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Tuesday, November 3, 2009

"Doggie Hugs"

MAN I had a difficult time waking up this morning! Well, at least the second time I tried to wake up!

Our youngest son is on the high school swim team, and this year their team elected to train each morning before school... they're in the water between 6:00 and 6:15 a.m., which means we have to leave the house to pick up the other two team-mates we carpool with no later than 5:15 a.m. Even though we're only required to drive two days per week and my husband and I take turns, getting up and moving at this hour has been quite an experience for me.

I was definitely ready to go to bed last night after a long day of shopping, running household errands, looking at the budget, computer work, attending the swim team's booster club meeting, etc., etc., so I didn't think I'd have any trouble getting to sleep! However, several times since the swim season began I've found myself waking up almost every hour (after about one in the morning) to see what time it is, and last night I experienced this again. I don't know if I'm worried that the alarm won't go off, or if I'm just having some issues with sleep patterns and the "menopause thing." (which might very well be the case!)

On the mornings it's my turn to drive, I've developed a little routine - if I'm just not tired enough to return to bed after dropping the kids off, (at that time it's still only about 5:45 a.m.!) I'll curl up on the couch in the living room until I have to get up the "second" time. What's cool about this is I'm not alone....I grab my favorite afghan and my favorite pooch - Lizzie - who's always ready to jump up onto the couch and curl up with me (especially since we don't allow her on the bed!)

Living in this den of testosterone (where even three of the four dogs are males), Lizzie is my "token" girl. I picked her out at one of those adoption days at a local pet store...we literally locked eyes across the store. I knew immediately she was mine - and she still is, "mom's dog." While she's developed the habit of following dad and the boys around, it's me she's always with if I'm home. She loves to be with me when we're outside gardening or doing any yard work, and also sits patiently with me while I'm even on the treadmill.

Whenever I'm having a bad day, feeling sick, or even just tired, I know I can always count on her to cuddle with me. Dogs are great about that....they can't tell you how much they feel for you, they know they can't take your pain or hurt away, but they're always willing to just be there to let you pet, hug, and hold. We humans are very tactile creatures - we need to touch and be touched. I like to think that's one reason man domesticated these amazing animals - not just to be companions, but to also hold when we're alone.

To me, there's (almost) nothing better than owning a dog who loves to be cuddled and hugged. We're very fortunate in this family, in that we have four such dogs - all of which were rescued from various adoption agencies. Each of the boys has "his" little buddy, and it's truly heartwarming to see how the personalities of each of those dogs fits "their" boy!

So this morning after returning from the carpool, I laid on the couch...but didn't have Lizzie with me...she was still up in her little bed in our bedroom, fast asleep (along with dad!) I didn't want to disturb them that early, so I waited for my husband to wake up and let her out. Sure enough, as soon as he cracked the bedroom door, she was down the stairs looking for me. She came to the edge of the couch like she always does and pushed her little nose near my arm - she always waits till I give her "permission" to jump up next to me.

We snuggled down together under the blanket - Lizzie curled under my arm, the sun still not risen - and went back to sleep. It's a special feeling when you're warm, cozy, and holding something (or someone!) Whether it's a little fuzzy dog, a purring kitty, or even a BIG (yet loving softy) of a dog, those unspoken emotions of love, understanding and devotion are impossible to ignore.

I woke up still not fully-rested this morning, but felt at peace. I can always count on her to be there for me, even when she's done a "boo-boo," and I've been cross with her! Isn't that what unconditional love is all about? We continue to love each other, even though we realize and recognize the imperfections in each other. My husband and I have said this for years - mankind continues to learn a lot from dogs and their "simple" canine faith and devotion. Our furry little family proves it to us every day.

Maybe you don't own a dog or kitty, but I'm sure that you can relate to this feeling of peace and companionship. Whether it's your favorite blanket, fuzzy robe, stuffed animal, or pillow (even your favorite human!), next time you grab it, snuggle down and relish the peace.
Sweet dreams.....
Pay it forward - spread a smile!

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