Sailor Bear is not a cuddly Dog. He never has been. It was a bit of an adjustment for Aidan and I, as Alfie (who we lost 6 months before Sailor joined our family) had been the cuddliest Dog on the PLANET. Alf was always leaning against you, pulling himself up onto the dining chair to sit with you and whenever physically possible, that kid was a 25kg lap Dog.
Sails does not initiate cuddles. He’ll come and sit next to you if he has a big slobbery toy in his mouth that he wants you to play tug of war with. He’ll sit RIGHT in front of you drooling alllll over the floor (and your feet) while you try and eat your dinner. He’ll even hop on the bed and lay next to us for 10 minutes each night, but should you try to offer him any more than a quick belly rub, he’ll jump off the bed and find his own space immediately. If you walk by him while he’s napping, he’ll jump up in a fright – he’s convinced we’re going to step on him and it breaks my heart.
On Feb 1 I posted a photo of me and Alfie with some words my heart needed to get out as it was 2 years since we lost him. I was pretty down that morning. After I had written the post I started crying and the tears just kept coming. I was really, really sad – I don’t think I can remember the last time I cried like that.
Jersey girl came over to me on the couch, jumped up next to me and lay on her back for me to rub her belly. Sailor walked over to the couch and rested his chin next to my legs. I patted the couch and managed a high pitched ‘up’ between deep breaths and even more tears. I’ve tried to get Sails to come and sit next to me on the couch for a cuddle many a time, but he’s never accepted (unless it’s a spot in his Jersey’s Parkour routine that laps the entire living area during crazy hour!). To my surprise he put his left leg up, then his right and pulled his body up next to me. Before I knew it, he collapsed down next to me and rested that giant goofy head on my knee. My eyes widened as I realised he had just come up for a CUDDLE. At this point i knew any sudden movements and he’d be off in a flash so i gently started patting his side and there he lay for 10 amazing minutes. I ugly cried at this point, but at least it was happy tears mixed in with the sad!
It might not sound like much, but at 18 months old our amazing boy forgot how scary being cuddled can be, because something was wrong – and he knew just how to fix it. It melted my heart. That was not only special for me, but that’s a huge leap for Sailor Bear. Sails has been the most challenging Pup I’ve ever owned, but my goodness he’s worth it.
You don’t get the Dog you want, you get the Dog you need. And I’ll be grateful for him every damn day.