I hear a lot about the concept of “heart” dogs. Even Patricia McConnell talks about Luke, her canine soul-mate. To be honest, I don’t really get it. I have never felt a super-natural connection with an animal. The idea is sweet but it isn’t one I am sure I can wrap my brain around.
Clearly, I love my dog. I wouldn’t spend this much time babbling about her if i didn’t. But unlike some friends of mine, I wouldn’t call her my “heart dog”. Not even remotely. There are times I wonder whether we have any sort of connection at all, usually after she has blown me off for the fifth time in favour of bird seed. Our relationship is something I have to work on constantly. I will admit, for the first two or three months, I wasn’t even sure I liked her very much. I wasn’t sure she liked me.
I joke a lot about Shiva being my little protector. Before my practically husband returns home in the evenings, she sits beside me on the couch and stares at the door. The instant it is open she is off and barking, even if it is my PH on the other side. I think it is hilarious. However, I don’t know if she is doing it for my benefit or her own. I can’t be sure she isn’t rushing to protect herself. Especially given her history of fearful reactivity. Shiva is not a selfless dog. That’s okay. I am not a selfless human.
Perhaps these things take time. Our current rapport is obviously much better than it was even six years ago. By the time she is a sleepy, old senior maybe I will be thinking differently. Maybe I will get what everyone is talking about. And then again, maybe not. Shiva just may not be it for me. Which is fine. I don’t need her to be. But I am curious as to what the whole concept means.
Have you experienced life with a “heart dog”? What does the phrase mean to you? Do you even believe such a connection is possible or do you think it is just maudlin sap? If you do have a “heart dog”, how did you know?