Friday, November 14, 2008


I am at an awful point with this list of virtues and sins. The ones remaining look HUGE. Like something for a senior thesis paper, not a blog entry I can sit down and pull out of my ass after supper is over but before I go to bed. (Which is generally how these things work.) Sometimes I write between bites of Ben & Jerry's. Those are happy posts.

So today I was working on the smallest bathroom shower stall this side of a motor home and thinking about all of the pictures I'd like to post and how I can talk about how I nearly burned some very important bits when the molten solder dripped and splattered all over my lap and how this is going to be a really kick-ass shower stall so long as the person using it is in the sixth grade or else is anorexic. So anyway, I was thinking all of this today at work, then I got home and took my shower. I put on my flannel PJs, made supper and checked my e-mail. And then I held Quinn for a little while. She's a very small dog. Really, she's about the smallest pet I have ever had, except maybe my gerbil when I was a kid. But she's about the same color as the gerbil.

Quinn is a Miniature Pincher. She weighs between 8 and 9.5 pounds, depending on her opinion of the kibble dujour and how much chasing of the cat she has been doing. I can hold her with one hand tucked under her bottom. She leans against my chest and allows herself to droop down so her front paws and chin rest in the crook of my elbow.

So she was doing this droop and rest thing tonight while I was holding her, so I decided to droop and rest myself to see how I liked it. Now I know why she does it. I sat down on the couch, appropriately drooped and slouched so that I was nearly horizontal, with my head resting against the back of the couch, my butt nearly at the edge of the seat cushion, and a little dog curled contentedly on my chest/lap.

She was warm, I noted with some degree of pleasure. Warm and snoozy. I smiled. Quinn must have had a happy thought just then, too, because she took a deep breath and then made a big sigh and some very contented Wookie-sounding grunty noises that drifted off until I was sure she must have been out of air. She was, and would inhale again, but at a more normal pace for a sleeping dog.

She periodically made these kinds of declarations for the next half hour. She would lift her head, sniff my nose to see if it had suddenly become a cheeseburger while she was asleep and might now be good to eat, look around, take another deep breath and do the sigh/grunty/happy Wookie noises again.

Love is a strange thing. We humans love each other in this world, sometimes with fiery passion, sometimes with the deep warmth of many decades spent together. We talk about love all the time, and vast amounts of money are spent each year in search of love - over the internet, on the telephone, and through the buying and selling of bazillions of consumer products.

But nothing compares to the love of a puppy. Now technically, Quinn is not still a puppy. She will be two in March, so she's full grown, she's already had a litter of pups back when she was in the puppy mill, she's been fixed and she's seen plenty in this world to qualify her as an adult. But when she curls up on my chest and I can feel her breath on my face and sometimes I can even feel the beat of her heart, it is the truest, most pure kind of love I have ever known. Contentment, secure, and loved, she is happy to snooze on my body for as long as my back will allow the pose (in this case about a half hour). On a Sunday afternoon watching football, she can spend the better part of three consecutive games curled up on either L or me, snoozing contentedly.

Minpins are social dogs who are happiest when they are close by (on top of) their people. Some of what she exhibits I know is related to her breeding. But you know what? I don't care. When she curls up on me and tucks her nose in under my chin and gives a big sigh, the world can go jump off a cliff for all I care. My and my dog, we're not moving.

I do not know if I have ever loved someone the way Quinn seems to love us. Perhaps when I was a child. I loved my family members because the loved me and kept me safe and provided for me and played with me. I suppose Quinn loves us like that.

I can only imagine what parents feel when a baby falls asleep on them. I do not think I could bear such a thing. I would explode. I can hardly handle the puppy. I have heard reports from grandparents that the next generation is even better to hold. That might have something to do with the decreased amount of work related to said child with the advanced generational status, but never mind.

There is so much wrapped up in this kind of love - love and caring and protecting and needing and missing when we're gone and glad to see us home and I want to be with you all the time, and I want to be tucked inside your jacket so I can poke my front half all the way down the sleeve. It's an odd thing, puppy love, but I'll take it. It has a gentleness and an enthusiasm like no other. L and I love each other, and we are often gentle and enthusiastic, and we are often silly and we often snuggle and cuddle. We're both too big for crawling on laps and tucking into jacket sleeves, but there are times when we have both expressed the desire to be that close to one another. We are deeply in love, and it is wonderful. Quinn is another matter entirely. I think she might be very much like having a child around. When she wakes up and bounces around the bed, it can only be described as the Saturday morning experience of our friends with children. There is a lot of bouncing and giggling and demands for breakfast and can we go out and play. The joy is enormous.

I don't know how to describe love except to say that it makes my heart feel full. I am no expert on love or relationships or anything else. But when Quinn tucks her nose under my chin and sighs, I know what love is about.


laughingatchaos said...

So many flavors of love. I know my boys love me, but they show it in a different way than they did as babies. I know Rosie loves me...mainly because she practically wags her butt off when she sees me. And I know my husband loves me. They all love me differently, but I know the love is there.
And I love them all fiercely.

Queenie said...

How appropriate that you would write of puppy love this week: I almost lost my little Emma on Wednesday and Thursday morning my sisters made the difficult decision to put my mother's dog, Kirby, a small grey Schnauzer, to rest. Kirby had been suffering from Lyme Disease and was in a permanent state of mourning since my mother died in June. In the past five months, she has never left the doorway - sitting sentinel, waiting for my mother to return. Her love was inspiring and now - I choose to believe - Kirby is sitting in Mom's lap, giving her smelly dog kisses and making those Quinn sighs of contentment.

Joy T. said...

So true. All of it. The love of a pup, the love of a child and I look forward to the love of grandchildren. Which I'm hoping you are right because raising three children was glorious so I can only imagine what it's going to be like with grandchildren.

But the love of my pup Mushu?? Oh my. Where ever I am, there he is with me. He rarely leaves my side. With children graduating, growing up and moving out I'm extremely grateful I have this little pup by my side. Great post!

MRMacrum said...

Many people consider Love to be a two way street. But I wonder. Sometimes it seems that recognizing the love of another is half the battle. Accepting it is the other half. By accepting it you are tying into the agreement.

Robin said...

That feeling? The one where the small child falls asleep on you? It really does make your heart explode into a million little pieces, constantly rearranged and never quite the same again.