This is the fifth installment of my 10 QUICK RULES FOR RAISING DAUGHTERS WHO WANT YOU IN THEIR LIVES AS KIDS, TEENAGERS and ADULTS. I began with Rule #1: Never criticize “the boyfriend.” Next came Rule #2: Never diminish a broken heart. Then Rule #3: Do not show up at Parents’ Night in slippers. And Rule #4: Get your daughter familiar with the three important words – Honest, Honesty and Honestly. And #4.5: Don’t trust Daddys to be objective when it comes to their daughters!
As for the next rule…
RULE# 5: DAUGHTERS AND THEIR DOGS – NOT JUST PUPPY LOVE!
I write this post today in a place of great paradox, with my heart both full of joy and yet broken to pieces.
I will tell you about Daughters and Doggies.
Daughters, as very little girls, need to internalize the deepest knowledge of loyalty, faith, honor, respect, and of course, love.
Moms and Dads may attempt to teach these virtues, but dogs live them. Every day.
Dogs teach our daughters the wisdom of living in the moment. Even the least important moment is important enough.
Hearing the family car pulling into the driveway is important.
Waiting at the door is important.
Hearing the clink-clink of the collar and leash is important.
Feeling the slurp of cool water is important.
Stretching legs and toes is important.
Feeling the rush of the wind from the car window is important.
Getting a great big hug is important.
And dogs teach our daughters the truth of what is not particularly important. Morning breath. A bad hair day. Gossip. Dust. Fine crystal and china. A cheating boyfriend. A B+ instead of an A.
Dogs teach our daughters to run, play, jump, frolic. Dogs have a magical way of nudging even our teenaged daughters into some agreeable action.
Dogs teach our daughters the beauty of looking into big, round eyes. The confidence of gently bathing and brushing magnificent hair. The patience of training. And the respect of things that are living.
Dogs teach our daughters to listen to a creature who has nothing to say. To speak her heart to ears that absorb her every word. To fear not solitude.
Dogs teach our daughters to be silly. To pour out saved-up wishes. To love simply, yet completely. To take delight in this love.
Dogs teach our daughters about mortality. And immortality. Dogs let our daughters know that man alone contemplates his mortality… animals who are ready to go show no sign of doubt. Dogs offer our daughters the greatest hope that we will always live in the memories of those we leave on this earth.
Dogs teach our daughters that love often times needs no logic. The sweetest attraction is sometimes the strangest!
I began this post by explaining that today my heart is both joyous and heavy. Yesterday, Jane’s beloved Bismarck was diagnosed with lymphoma.
He is only 5 ½ years old. He will need lots of treatments, and lots of love… and lots of prayers.
Bismarck came to Jane through Steve, the man she married. Jane and Steve blended her beautiful Ryder with his splendid Biz to become one wonderful family.
And though all of our hearts are broken, we know that the joy and love and miracles and lessons that Bismarck has brought all of us is beyond all words.
Doggy-love. Combine it with Daughter-love, and there is nothing quite like it on earth. It transforms our daughters… and even changes their histories.