This is a love story of “different kind.”
Smarty and Molly met for the first time yesterday and I have to say, I was a little nervous. Smarty isn’t always a friendly dog and picks and chooses who he will be nice to. When he’s “not nice” other dogs don’t need to be around. We had never met Molly so we were traveling to the unknown.
Her owner and I let the dogs meet outside to see how they did. If they did well my friend and I could continue our visit inside. If they did not, the visit would have to end outside where it started.
They sniffed each other and all went well. No growling, no barking, no aggressive behavior. Nice.
Inside they began a playtime that lasted all day. Smarty likes to play rough. He likes to wrestle, roll around on the ground or floor, play tug o’ war and run hard and fast. The two of them did all of that in my tiny apartment. The running fast part was a little more difficult, but they learned that they could go around in circles—through the living room, in one door of the bathroom and out the other into the bedroom, past the kitchen and eating area and back to the living room. And so they ran.
An interesting behavior change
As the day went on I began noticing some very interesting behavior in Smarty.
He is not one to share—anything. He has his favorites: the hollow bone I fill with peanut butter, the orange rope that in puppy days was a chicken, and the frog that is devoid of its stuffing. He thinks the love-seat is his exclusive place of rest and sometimes barks at me for sitting there.
But for all of that, I’m his favorite object of affection. He guards me and protects me even when I don’t want to be guarded or protected.
Yesterday his world changed. The “earth moved” for Smarty. Molly got his hollow bone and I expected a cacophony of barking and growling unmatched in dog history. Nope. Didn’t happen. He watched Molly as she carried the bone around, chewed on it, and just sat with it. He didn’t react or try to grab it back. Just watched. When she put it down he still didn’t grab it.
That’s when I really started paying attention.
Then Molly went to the toy basket and got the orange rope and ran around the circle with it. “Now there will be trouble,” I thought. Nope. Soon they were playing tug o’ war and I noticed Smarty letting go of it now and then like he wanted to let her have it for a while. Like he wanted her to win.
Then came the BIG test.
I sat down on the love-seat (sometimes I’m not allowed to sit there) and Molly jumped up on it and sat beside me. I waited for the fireworks to start. Nothing happened. Smarty laid down on the floor next to the love seat and just watched. And he certainly wasn’t interested in protecting me.
The two of them played, licked each other, and gave each other big sloppy doggy tongue-kisses.
Smarty even let her have the first bite of chicken without trying to grab it.
I was dumbfounded.
Smarty’s in love.
When they left, Smarty searched every nook and cranny of the apartment. No Molly. He got on the loveseat where she sat and went to sleep. He usually sleeps on my bed but last night he slept where Molly had been.
This morning he looked everywhere. No Molly.
We did the walk around the fountain and there was no bounce in Smarty. He got a little excited when we discovered a turtle making its way across the grass, but the reaction was subdued.
When we got home, after searching the apartment, he got on the loveseat and went to sleep, skipping his favorite pastime—barking at all the neighbors as they walked their dogs past our place.
Again, he is sleeping where Molly sat. This is love of another kind—the doggie kind.
We could learn about love from dogs.
How many of us in a relationship give up our favorite things and give them to our beloved without complaining or letting them know what a sacrifice we think it was? What if, in a people relationship, both were committed to the welfare and happiness of the other? Wouldn’t both come away feeling loved and cared for? What happens to the relationship then? Generally, it only grows closer.
What if we had those times when we focused our attention on our beloved instead of being busy with the remote or texting or just being self-absorbed? What if we trusted him or her enough to let them sit with someone else and be o.k. with it? What if when they were out of our presence, we truly missed them and were excited when they came home and showed it?
Sometimes I think dogs are smarter than humans. Yesterday, I believed it.