Dogged Devotion

Our dogs don’t all like each other.

The two little ones like each other and the two big ones like each other, but the little ones only tolerate the big ones and everyone tires of Fen, the 90-pound puppy’s, antics. However, they are a dog family, a pack and I am the leader of that pack. When I’m in the house, the dogs are with me. Cooking? Dogs in the kitchen. Working? Dogs in the office. Reading? Dogs in my lap and on the floor beneath my feet. When I walk down the hall, they all run ahead and pause at the top of the stairs to see whether I’ll head down the stairs or continue down the hallway to my office. Once my direction is known, they all dash to take their places at my final destination.

My husband says that he always knows where I am by listening to the dogs (four dogs running through the hall or down the stairs make a bit of noise). Sometimes it’s irritating when I have to step over dogs while cooking or when I have to hold onto the handrail to avoid getting bowled over by the rush of dogs, but I really love being their leader. I love the look of excitement and joy on their faces when I walk in the house. I love their eagerness to get close to me, whether that means being in my lap or snuggled as close as possible to my feet. I love that other human members of our pack are important to them, but I’m the one who is special. Our dogs don’t ask much of me: food, walks and petting, but they give me their devotion. It seems like giving, for them, is its own reward.

Giving is getting, hmmm. Perhaps we can learn from our dogs.

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