My Funny Valentine


He has shoe-button eyes and a perfect bandit face, and he seldom leaves my side. No bones about it, I'm his first love. He wants nothing more than to lay in my arms or look into my eyes. He would die for me. His name is Happy Dog, and nothing gives him greater joy than to make me laugh. It's easy. I'm the perfect target. I want to laugh, and he knows it. What a funny little dog he is with his long, low body, and a face that teases "Play with me." Happy Dog was four months old when I discovered his hilarious sense of humor. My husband and I were having one of those "discussions" that husbands and wives get into, and neither one of us was backing down. We were sitting at the breakfast bar, and I had a clear view of our long hall. Just as my voice turned to tense, clipped phrases, and my husband's jaw began to stiffen, I saw a sudden flash of black and tan.

What the heck was that?! Suddenly, another black and tan flash came from the opposite direction. What was that in his mouth? I lost the thread of the argument, and I watched in fascination as Happy Dog went flying down the hall carrying a huge, white, fleece ball. The toy was nearly as big as he was. He dashed down the hall with the ball, and then he dashed back carrying a huge, white, fleece bone. The next dash he was carrying a squeaky toy. He squeaked as he flew, never missing a beat. The next trip back, he was squeaking a ball and carrying it effortlessly past the breakfast bar.

It was like watching one of those carnival ducks. Back and forth, always with a different toy. Squeak! Squeak! Zip! Zip! Here he comes! There he goes! I was enthralled, delighted, and soon laughing. My husband quickly followed. What were we arguing about? We couldn't remember. Happy had totally diffused our "distemper." What a dog!

As most dachshund lovers will confess, if you don't want a dachshund to repeat a behavior, whatever you do, don't laugh. That's an impossible task, because these dogs are pure and simple clowns. It never fails, when I'm down in the dumps Happy will look for something of mine to steal. Then the game's afoot! Off he goes with a roll of toilet paper, a sock, or my slipper. I'm yelling, "Hey! Give me that!" Then he dashes off, pausing to look back when I'm too slow, and giving me a delighted look. It's a merry chase, and I'm his willing fool. My heart has been captured by this little dog.

How is it that he has such power over me? Pure love, unconditional. Plain and simple. His entire world centers in my happiness. That's all he wants. He has kept his watch by my side during my darkest days of a life threatening illness. He has rested his chin on my face during my deepest sorrow, gently licking away my tears. He has made me laugh, when I could find neither strength nor reason. He has taught me more about God's love than a thousand impassioned sermons. If God loves me more than this little dog, I am loved indeed.

As we approach Valentine's day, we have passed the first anniversary of Happy's first spinal surgery, and we are fast approaching the anniversary of his second, just a month apart. He will soon be seven years old. That's fifty years old, in dog years. We're nearly the same age.

We have faced down the long dark together, and God has brought both of us through. Life is a gift with this little dog by my side. And nothing makes me more thankful than to have one more Valentine's Day with my funny Valentine, Happy Dog.

Jaye Lewis jlewis@smyth.net

Jaye Lewis is an award winning writer who looks at life from a unique perspective, celebrating the miracles in the day to day. Jaye's soon to be released book, Entertaining Angels, is a reflection of that message. Jaye is also contributing author of the recently released, Chicken Soup for the Recovering Soul. Visit Jaye's website at www.entertainingangels.org She lives and writes in the beautiful mountains of Virginia.

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