But this story isn't about me, it's about Delaney. It all began 10 years ago...
His mother was a black lab/pointer mix - weighing in about 45 pounds. The local animal shelter where I used to live in Masschusetts found her wanderng the streets, in heat, with WAY too may male dogs chasing after her. Near as we can tell, three of her paramours impregnated her and she wound up giving birth to (OK, she whelped) a dozen little black puppies: 1 female and 11 males.
A 12 year-old volunteer at the shelter (her name was Nicole) conned her mother into not only fostering Daisy during her pregnancy, but adopting the female in the litter. That left me at the top of the list for choosing my male pick of the litter. (My son was dating the daughter of the city's health inspector, so I found out about the puppies before they were born!)
To make a long story short, I first saw Delaney when he was six weeks old and bouncing around in a human child's play pen with his litter mates. I held each one of the 11 little boys and picked him: he was not aggressive (I had an 8 month-old granddaughter to consider) and he wasn't overly timid. He liked me (cuddled right into me when I picked him up and when I put him on the floor and called him, he came running). Besides, he had a big white spot on his chest in the same place that my cat did.
Two weeks later (8 weeks after the day he was born), I had a new best friend.
How does he love me? Here are only a few of the ways:
- He's always happy to see me when I come home - no matter where I've been, how long I've been gone, and even if there's evidence I've been cheating (other dog hairs on my clothing)
- Once the puppy breath disappeared, he's never licked me on the face. We had a little chat, I told him how grown-up dog breath is not quite as enchanting as puppy-breath, and he took it in stride--unlike a human friend would have done.
- I ask him to do something and he's thrilled to comply; whether it's fetching his bone for a little play time or slurping up the piece of onion off the floor. He's always happy to oblige.
- He's sensitive: he keeps this thoughts about my weight and lack of exercise to himself. If I decide I don't feel up to a long walk, he's content with a stroll around the yard or the half-mile jaunt down the driveway and back. Doesn't matter where we go, or how far, so long as it's him and me, he's on-board.
- When I'm sad or unhappy, he just knows. He doesn't tell me to shut up when I go on and on (or worse, repeat myself), he doesn't try to fix my problem for me, and he doesn't tell me what I should do. He simply lays his head on my lap, looks up at me with those beautiful brown eyes, and shows me how much he loves me.
How does YOUR pound-puppy love you? Tell me, and we'll count the ways. But they have to be different from mine or our numbers won't be accurate.