Ocean’s kisses

Ocean is the first dog we’ve ever adopted. I could lie and say that we rescued her from a horrible situation, narrowly stealing her from the jaws of death but that wasn’t the case. She was loved by someone else for a year before they gave her up because they didn’t think life in an apartment was fair to her.

We took her in because we thought she’d be a great help to our other dog, Lobo who had severe anxiety. It was the last in a long list of treatments we had tried with Lobo and we were desperate. Ocean is the opposite of poor, anxious Lobo. Where he saw dread and fear, she saw fun and possibilities; when Lobo froze, Ocean went racing ahead. She was perfect for him.

Ocean got along with Lobo from the start but she wasn’t that sure of us humans. She’d stay away when she was indoors and just watch us. We tend to bathe our dogs with kisses, hugs and rubs but, with Ocean, we had to hold back our enthusiasm. She was head-shy–she didn’t like her head touched–and she wouldn’t look at us in the eye. She tolerated us but she didn’t love us.

Lobo passed away in November and my husband and I spent some time saying goodbye. I’ll admit that letting him go was particularly difficult for me. Our vet warned us that this was a time of adjustment for all of us and that Ocean’s personality might change.

With no other dog to buffer her, she was the sole recipient of all our attention, kisses and hugs. We tend to talk to our dogs, so Ocean was suddenly involved in many conversations and had to face numerous questions.

How did she cope? She loves it.

She’s learned that our kisses won’t hurt her and our hugs won’t trap her. Slowly, she’s gone from being shy and reluctant, to enjoying the attention and finally to demanding attention. Yeap, it didn’t take Ocean long to go from appreciating kisses to being addicted to them. She’s not embarrassed about asking for them either. That head-shy thing has completely disappeared and she’ll stare us right in the eye while she shoves her head our way to get more hugs.

Unwilling to miss any, she follows us around the house. One of my highlights has been working out while she lies faithfully at my side. I worried she would come too close to the machine and I wondered if she would leave, but Ocean only sniffed the machine curiously before settling on the floor. She didn’t wonder away. She knew what was coming at the end of the work out and she didn’t want to miss any.




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