It happened again this morning. There I am enjoying my early morning dreams and they are interrupted by something. Something I can’t ignore, no matter how fast I’m chasing that squirrel up the tree in my dream. Something embarrassing. But that’s never stopped me from sharing before, and its not going to stop me now.
I’ve come to know these moments as “love fests,” and (after my initial annoyance from being interrupted mid-squirrel-chase dream) they’re kind of one of my most favorite things. “Love fest” is my mom’s phrase, which she and her sister used when they were little girls to describe their especially long sessions of scratching, petting, and treating their childhood dog Phoebe.
Given my somewhat sketchy background with physical human contact, I used to approach these love fests with caution. I’d let mom (and dad when it’s a really good one) pet and scratch behind my ears and that would be the end of that. Now? Well, I indulge in every fabulous minute. I roll around to enable adequate (and balanced) coverage area of the petting. I grab on to arms with my paws to complete the physical link. I even grunt and groan in a way that (gasp!) slightly resembles a feline purring.
It didn’t take me long to realize this love fest business is a two-way street. It involves active participation (and heartfelt sincerity) from all parties involved. And its easy. I would have never thought it could possibly be that easy to have such an intense burst of love for another being as I do during these love fests.
I’ve spoken before about my thoughts on emotional bursts of love (and my gratitude for them), and to me these love fests are the ultimate expression of mutual appreciation between a dog and his or her forever people. Just as we need to be grateful for the people in our lives we burst with love for, I think we all need a good old fashioned love fest every now and then, no matter how many legs we happen to have.
I know it might sound silly. And I am by no means encouraging anyone to walk up to a complete stranger and start scratching them behind the ears. I can guarantee that won’t go well. But I think we all come across people in our day who seem to have lost the spring in their step, whether “they” are the coworker down the hall, the checkout lady at Walgreens, or your best friend.
Embarrassing or otherwise, the concept behind these love fests are worth sharing in every sense of the word. As ancient Chinese philosopher Lao Tzu put it “being loved by someone gives you strength, while loving someone deeply gives you courage.” We are empowered with one of the most powerful (and contagious) emotions—love—and all it’s ours to share with whomever we please. So why not be the source of someone’s love fest today?