What is it about these innocent, cuddly creatures that stimulates the enzymes and produces heart throbs in us as caregivers? Their total absorption in you as a being? Their dependence on your care for their very existence? Their unconditional love and acceptance of you regardless of your faults? All of these and more. When I meet her nose to nose, we are surprised at how much we think alike.
Gretchen, the Golden Retriever, brings it all back home. Having had three children, I can feel those tender feelings keep bubbling back up through spending quality time with these remarkable beings. Had I not had children, I would still feel the heart-expanding devotion to these lovely personalities. Gretchen, the newest addition to our pack of three, only 12 weeks old as of this writing, knits the pack together and brings the other two older Golden boys to their knees in adoration. They protect her, mollycoddle her, groom her, and take turns putting her in her place as needed.
I will be recording a few adventures we have had and share Gretchen’s forays into our lives. She nudges us into feeling again. With busy lives, we forget to stop and breathe. She forces us to focus on her life and ours, so close to the ground, so close to what crawls and squeaks and burrows beneath the surface. She demands that we pay attention to the world around us. Yesterday, she brought us a present–a nice poison oak branch. I itch to tell you more. Last week, we discovered she enjoys eating foxtails from her “brother’s” back legs to help groom him. This is not a good thing, and we’re breaking her of it. But I can understand her compassion.
When I put my head down and rub against her cheek and floppy ears, like her mama would, pretending to wash her, but keeping my tongue inside my mouth, thank you very much, she responds in little cooey grunts and stretches her neck for more. You can feel the love electric bound across the skin and through us, communicating in ways that humans should practice. Innocent touch. Softness beyond conscious comprehension. Psychologically, soothing and stimulating. But there’s more to it than that. It’s a very primal kind of communication. Thank goodness we don’t speak. It would break the moment.
More adventures with Gretchen to come! Stay tuned!
August 11, 2012 ~ Remember the fox tail grooming habit I told you about earlier? A visit to the vet for foxtail removal from Gretchen’s ear and from her little nose cavity resulted. How did we detect it? She couldn’t stop sneezing. She had to be sedated, poor baby.
We can’t vacuum the universe, but it helped to hose down the entire area and cement patio as well as the decks. Next year, we are going to eliminate them from a 100-ft radius, at least, planting a sturdy grass so that the scourge can be eliminated. It’s a California native plant, the foxtail is…I’m not proud to claim it. The other scourge is the burr.
Gretchen has grown by leaps and bounds to about 30 pounds. She lopes with her ears flapping, and has learned how to sit for treats. She steals our shoes from the closet and any socks that might be available. When you ask her for it, she gives it back, unlike the boys who look at you as if you’re crazy when you ask for their toy back. What, me? Give up my favorite object covered in dog slime?