~ awake in this moment, at home in the world ~

Puppy Love

January 7, 2010
My friend Martha writes to share the news of her dog's death, and how surprised she is by how deeply she misses the sheer physicality of her beloved's presence. The canine zest, the companionship, the exuberance, the total absorption in the sensory world.

And my thoughts wander to my young boys, so exuberant and eager that I often call them puppies. They romp, they stomp, they howl. They jump, they bump, they growl. Sometimes in their sheer exhilaration they knock each other down. They are vital, present, full, and so very happy bounding through the world.

Suddenly, I am struck by puppy love so strong I myself want to howl. Oh, how beautiful is their joyful physicality! Their energy, their strength, their unbridled enthusiasm!

And finally I find myself falling in love with all those noisy, canine habits I so often brace myself against. The sharp elbows that jab me in tender places. The piercing yowls of delight. The love of balls and sticks and chasing cats.

The ridiculous delight when they hear the slightest shriek of a far-off siren, and the predictability of their hopping to the window and nearly slobbering in anticipation of seeing something shiny, loud and fast.

Their inability to "stay," when I pull out my yoga mat and beg for quiet mercy. The magnetism with which they're pulled to my body when I settle myself onto the ground.

The slobbery kisses. The inappropriate sniffs. The way they hog the bed.

I sigh with Martha as she mourns the loss of her dear dog Lily. I sigh again as I consider how quickly the sweetness of a life can pass, how brilliantly and how briefly each of us passes through the world. I recommit to celebrating even the loud and bumpy moments of the romp.

And then I whistle, pat the comforter, and call for my pups to jump on up for one last snuggle before bed.