A few times a year we are blessed with a visit from a little four-legged God-spark named Bruno—a cuddly black dynamo (otherwise known as a Pug) of affection and entertainment. He sits respectfully in his own chapel seat throughout offices and Mass, and when we leave the bounces along he path beside me as we return to the house.
Because his head is only about a foot off the floor, he prefers laps, chairs and beds to the isolation of the floor. He doesn’t enjoy the company of ankles as much as that of hands and arms and faces … and the occasional peek at the dinner table when he can arrange it. Right now he’s snuggled in the crook of my arm as I type this, snoring softly. This is a little too early for him, so he’s finishing up on last night’s beauty sleep.
He’s a charming creature of routine, yet he is quite tolerant when things don’t go exactly as he planned. Early with breakfast? Late with the afternoon walk? No problem. The only exception to his amazing adaptability is the evening treat, which is timed roughly in the middle of meditation. He is usually snuggled in my lap, sound asleep, when his internal snack-alarm goes off. His little eyes pop open, he jumps down and runs to the table where I keep … not the snacks, but the cleaning pads used to keep the folds of his nose healthy. The drill is clean the nose, eat the treat, and he knows it. The nose routine is only every other day though, and in his usual display of flexibility, he gladly forgoes that part, as long as that tasty sausage thing gets into his mouth. Mmmmm.
He and Simon are quite the pair: large taupe racer and mini black snugglebug. Simon’s still not quite sure if Bruno is safe, so, Beta dog that he is, Simon gives way to Bruno. The seven-pound King rules over a seventy-five pound dog. But he is a gracious sovereign, and other than taking over Simon’s huge bed, Bruno pretty much ignores the Big Brown Dog.
As you can probably tell, Bruno captivated my heart long ago. I spoil him rotten, preferring him on my lap whenever possible. I’m great with food control; I know how easily humans can harm their animal companions with love in the form of food—that’s how we treat ourselves, after all. But when it comes to petting, holding and all-around loving, I have no control.
There is something wildly alluring about the unconditional love manifested in many of our non-human friends. Wouldn’t life be grand if we two-leggeds treated each other with the same kind of “stringless” affection?