Heavy Petting

Glamorous Life Feb 15 Sunnyby Lee Ann “Sunny” Brown    


The heavy breathing makes me nervous, like an obscene phone call from an anonymous caller. I feel the hot breath, panting against my skin and then, suddenly, I can feel the weight pressing against me, and the hair tickling my bare legs. With one swift move a lunge is made, and I am struggling on the sofa, wrestling against the full weight of desire to be as close to me as possible. I begin to feel panicked to get away from the wet, drooling tongue tasting the salty sweetness of my exposed skin. I can feel its warmth tickling as it softly licks and winds its way deeper inside my ear and I eventually succumb and let out squeals of laughter that just escalate the intensity of the feelings. Eventually, it becomes too much for both of us and I have to use all of my force to pull myself out from under the heaviness of all the excitement.

Early on I was warned against letting it go too far, that in almost no time at all things would get quickly out of hand. Maybe I should have paid more attention to that well-meaning advice in the beginning, but it’s hard to convince someone in the throes of puppy love to take it slow and think about the long-term consequences. And anyway, I’m not sure it would have changed anything. A love like this is hard to explain and even harder to put within boundaries, even when you start to recognize that all that pawing you’re convinced is love is quickly turning into controlling behavior.

I know that my every move is being watched and tracked so that I do not get out of sight. Sometimes I try to be very quiet and sneak away when I think sleep has taken over and I will have a chance to escape. But then I see the longing in the eyes, and it makes me feel guilty that I want to get away by myself for just a few stolen moments of privacy. Of course, that is the plan, I know—to put a guilt trip on me and convince me to stay.

But everyone needs a little time alone every now and then, no matter how much you love each other. Alone time is a luxury that I cherish, and eating a meal in peace is something that I am especially longing to experience. I have memorized every squeak in the floor on the path to the kitchen, or so I thought. But just one barely audible sound from the refrigerator door or the tiniest squeak in the floor gives me away, and, once again, I am bullied into sharing my food, softly at first, by the impatient tapping of the feet, and then more urgently, if I do not give in to the pleading right away.

I have to share everything in this relationship, except my time. I’ve read that some relationships become too co-dependent, and that they play all sorts of mind games with you to try and keep you all to themselves. Sometimes they even become too jealous of the other people in your life and try and keep you isolated from the rest of the world. Luckily, this is not the case with me, not yet anyway. I have noticed that the feeling of insecurity has become increasingly pronounced and the separation anxiety has even gotten to the point that, when I am allowed to go upstairs alone, I am met at the very bottom of the steps when I come downstairs with a look asking what took so long and demanding me to account for my time away. Right now, though, it’s just the mind games: ignoring me when I am getting ready to leave, a sad and dejected look in the eyes, the silent treatment—not even a tail wag.

Such is life when you are sharing it with a golden retriever. It’s no mere lap dance when your large breed dog thinks she’s a baby.

Our big, furry golden retriever, Sadie, is a member of our family, and with us being empty nesters now, she has quickly gotten used to our undivided attention and being top dog in the house. She is an oldie goldie now, and we are increasingly faced with the challenges that an older dog presents. It is true that with the decrease in her hearing and eyesight, she has become much more dependent on her family and does not want us to be away from her for any length of distance or time. She has trouble getting in and out of the car now, so we don’t take her with us when we are running errands, and she lets us know just how unhappy she is being left home alone. She can no longer climb the stairs like she could when she was younger, so whenever I go upstairs, she waits at the bottom of the steps for me so she won’t miss me when I come back down. Like some other people I know, but shall not name, she has selective hearing, because even though her hearing is not as sharp as it was, she can hear you thinking about going to the kitchen. These days, her love of the outdoors has been reduced to one lazy stroll around the park, which she lives for. Whenever I take her for a walk, I do make sure to have my cell phone with me so I can call for help in case something happens, because it’s getting harder for her to get up, and at her large weight and size, there is no way that I can lift her by myself.

Even with all of the special considerations of owning a larger, older dog, I wouldn’t trade an ounce of her, no matter how heavy the burden. Sadie is our beloved girl and with a golden retriever, it’s all about love, getting it and giving it. You just have to get used to some heavy petting.

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