Valentine’s Day is coming and of course it has me thinking about love. There are some things I’ve learned about love over the years from dating, but I think the sweetest lessons I’ve learned have sadly come from my dog, Bruno. (I’ve learned a lot from Elz too, more on her later…)
Make sure you wag your tail when you see those you love. My dog always greets me with excitement and a wagging tail. All I have to do is mutter his name and the wiggling and dog smiling starts. Bruno fills my heart with joy and shows me how much he loves me with his attentiveness. His enthusiasm makes me smile!
Lesson Learned: Don’t date a person that doesn’t wag and smile when you utter their name. When you are unappreciated for too long; the consequence of that is inevitably a feeling of worthlessness. No matter how tough you think you are or how much you think you love that man or woman, nobody should live without a smiling partner that values your existence. There is a reason Destiny’s Child sang, “Say my name…Say my name…” That’s all it should take to get a tail wagging when you’re with the right person!
Sometimes words aren’t necessary. I communicate with my dog every day without words. My favorite thing to do is wake him up by rubbing his belly and kissing his fuzzy ears. He’ll stretch and look up at me with a grateful look, yawn, gently paw the air, and roll around like a puppy, enjoying every minute of it.
Lesson Learned: The moments you feel the closest to those you love are in the quiet times. The communicating taking place when talking isn’t necessary seems to be when we’ve conveyed the most. If you don’t believe me, just watch a husband piss off his wife. We’ve all witnessed the silent look she’ll shoot him in an instant. (Powerful and silent communication at its best.) Mothers possess the same talent with their children, no words are necessary; all it takes is a glance. Love works silently in the same way. It’s the wink across the kitchen table or that shirt folded for you in the laundry room.
Stick your head out the window when you drive. My dog is excited to be in the car and greet the staff at our local coffee shop drive thru on Sundays! Sometimes, I feel like he is more excited about coffee than I am. Bruno teaches me to live more fully in the moment! He’s taught me to be joyful in the small things and to appreciate the scenery while leaning my head out the window. When we go for walks, he doesn’t care where we go, as long as we are together and outside.
Lesson Learned: Love needs enthusiasm. You have to be excited to hold hands or go for a drive with your partner; don’t take them for granted. The first time I took my dog to the lake and removed his leash, he raced toward the water, sailed into the air and jumped in. When the shock and worry over him hitting a branch or not knowing how to swim wore off, I couldn’t stop laughing. He was fearless and knew that I would be waiting for him at the shore. He embraced his excitement and didn’t care what anybody thought, he knew he loved water and he went for it! In love, we need to go for it! Just run like hell and leap! You’ll learn how to swim and if the water isn’t comfortable, you’ll recognize when it’s time to get out. You can also leap in repeatedly and confidently do a few flips with the right person lovingly waiting for you on the shoreline.
Communicate what you are feeling. When my dog needs to urinate he does a certain bark that I know means, take me out now or your hardwood floors are history! When he is sad, he does another distinctive low bark that I know means,” Sit with me awhile longer; I’ve missed you all day.”
Lesson Learned: When you are in a relationship you also need to say, “Take me outside now!” As in, I need a nice dinner and a date night. Occasionally, we also need to say, “Can you just sit with me awhile longer, I need you today.” But your partner won’t know how you are feeling if you don’t communicate. What the hell, try barking, wagging your rump, and howling a little at your partner tonight, it could only lead to a good laugh and a fun memory. (I’m smiling just imagining it!)
Kiss a lot! Bruno kisses me any chance he gets. When I feed him he is thankful and always licks me after he finishes his last bite. When I wake him in the morning, I am kissed. When I leave in the morning, I know what’s coming, kissed again! My dog knows that I hate licking, this has required him to master a quick one-touch lick. When we are driving down the street sometimes he’s so happy, he leans over the glove box from the backseat just to gently land a quick one on my cheek.
Lesson Learned: Kiss a lot! When was the last time you leaned across the glove box just to land a quick kiss on your partner? Human kisses are amazing they communicate more than words ever could! They also have a strange way of sincerely implying, “Thank You, I’m sorry, and I want you now!”
Sometimes you need to say, “To hell with it” and eat the sponge. Being spontaneous has its benefits, like breaking up the daily monotony and making the people you live with laugh out loud. A few weeks ago, Bruno did something out of the ordinary for him; he snuck out of my bedroom in the middle of the night, went into the bathroom and decided to have a blast chewing up my new bath sponge. He was so proud of himself and guilty all at once, that the only thing I could do was burst out laughing! He really thought he was going to be in trouble when I woke up, but his wagging tail and the hundreds of tiny bits of sponge covering his face made it impossible to be mad. He followed his instincts and had a blast living in the moment and I learned to let my anger go!
Lesson Learned: When is the last time you made your partner laugh and did something completely out of character? Are you living it up in the moment and shaking up your daily routine for the both of you or are you a boring partner? Are you flipping out over your partner ruining your bath sponge or are you able to laugh, embrace the moment, and accept that weird thing they decided to do today? Sometimes, we need to give a person the freedom they need to express their quirkiness; you might learn something new about the person you love and even like it!
Be Loyal. My dogs are loyal. They won’t leave my side no matter how many times a person may try to entice them with a well-meaning belly rub.
Lesson Learned: Loyalty allows love to endure long term. It’s the most important part of any relationship. People call it faithfulness, but loyalty is what carries you to faithfulness in the end. Loyalty is the guard at the door keeping the call of the wild at bay. Loyalty doesn’t go where it isn’t supposed to; it’s the beautiful presence waiting for you when you return home and the one you want with you on wild adventures. Loyalty cuddles you on a cold winter night when your socks don’t match, your eyeliner is smudged and you really should be wearing a bra.
Happy Valentine’s Day!