“Nobody will ever love you as much as your dog does,” writes Jean Craighead George in her book, How to Talk to Your Dog. I have been thinking about that line since I interviewed her several years ago. Since it is February and almost Valentine’s Day, what better time to explore the way my canine friends and I express our love. Several years ago I asked my friends and here is what they told me at the time.
I’m always happy when my owner comes home. I wag my tail, run to her and then scurry to see what she has brought into the house. My friend Bear, a big Akita/Shepherd blend, howls to welcome his owners Dan and Sheila when they walk through front door. Coco and Jules, two mixed breed rescue dogs, jump on their owners Dave and Celine giving them lots of licks. “We follow them around the house because we want to be near them,” says Coco who also loves to cuddle with the family cats.
Another way I show my love to my owner is to curl up on her bed. I roll over so she can rub my belly. Coco and Jules love to nestle in bed with their owners too. “My favorite morning moment is to jump in the bed and snuggle,” says Coco. “And Jules loves to kiss his daddy’s shiny bald head when he does his sit ups!”
The sofa is another place to show affection. I climb up with my owner, resting on her chest while she watches television or reads a book. I can feel her heart beating and I am sure she can feel mine. My friend Belle, a Chocolate Lab, nudges her owner Jen when she wants to lie down next to her. And on a cold winter night, Bruno, a Boxer, puts his paws up on his owner Carmine, hugging him till Bruno falls asleep in his arms.
Grooming is not my favorite activity, but it’s a special time for Alfie, an Old English Sheepdog. He loves to be brushed by his owner Bill. “I just melt,” says Alfie. It’s a bonding experience for both.
I never know who I will see when I take walks. When I see 9 year old Natalia and her friends who lives in my neighborhood, I always wiggle and wag my tail with happiness. I give them my kind of hug, nuzzling on their feet. One day I saw Riley, a year old American Staffordshire Terrier. We were sniffing each other “hello,” when all of a sudden the girls came running towards me. I was excited to see them, but Riley, who did not know them, barked. I had never heard him bark before so I knew he was protecting me–giving puppy love a new meaning!
When I’m feeling affectionate, I push my head under my owner’s hand, begging to be petted. She calls me a love bug and says, “Maggie, you’re my girl.” I love her no matter what she does, even if she annoys me—which she does from time to time. I protect her, I defend her and I will be a loyal friend, always. This talk of love makes me want to jump up on my owner’s lap, lean my head on her hands, and finish writing this post together.