Look at this face:
Who wouldn’t want to smooch this face and snuggle this puppy endlessly, am I right? Well, I know I do. I want to, that is. Whether or not I get to is debatable.
You see, sadly, Moony DOESN’T LIKE TO SNUGGLE. *Insert a picture of my weeping face here.*
Moony was born on my parent’s farm and I’ve known him since he was 3 days old. I spent many (many) hours with 7 squirmy little potato puppies, snuggling and playing with them all as they grew. I got to know each of them; I learned their personalities and quirks.
I had the literal pick of the litter, it was completely up to me. I loved them all, but there was something special about my connection with Moony, then dubbed Waylon, and he was my early pick.
I loved snuggling with him so much. I mean look at that face!
Moony came home at 8 weeks, and we continued to develop our relationship, but as he got older, he became more and more independent. He prefers to nap in the corner down the hall, he sleeps on the floor under by bedroom window (instead of on the bed where I want him), if I try too hard to smother him with hugs and kisses, he gets up and walks away.
I have a friend who has one of Moony’s litter mates and she posts about how much he loves to get up in her lap and snuggle. What? Why not me!? I can’t help but feel a pang of jealousy!
Don’t misunderstand, I truly love my pup. I really do. He brings me so much joy every day. And surprisingly, he has been the greatest lesson I could have received right before I embark on this Foster Parenting journey. Let me explain…
While it is my first instinct and strongest desire to smother Moony with hugs and kisses and lay all over him and squeeze him till it hurts, that’s not how Moony wants/needs to be loved. (Not that I don’t still try from time to time…lol)
Moony loves to go for walks, and run around in the back yard. He likes to hike, looking back at me frequently to make sure I’m keeping up. He loves to play in the water and bring me toys for him to chase. He loves tuna fish and likes to lay at the other end of the couch while I watch TV. He stares at me during obedience class with focus and determination I didn’t think he’d be capable of. He hates being in the car but likes to put his head on my shoulder while I’m driving.
He most definitely wants affection, but mostly, he wants it on his terms. He’ll approach while I’m watching TV and sit in front of me, looking up like, now’s your chance lady.
He’ll come up and bow his head down in my lap, asking for me to scratch his ears and shower him with just a few moments of attention. Then when he’s had enough, he’ll go lay down where he’s comfortable.
What I wanted was a big fluffy snuggle monster. What I got was a puppy who loves me, loves spending time with me and truly wants affection, BUT on his own specific terms. I’ve had to learn to adjust my expectations and my own selfish desires to respect the needs/desires of this big floofy doof. Despite what I saw at first as a major detriment to our relationship, we have a strong bond that I know will only continue to grow throughout the years.
I learned to let go of my expectations and love the puppy I got, not the puppy I thought I wanted.
Some of you may think I’m being a little silly (and maybe I am), by reading so much into this relationship with a dog. But, I truly think that dogs are special gifts from God, I think that our relationships with them are important, and can teach us a great deal about ourselves.
I’d love to hear your thoughts.