I think I’m beginning to understand why so many women gather around babies and vie to hold them. Lately my dog Annie, the one in the picture only two years older and 50 pounds heavier, has taken to lying on top of me whenever I relax in a chair or on the sofa. Spread over my lap or chest, she is warm and soft. As I pet her, she relaxes to sleep. Sometimes she snores. Sometimes she whimpers and her feet paddle as she dreams. I stay very still, stroking her fur, loving her. Of course a dog is not the same as a human baby, but there’s something so elemental and right about that closeness, that young life against my body.
Human babies grow so quickly. It is not long before they’re too big and no longer willing to lie in their mothers’ arms. Most mothers can have more children, and they can look forward to the grandchildren and great-grandchildren that come in the never-ending circle of life. They ache to hold babies again. My mother always seemed so happy when she had a chance to hold a little one, but it didn’t happen very often.
For those of us who are not mothers,we can only imagine that feeling. And hold our dogs, if they are willing to be held.