Snuggling puppies is my favorite. Don’t get me wrong, a good baby nuzzle is 12 out of 10, but having a well-trained canine snuggle companion is plum hard to beat.
My first puppy lover was Sassy, a bubbly compassionate cuter-than-cute 12 pound Westie.
Since I was 8, I tucked her under my arm, and we snuggled each other to sleep every night for more than a decade until I went off to college. It’s probably not surprising that she took it on as her job to love us all, all the time. If you had a rough break on a pop quiz, lost the lead in the school play, or had a spat with a friend, Sassy was your go-to-girl for cheering up.
After graduation, as an art history major, I spent most of my gift money on Mona Lisa, a brand new five-week-old Miniature Schnauzer. Practically from birth, I clung to Mona, and we were thick as thieves. We went everywhere together and my idea of a good time quickly shifted to hanging out on the couch watching a movie and cuddling with my girl over a big bowl of popcorn.
When Mona was about four months old, Hurricane Katrina hit. We lived in Jackson, Miss., at the time and while that area was gravely affected, I’m originally from New Orleans and my family was immediately dispersed. Almost instantly, I went from having my familial epicenter being a quick three-hour drive away to us being 500 miles apart. This was a new level of hard for me, and without my Mona, I would have been completely alone. She kept me focused and happy on the right now - her!
When I got married Mona and I merged our lives with my husband and his black lab, Dixie Belle. Being the fierce terrier that she is, Mona made it known (think barking … LOTS of barking) that she wouldn’t be sharing me with anyone else. However, Dixie is the sweetest dog I’ve ever met, and it didn’t take long before this 90-pound lab won over 16-pound Mona Lisa, and I was the one having to share her! In fact, my husband and I probably have a few dozen pictures of our “odd couple” cozied up on the bed, the couch, or in the car. But no matter what, that little Schnauzer always came back to her Mama.
Losing Mona is the hardest thing I’ve ever gone through, and if you’re a fellow pet-fanatic, you know what I mean. It’s been almost a year and a half, and I still feel her loss. However, God is good, and he brought me Millie. Millie is a rescue pup, who we think is roughly half Schnauzer/half pit. She’s an interesting combination of looks and personality, and we adore her.
I knew she was “the one” the very first time I saw her, but Millie came with a major flaw … she didn’t know how to snuggle. When you adopt a rescue dog, you’re getting a dog whose life very literally needed to be saved. No one knows Millie’s story. She ended up at the pound, and they contacted a rescue group (Schnauzer Rescue of Texas), and then we found her from them.
Sassy and Mona had all of the love and attention a puppy should get for their entire lives, but Millie just didn’t understand love. She liked to be petted, but for months she would run away if anyone tried to get close. Fortunately for us both, I’m persistent, and our year-long snuggle training battle panned out beautifully. Little by little she let me hug her, hug on to her, and then finally (finally) cuddle up.
Often I’ll bring my laptop up and write in bed, and, as I type this article, she is currently sprawled across my left arm batting at my hands to stop typing, and start scratching. There is something about the love of a dog that has a way of making you feel complete and worthy. I will cherish every one of my pups - they are forever in my heart, and I am grateful they took a chance on trusting and loving me.
Jordan Schupbach is a mother of three living in the Houston area. She blogs at www.lattesandliving.com - sharing the good, the bad and the frenzied.