Of my three children, Gabriel is an angel. In the middle of the night he comes to me bearing gifts of his favorite toys tucked inside his mouth, and his tail wagging with happiness. Muffin is the most anxious. He cries when we leave him at home. He is the one who falls asleep lying on my chest. Gizmo, the smallest in size of the three, is strong and fearless. Every challenge seems an opportunity for him to excel. He inspires me whenever I have doubt.
My relatives do not understand the love I have for my dogs. Nor do my relatives wake up in the middle of the night to follow me to the bathroom, or lie near my feet when I sit in front of the computer at 2:00 AM. When I am in the most vulnerable state of mind, my dogs show me the kind of love you expect from a person. They have licked tears from my face, and nuzzled me into action, and if something good comes out of my life, it is partly because of them.
On happier days, in warmer months, I watch my children play in the yard. They love to dig into the soft earth beneath the trees, and push their noses into it. Often they roll around in the dankness, until it coats their white fur, and gives me the extra reason to give them a shampoo. Neshaa and I take turns with a towel, blow dryer and brush, making them dry again. Afterwards, the children run around as if bedeviled, and cause such a ruckus, I have to order them to stop. I often see a sheepish look on their faces and those wide grins, and I think I know what love is.