We recently adopted a puppy, a joyful, bouncing, and playful, eat your shoes, nip your heels puppy. There is just something so delightful about having a puppy constantly at your feet, looking up at you with those big brown eyes, or in our case one brown eye and one blue! He brings a certain air of "here and now" into your life.
The one thing that really struck me was how quickly we all fell in love with this little fella. The reason for his adoption was as a birthday present for my husband who claims to have never wanted pets -- three cats and one dog later! And of course he too fell in love with Ziggy at first sight.
As I write this Ziggy is asleep at my feet. I am his primary carer and I am the one picking up the poo, cleaning up little puddles and I am the one who gets to be the center of his attention, the one he follows from room to room, house to garden. I am the one teaching him, "No Ziggy, sit, drop, come, good boy" and best of all I am the one who gets to give and receive unconditional love and cuddles all day long.
Puppy of course has completely changed the dynamics of the household. My eldest son says he now has an excuse to come home on weekends -- thanks very much. Shoes, bags and valuables once left lying on the floor now seem to be mysteriously put away. Neighbors are dropping in for a bit of puppy love, my husband wants a daily update on his achievements with photo and I can no longer just be spontaneous, because puppy can't be left alone.
Puppy and the cats aren't quite there yet. The building of rapport and trust is just like that of humans, just maybe without the hissing and barking. Ziggy seems to respect the fact that the cats were here first, so he will lay low and keep his distance; however, a puppy can only take so much before he is jumping with joy and scaring the living daylights out of the cats.
Watching their interaction is very similar to how some humans behave, my cat just observes this new phenomenon from a safe distance; she seems to have more fear than the other two. The male cat is twice puppy's size and is disinterested yet alert, and the little tortoise shell female cat has been very accepting.
Fear, disinterest and acceptance all rather human behaviors and all ones we have used in the workplace, in our own lives and observed others do. And as a therapist I will be the one who will help them all to open their cat hearts to eventually fall in love with puppy.
There is no joy or happiness quite like that of puppy love.