Yet another sleepless night of tossing and turning and I did exactly what “they” tell you not to do. You know the whole spiel about how blue light interferes with your sleep and you shouldn’t use your electronics hours before bedtime or during those times when you have difficulty sleeping? I decided to live on the wild side and reached for my phone to begin perusing Facebook. I scrolled past the predictably negative political posts and chuckled at a few cute memes posted by teachers trying to find the humor in returning to school with all the new Covid-19 restrictions in place. As a retired kindergarten teacher myself, I can certainly appreciate their point of view. Seriously, if you don’t laugh about it, you most certainly are going to cry. I belong to several dog lover groups and was drawn in by one post in particular. This offering listed different ways your four-legged furry best friend can show you that it truly loves you. I glanced over at Jellybean, who was sound asleep, stretched out as far as her body would allow with all four paws up in the air. I whispered to myself, “Well, Jellybean, let’s find out. Do you love your mama?”
Apparently if your dog follows you everywhere, including into the bathroom, your dog is telling you that it loves you and wants to always be by your side. Woohoo! I get a star for that one. Jellybean is my constant companion around the house. If I am in the kitchen, she is curled up in the corner just out of the way of my shuffling feet, but close enough to catch any crumbs that may come her way. If I am working at my desk, she is lying under it. If I am doing the laundry, she is stretched out in the hallway several feet away. As an iced tea-aholic, I begin each morning by heading down the stairs to the refrigerator to pour my first glass of tea for the day. Although she doesn’t make a sound, when I close the refrigerator door, there sits Jellybean looking up at me with those big puppy dog eyes. I always laugh and call her my little “Chucky” in reference to the doll that always seemed to appear out of nowhere? I’m giving Jellybean an A+ on this one. She surely fits the bill for me and my shadow.
This post also mentioned that if you are not feeling well, your dog will hover near you and lie quietly, seemingly understanding that now is not the time for rambunctious behavior, rather quiet and calm. Dogs have a natural tendency to want to protect those they love. As descendants of wolves, they are natural pack animals and have that innate sense to protect. I rarely get sick, but I have noticed that Jellybean seems to sense if I am tired or just need some quiet time. She is content to settle in next to me or on the floor by my feet.
Often times, dogs want to cuddle after meals. It is a way to show their appreciation and understanding that literally you are the hand that feeds them. This is not a black and white situation for Jellybean. After her dinner she will not rest until she receives her after dinner treat. There is crying, begging, puppy dog eyes and outright pouting until the dishes have been cleared, leftovers packed away and the dishwasher doing its thing. After that she receives her treat, although I generally have her work a little bit for it. Granted, this is mostly for my own entertainment. Her newest trick is the “shimmy”, which others may call the army crawl. I found, however, that ‘crawl’ and ‘roll’ sound too much alike for her and she was rolling around like a wayward hot dog that fell out of its’ bun. So I changed the command to shimmy. She now successfully shimmies across the living room floor in anticipation of her special treat. Does she cuddle with me after meal time? No, but most definitely after she has had her “dessert”.
If your dog sleeps in bed with you, it is another way to show its love. Again this goes back to the evolution from pack animals. There is safety in numbers. Jellybean gets a big star for this one, although when I first brought her home at three months old, I swore I would not allow her in my bed. Yeah right. That lasted one night. Right before I turn out the light each night, I call Jellybean over to me. We snuggle and she looks right into my eyes as we talk about our day and any upcoming events for the next day. I love how she wags her tail or gives me a kiss when I mention certain people’s names. Aunt Mary, Uncle Dave, Uncle Bob, Grandma and Aunt Michele always get a big response. When I tell her that our little Jaybird will be coming the next day, her tail begins to wag back and forth and she usually digs into the sheets and gives a few snoofs to show her excitement. Although I must say Miss Angie, her groomer, gets the biggest reaction of all when I tell her the next day she is scheduled for a bath and a haircut. She literally jumps up and kisses me all over my face and digs and scratches at the sheets as if she is digging for gold.
If you are a regular reader of my blog, you know that Jellybean has a bit of separation anxiety. I have discovered over the years that if Jellybean is able to watch my car back out of the garage and actually see me leave she does much better. I have even gone so far as to drive my car around the corner and park in a guest spot in our condo community so that I am able to take a productive walk in my quest to meet my daily steps. It is said that if a dog sits by a window and awaits your return that demonstrates love and trust. Score!
Licking your face, or as I like to call it, giving “sloppy kisses” and sharing doggy toys with you is another sign that your best friend really does love you. Once again, it all goes back to the pack. Those “wolfly” ancestors really knew what they were doing by taking care of each other, licking the wounds of injured members of the family and showing love to their offspring by licking and “snoofing” them. Who doesn’t enjoy having their pup drop a beloved toy at your feet as a sign they are yearning for some good old-fashioned playtime. Check and check for Jellybean, as there are sloppy kisses a plenty and frequent games of fetch the stuffed pizza toy.
Did you know that a dog copying your actions is a sign that your pup really adores you? Try it sometime. Look at your dog and give out a big wide yawn. Bets are on that your dog will do the same thing. Sometimes Jellybean and I seem to be having a yawning contest to see who can put out the longest and loudest. This one has me thinking, because I know this happens often with Jellybean, not only yawning, but also sneezing. So, when I sneeze and then Jellybean sneezes and I sneeze again and she sneezes again, that really means that she loves me and is not just suffering from the same whiff of pollen that I just took in? Well alrighty then!
And lastly, if your dog is happy to see you when you arrive home that surely is a sign your dog loves you. I call dibs on this one. I always take a peek at the front window as I drive up the street and pull into the garage. I can easily see Jellybean standing on the guest bed awaiting my arrival, tail wagging full speed. By the time I park the car and enter through the hallway door, Jellybean is racing and skidding up and down the wooden floor, jumping with all four feet off the floor in her attempt to give me kisses, all the while a favorite toy clenched tightly in her mouth. I generally plop on the comfy chair and await her welcome. Let me tell you, for a little dog, she sure can make an entrance. She runs full speed toward me, jumps up, dropping the toy in mid-air and lands right in my lap. I spend the next several minutes on the receiving end of a love session so full of sloppy kisses that my heart is about ready to burst.
Does my puppy love me? Oh yes, just let me count the ways!
Naughty Little Puppy
The Perfect Hiding Place
Beverly Stiffler Smith