Daphne really likes her bully sticks – extremely caloric sticks of meat for her to gnaw on when I leave my desk to minimize whining. Because the sticks are so caloric, it’s up to me to take them away from her when I get back. (I suppose I could cut them into pieces, but I have a bit of a fear of her choking on them — they’re quite tough.) The first two times I attempted to take them back from her, she growled at me. I’d never heard her growl at me like that before; as I’ve said before, she’s a momma’s girl, for sure — and so I retreated. But the last thing I want to be as a dog momma is soft, so I said NO, pried her mouth open, and got that slobbery bully stick out.
I chatted Chris: “I took Daph’s bully stick away from her, and now I’m afraid she’s mad at me.”
And he said something that was so miraculous that I just had to write it down. He said, “She might be mad at you for a little bit. But nothing’s going to keep her from loving you infinite.”
Loving you infinite!
Having Daphne for the last few days is like nothing I’ve experienced before. I’ve never had a dog, let alone a puppy. I’ve never had someone who greeted me with exuberant, leaping glee in the mornings, or whined when I slipped into my off-limits bedroom. She scampers after me when I walk around the house. She licks my face, my hands, my feet. I’m madly in love with her, and I think the feeling is mutual.
It is so hard, it is so, so hard, for me to trust that I am loved. Years of therapy and self-examination have led me to the conclusion that for much of my life, I have lived in fear of always being the one who loves more.
But here is Daphne, who loves me. I don’t worry that I love her more. She loves me with a great big animal heart. She’s my sweet girl, my sweet pea, my Daph, my darling. I am loved by so many. I know this intellectually. Still, most of the time, I don’t feel it deep in the marrow of my bones, not like this bare, howling love, this new love.