Howling, aching creature. You wail at my departure, fearful that you’ve done something to deserve being left alone to die.

Once, so far, you’ve been uprooted. Your love lands recklessly where mine is careful, where mine is reluctant to let go. Here, you seized me. Your pointy whisker lips grace all areas of my face, peeking tongue wetting my freckles with individual kisses. You sniff, you must sniff my breath for every I love you. Believe me, dog, every breath is an I love you.

I’m scared to say it to you because I know you won’t believe me soon. I’ll grab your head and kiss the velvet, fiercely, desperately, as your new owner takes you to your home. You might think that I’ve found you flawed, that I’ve declared you an exile from my pack. But please, sniff my breath, sniff it while you can, graze me with those whiskers, let me smooth your fur with my lips and whisper comforts to you. I love you. I love you. I love you.

I find you satisfactory, lanky specimen. Though you goose-egged my shin in full-stride through the yard, I find you perfect.

Though you ate everything I left in your path like a goat with reckless abandon, I find you perfect.

I wonder at the short-lived, powerful attachment. You, ancient animal, and me, arrogant human. You imprinted on me the quack of your character with the first burped grumble. I mourn for you and I hope you don’t forget my breaths, the smell of it, the volume of my declarations.

How strange it is to love an animal. To feel the urge to lead, and yet love, to discipline and shower with every conceivable tickle, pat, and hug.

My charge, my friend, I declare you my guardian. A short while I anguished over your primal mind and worries, a short while I cared for you, and now I grow older, stronger, wiser for loving you.

You are a satellite, infused with the divinity of Creation. More than a friend, more than a companion, I find you, the beacon of God and I am astounded by the grace with which you diffuse His love with each lapping lick, each cheeky nibble.