VitoI love dogs for so many reasons.

Bad day?
I’ll snuggle up to you and we’ll exhale together.

Good day?
Awesome! Let’s celebrate!

Leaving?
Bummer, man—really? Okay…but please come back soon. Please. Soon.

Coming home?
YES!! My prayers have been answered! You’ve returned! I love life! Let’s play! Did you bring me anything??? 

They ask so little—some basic care and decent treatment—and in return, their love is amazing. It doesn’t get much purer than a dog’s love.

I’ve been blessed to have great dogs throughout my life, and each one of them has had a distinct and wonderful personality. We have so much fun watching the two dogs that we have play and interact—they are a continual source of enjoyment.

Don’t get me wrong—they can drive us crazy, too—especially when someone has the audacity to walk by our house and the dogs bark like two raving banshees on meth. Then I maybe might raise my voice a teensy bit and gently tell them to shush. Just maybe.

But by far the blessings outweigh the challenges.

Our one dog Vito is a shelter dog that I am so grateful made his way into our lives.

 

First bath with his forever family.
First bath with his forever family.

 

I’m very comfortable admitting that there are many sharper crayons in the Crayola box than Vito—but he is our quirky little boy and we love him.

One of V’s little quirks is Punkin. It’s his absolute favorite toy, and the only one that has survived over time. While other toys made it less than a week when he was a puppy, Punkin was loved but left whole.

For whatever reason, Vito treats Punkin like a child would his favorite pacifier or blanket. He actually suckles the thing. He holds onto it with his paws and his tongue nuzzles a spot that is now worn bare.

 

Punkin

 

And when Vito is extra happy, he goes and gets Punkin. When one of us comes home, inevitably Vito will run and get the toy and celebrate with a few suckles. Yea! My people are all home! I love life! I love YOU! How was your day?! Do you want to play? Have I told you lately how happy I am that you’re home?!

Punkin equals joy for Vito. It dependably lifts his spirits and helps him rejoice. To me, it’s representative of one of the great things about dogs—that easy and complete love that they are absolutely ready to give.

 

Vito & Punkin (6)

 

And so I love dogs. I love how they love with their whole hearts and forgive quickly and repeatedly. I love how they are fiercely determined to protect those they love. I love how they are thrilled to see me—even if I’ve only been gone a few minutes. I love how they will offer their bellies up as a way to say, “Go ahead—love me. I trust that you won’t hurt me.”

Dogs just bring it down to the simple. Beyond having their basic needs met, it’s pretty much all about love. What a great reminder for me day after day. I aspire to love with that same kind of openness and joy.

So while Vito won’t win any smart dog contests, he’s certainly won my heart. And I think he’s pretty okay with that.

 

Vito the Stud

 

PS–I’m totally not a fan of dressing dogs up in silliness, but Vito gets chilly when we go for walks when it’s cold, and can he help it if he looks this studly wearing his jean jacket? I think not.

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