On Patricia McConnell's blog Other End of the Leash she's written a valentine for her dog and asked those who follow her blog for their valentines to their dogs. Here, in expanded form is mine to Ranger.
I love you Ranger.
I love how you communicate so effectively even though you don’t speak any human language
I love how readily you have embraced the ideas that humans have sounds that attach to actions and objects and how you are learning that humans can understand gestures you use to tell them what you want.
I love your willingness to accept “human weirdness” such as regular baths and sometimes being allowed on the furniture and sometimes not. You don’t understand why things aren’t always consistent but simply accept that “humans are weird.”
I love how beautiful you are; it makes me laugh that you recognize beautiful as one of your names because you’ve heard it so often.
I love all the people you’ve brought into my life. I hadn’t realized how lonely I was before you.
I love how much you love people. It gives me hope for my species; if someone as wonderful as you are thinks we’re marvelous then maybe we aren’t as bad as I’ve sometimes thought.
I love that we can go together to libraries and nursing homes and other places where you can share your love of people to brighten days and encourage. It made my heart swell near to bursting the day we visited the nursing home and you sat near a woman who was in her own world. She sat there with her head thrown back and slack mouth hanging open. Then the attendant placed her hand on your back and slowly her mouth transformed into a smile. It is amazing to me that somehow you could reach her in whatever internal landscape she was lost and bring her a bit of joy.
I love how smart you are. You make me stretch and re-evaluate my assumptions about what you can and can’t do or understand. In trying to do right by you I’ve learned so much and as a result we’ve been able to do some good for other dogs. I love that we're able to make a difference in the lives of both our species.
I love how much you have brought into the lives of my children and how when a cat or child is yelling about something you run toward it to see if you can help. Your respect for the elder cat delights me. He’s old and grumpy and much much smaller than you but you still give up your bed for him or cede him the couch.
I love that you listen to me, at least when it really matters. I have never been so proud as the day you stopped your joyful run toward a group of small children when I asked you to. You were a great ambassador for your species that day and rather than being frightened by a large dog running at them the children were delighted with their new big fluffy playmate.
I love how you are noble and dignified http://www.flickr.com/photos/33350160@N02/3759243814/in/set-72157621312676230/ and how you are a demented nut http://www.flickr.com/photos/33350160@N02/5426796560/. I love your great big feet http://www.flickr.com/photos/33350160@N02/5426798028/in/photostream/ and your happy smilehttp://www.flickr.com/photos/33350160@N02/5226913659/in/set-72157625357059325/
But most of all I love how we are two parts that make a whole. Together we are more than either of us alone; you are my other self my entry into a world not my own and I am yours. You are my Ranger, my love, my canine companion, my other self.