Jet black fur glistens in the ultra-bright sunlight, tiny brownish-black eyes squinting nearly shut as he strives to find a sliver of shade. The bulging eyeballs typical for pugs are restrained behind his miniature eyelids. Daintily panting with a hot, wet breath, his outstretched tongue is a soft pink licking machine. His downy double-coat making him a pug with a cuteness complex. We are in love. Sitting in the car, hind legs balancing his tiny frame on Jason’s lap, he is as eager as we are to get on with life.
The past four years as brought us much loss: three babies, two beloved dogs. Each time, we suffered. Each time was taxing, fighting to maintain what life was left in each living being of which the universe put us in charge. Each failure dug a hole deeper, wider, more permanent than ever. Each time we cried. Each time we said “never again.”
We did it again. Meet Rocky.
His endless love, constant snuggles, whimsical desire to play, happy-go-lucky innocent presence bring a smile that only a little one can. We do not have any of our children; we never may have any. We could become those crazy dog people (assuming we are not already) who dotes on our fur baby with every ounce of what we crave to bestow upon our own offspring. There are no losers. We recovered a little love that has eluded us every day since we lost our last pup; Rocky has procured a home that knows no bounds on love.
We exchange suffering for a more profound meaning of what loving someone, or something, means. We learn to never take a moment for granted. We grasp onto every “normal” day we get, with no doctors, no illness, no medications, no worries, no imminent loss. We find the joy in healthy life, and plead for it to not end the way we have come to expect.
With hasty, wet, balmy, stinky dog kisses on the cheek, black fur darts across the floor. Tiny legs jump in impossible bounds, bunny-hopping across the thick carpet. We laugh. Instigated, Rocky grabs his snowman toy, dragging it backwards under the coffee table, spinning circle after circle, the white blur of fake snowballs swing in a dizzying loop. Tears fill the outer corners of our eyes. We are not grieving. We are not wistful. For once, it is merriment coaxing them along.