds on the floor next to son #4's queen-sized bed, but they always vacate them and sleep in his bed with him. How he deals with the dog hair (not to mention the dog smell!) is beyond me. But he says it doesn't bother him a bit. Finny, who truly thinks he's a human, likes to get right under the covers and snuggle, and my son says I should come and see it because he's sure I'd think it was the cutest thing in the world. (I'm sure he's right, so note to self: I must remember to go take a peek at them tonight before I turn in.)
Dogs love their people so much that they can't get enough of them. "When dogs leap onto your bed, it's because they adore you. When cats leap onto your bed, it's because they adore your bed." (~Alisha Everett)
Okay, I was not planning to have this devolve into a post about how much better dogs are than cats...but get ready, because that's what's happening. I can totally relate to James Thurber, who said, "I am not a cat man, but a dog man, and all felines can tell this at a glance--a sharp, vindictive glance." Cats just don't love you the way dogs do, and don't try to convince me that they do.
Finny is a very smart dog, and he has a way of tilting his head when you talk to him so that it looks like he's seriously trying to understand what you're saying. It makes him pretty much irresistible. "A dog's head tilt," you know, "is Kryptonite to humans. We're powerless when exposed to it." That Anonymous really knows what he's talking about, doesn't he? That's a dog's secret superpower: the head tilt thing.