Harvey turned 9 months old yesterday. Hard to believe we’ve only had him for 6 months. I can’t imagine our home without him; ditto, for Rita. I was feeling particularly clingy with the pups yesterday and found myself following them around (when they weren’t piled on me) and just watching them as they played or fought or wandered about the house. It still fascinates me that we have two dogs and that they’ve both acclimated so well to the house and to us. I do have moments when I’m cleaning the fur off the furniture (a losing battle) and picking up the toys for the umpteenth time or cleaning up a “no no” in the house because we missed the “have to go out” signs once again, when I think we are crazy for having adopted two dogs. Wasn’t life simpler, cleaner, cheaper and freer without these two around? But I think that only for the briefest of moments, because all it takes is the sight of a wagging tail, the feel of a puppy kiss on my hand, the yip of a playful argument or the sound of those little paws running across the floor to fill my heart up with joy once again and I know our life would be emptier without them.
Rita and Harvey are so very different. Harvey is a puppy in every way, bratty and pushy and insistent on getting all the attention he wants, whenever he wants. He is a ball of energy and constantly demands we play or chase him or let him out or take him for a walk and he does not take “no” for an answer without getting back at us in some way. But just when he starts to get on our last gay nerve with his antics, he stops and looks up at us with his giant, deep, penetrating, eyes and juts his little tongue out, cocking his head to one side and gently paws our face or hand and he knows he’s just manipulated us into forgiving and forgetting all of his misbehaviors. He is so damn cute that it hurts to look at him some times, and he knows it. It is hard not to scoop him up and carry him everywhere I go. His precious little face and tiny little paws are dangerously seductive and even the toughest parent would be hard pressed not to melt into a puddle of overwhelming loving goo with one glance or nuzzle.
Rita, on the other hand, is a walking pile of muscle and love. Her ONLY desire is to cuddle up next to one of us and kiss us non-stop. I feel awful, at times, insisting she put the tongue away and settle in next to me, not on me. She prefers to be on my chest or lap, but the truth is, she’s one dense, heavy little lady and it is often uncomfortable sitting with her on me for too long, although I endure it longer than I want to, usually, because I don’t have the heart to guide her off, lest she feel rejected. She may be two years old, but she acts like a newborn puppy sometimes, desperate for every ounce of affection and every second of cuddle time she can get with us. She is, so far, not interested in playing with toys or chasing things. She never instigates play or tussles with Harvey, although she’ll cave into responding to his harassment if he pesters her long enough. She just wants to be snuggled next to one of her dads, staring at as with eyes full of adoration or snoring, buried against our thigh.
Somehow, the two of them have managed to find a balance, for the most part, getting along more often than not these days, but still have their moments of snarling or growling. They are dogs, after all, and have only been living together for just under two months, so there’s still some adjusting to do before all is said and done. Until then, we will let them have their battles and competitions throughout the day; we will continue to clean their messes and fill their food and water bowls; we will do our best to keep them safe and dry and warm and happy. And they will continue repay us a hundred fold with kisses and snuggles. And, each night, when the day has ended and the toys have been put away, when the final trip to the yard for doggie business has been made and the food has been put away for the night, we will once again smile gleefully as our two little canines come scampering into the room, vault up the doggie steps and each claim their spot on the bed, where they curl up and wait for their daddies to slip under the blankets. , once we are settled, they’ll make their last circle, finding just the right nook or cranny beside each of us to finally collapse and drift off to sleep, their gentle breathing and snoring like music to our ears.
It is a sound I hope to hear and enjoy for a very long time to come.