I have a confession to make.  I used to be one of those people to say, “I’m not that big a fan of small dogs”.  Pretty unfair of me considering most of the dogs I knew and loved growing up were small dogs.  That’s probably where my issue stemmed from though.  Lap dogs were great for petting and picking up, but I often felt like I was missing out on some great adventure reserved for those who shared their lives with big, sporty dogs.  I was so envious of the neighborhood kids I would romp through the woods with, their trusty black Lab always in tow, the families who took their dog camping, the man who walked his Shepherd on the beach every morning of every Summer.  Wasn’t that the joy of  dogs?   To run and swim and hike and play?

I brought my childhood dog, Pookie, a Yorkie-Poo to the beach once and the poor thing got so scared when I put her  down that she just ran as fast as she could down the shoreline, heading nowhere.  Of course, on her stubby little legs she was easy to overtake and shaking like a leaf when I scooped her up.  I held her close to me, while we waited on the street for my mom to pick us up.  Her heart rate slowed down to a normal pace and she settled against my chest in a warm gratitude for saving her from the fear to which I myself exposed her.  I loved that little dog so much and it took until that moment to realize that the joy of her wasn’t in what she did or didn’t do.  It was just in knowing her and loving her and having her as a part of my life.  I wasn’t sad because she didn’t like hiking and swimming, I was sad because I had to do those things without her.  Because I liked her company, and I wished she could always be present.  You see, the thing about small dogs, the really incredible thing, whether they’re athletes or not (and God knows they can be- I’m looking at you, Elsa) is that they really know what they’re doing in the lap dog department.  They were literally bred to be pets.  Do you understand what that means?  It means that their job is to love you and be loved and cuddled and doted upon.  It didn’t matter that Pookie never joined us on any outdoor excursions because she was there every evening when I returned home, ready to rain kisses and settle into the crooks of my legs.

To this day, if I’m sick or sad, Elsa goes into overdrive.  Ever see a dog on point?  Ever watch a Border Collie herd?  That’s the sort of intensity with which she takes her comfort dog duties.  Like something is vibrating in her core, saying this is your moment, Elsa.  You’ve got this.   Then she wedges herself between my neck and shoulder, so close she’s practically under my skin, and lets out a little snerffle like she’s just fixed everything in the world.  And as far as I’m concerned, she has.