I have two Miniature Schnauzers. I got Zoe when she was 4-1/2 months old and she is now 6. I got Hannah when she was 11 weeks old and she is now 11 months. I love them with all of my heart. They bring me great joy and give me a reason to get up each day.They follow me around the house everywhere I go. My own private parade. They look up at me with big brown eyes that are filled with love and adoration. They sleep with me, snuggled as near to me as possible or they lay across my stomach, sighing contentedly. I hold them close, loving the fact that they are secure with me. I take great pleasure in taking care of them, protecting them, feeding them the best food I can find, loving them, playing with them, holding them deep in my heart. If they whine in their sleep, I snuggle them closer, whisper love in their ear and chase their bad dreams away. I pet them and tell them I love them. I take them outside in my fenced back yard to run in the sunshine, to pounce, play, sniff, explore. I watch over them to make sure they don’t get into anything that will hurt them and to make certain no predatory animals come near. I romp with them. I throw their toys and tell them they are good girls when they catch them…and even when they don’t. Because I love them even when they drive me a little bit crazy. Wanting to go out. Wanting back in. Wanting to go out again. And again. And again. They want to please me. If they make a mistake, they look up at me with big eyes and gulp. I teach them gently because they are gentle creatures. I love them lavishly because they are sweet and innocent and wonderful. I want to keep them safe and protect them. I want them to know joy. When I have to leave them, they are sad. I am sad too. When I come back, they are overjoyed! They yip and bounce and dance around me. They can’t contain their excitement. They love me. I love them. Their joy at my presence makes me laugh out loud. If I had a tail, I would wag it. That is how happy they make me feel.
I hold them tenderly. I put lots of love on their soft, sweet bellies. I rub their little ears, stroke their backs, necks, chests. I kiss their little heads. They kiss me too…velvet soft tongues lapping my hand or nose. I want them to know my hands as instruments of love. I want them to feel reassured by my touch and never fear what my hands might do to them. I want them to know they can trust me to always, always have their best interest at heart. If they are sick, I am sick with worry. I take them to the vet, even if there is no money. I will find a way to pay. I will do whatever I have to do to take care of them and help them to get better. I cannot bear the thought of something bad happening to them. I cannot even think about the time when I will lose them. They are my heart. I cherish my moments with them. I hope they live for a very, very long time. I give thanks for having them today. I am grateful their little souls have found their way to me and have been entrusted to my care. I don’t want to live without them. I need them as much as they need someone to look after them. I think it is a miracle that I am the one who gets to look after them…because they are little fur wrapped miracles in my eyes. My world is so much better because of them. Though they are “just dogs,” I would give my life for them. I think it is interesting. That’s a good word for it, I suppose. Interesting that I love these two little creatures so intensely. That I would do anything and everything in my power to take care of them and protect them. Interesting that I love my two sweet little dogs a million times more than my parents ever loved me. My parents, who hit me. My parents who slapped me. My father, who sexually abused me. My parents, who used words to cut me into a zillion pieces; who told me again and again what a disappointment I was, how I failed them, how I never lived up to expectations. My parents, who denied me medical care. My parents, who belittled me and ignored my needs. My parents treated me like a stray mutt they hated. They kicked me. Rejected me. Beat me. While I hold my dogs as they sleep, always touching them to let them know I’m here, watching over them, making sure they are safe. While I talk to them and tell them how special they are. While I softly stroke them and reassure them of my love. I do for them the things my parents never did for me. I do it naturally. It comes easily. I don’t often ponder the difference…the difference between how I love and cherish my dogs and how my parents so obviously didn’t love nor cherish me. But occasionally I wonder. As I’m holding them gently. Occasionally I can’t help but wonder why they weren’t able to hold me without hurting. Without taking. Why they never found me to be of value, except to be used and abused. I stroke my two sweet girls and am thankful for the happiness they bring to my life. I am careful to always hold them with gratefulness and to wrap them in my love. Yes, I do for them what my parents never did for me. Sometimes that hurts. But sometimes, I find I am simply thankful that I learned how to love even though I was never loved myself. Sometimes that seems like the biggest miracle of all.