It’s no secret that the purportedly most romantic day of the year fills me with more irritation than it does love. From the forced gestures to the poor quality chocolate, I have never been big on celebrating Valentine’s Day. There is something about bright red heart-shaped boxes that makes my eyebrow twitch. It’s not that the concept behind the day bothers me. The idea of taking time to appreciate loved ones is a good one. But the way it is all packaged up gives me hives. It’s all just so… Artificial. Is there anything more offensive than obligatory affection?
Not to me there isn’t. If grand gestures and “I Wuv U” teddy bears are your thing, that is fine. For me, there is far more romance in the every day, little things we do for each other to show we care. Things like scraping ice off your car, or picking you up after work on a rainy day so you don’t have to take the bus. Laundry might not sound very romantic, but if you do a load for me, I will feel special.
Our animals understand this instinctively. Dogs aren’t big on shiny jewelry or fancy dinner dates. All they want is our company and attention. They know that large gifts, like expensive new toys or the latest in dog collars, are empty unless they have someone with whom to enjoy them. There is no point in buying your dog a trendy, scientifically tested tug toy unless you are willing to hold the other end. We could spend hundreds on cozy memory foam dogs beds for Shiva and she would still prefer to sleep on the couch with us.
Dogs get that it is the little things we do for each other that run the deepest. Cuddling on the coach after a long hike, throwing that stick just one more time, forgiving them when they chew a hole in our favourite slippers. On the flip side, no matter how I am feeling, when Shiva runs towards me with a wiggling bum and a wagging tail, suddenly I know everything will be okay. She puts up with my having to go to work and I put up with her occasionally humiliating me in public. We show we care not by purchasing big bouquets of flowers one day a year, but in the small things we do for each other every day.
In my opinion, that’s what love is all about.
Thanks so much to Ann at Pawsitively Pets for the adorable Shiva and “TC” Valentine images! They are just too sweet.