It’s our first Wigglebutt Wednesday at Joanie Tales. Yay!
It seems appropriate that our first Wigglebutt Wednesday happens to fall on the day before Valentine’s Day and the day after the 2019 Westminster Dog Show.
[Sidenote: I’ll spare you how disappointed I am that a Wire Fox Terrier took Best in Show yet again, for the 15th time, when a bouviers des Flandres, a Havanese, and a longhaired Dachshund (breeds that have *never* won Best In Show at Westminster) were in the running. I was personally rooting for Bean, the Sussex Spaniel (his breed has taken Best in Show one time before, I believe, in 2009), but I would have been thrilled for a historic win by a different breed than had ever taken the Westminster crown before. Anything but another Terrier. Geesh. Oh well. C’est la vie.]
Anyhoo, today’s post falls between our culture’s celebration of canines and its celebration of love. How fitting.
There is nothing like canine companionship. DH and I both, as children, enjoyed dogs in our families of origin. Dogs have also graced our life together, nearly continuously, over the decades since. Nearly all of those dogs have been Labrador retrievers.
We love Labs. They’re a terrific breed: affectionate, loyal, smart, trainable, friendly, enthusiastic, water-loving, adaptable, and happy-go-lucky. Their loving temperament, quick intelligence, and eagerness to please make them ideal working, hunting, and therapy dogs. Their faces display their intelligence; their body-shaking wags reveal their zest for life. Happy Labs wiggle. That’s what they do.
Their trademark tail movement is why we call our dogs wigglebutts. They wiggle and wag all the time. And I mean, all. the. time. We love our wigglebutts. At our house, it’s like Westminster meets Valentine’s Day every single day.
Frankly, though, life around here isn’t as wiggly as it once was.
We’re down to four canines: Pinot, our 11-year-old yellow Lab (fox red end of the color spectrum) and matriarch of the pack; Tuc, our 10-year-old black Lab and, at 105 pounds, my big galoot of a Bubby Boy; Chessie, our almost-9-year-old chocolate Lab and sweet, “look-I-have-a-bone” girl; and Merlin, our 5-year-old mutt, the Wizard, and my mid-life-crisis dog (more on him another day).
Our wigglebutt pack is aging, even dwindling (we’ve watched two of our beloved Labs pass gently over the rainbow bridge since July), but there’s plenty of wiggle left in those who remain. They still make us feel loved and make us smile.
Here are a few recent wigglebutt smiles for today (well, at least some canine actions that made me smile):
Silly canine kids. They may be “seniors” by canine standards (except middle-aged Merlin), but they’re just as loving and eager to shower us with affection as they were when they were pups.
Their bodies have aged; yet they’re youthful hearts, spirits, and enthusiasms remain. And they still wiggle with the best of them.
I could learn from them. I do learn from them. Every day. They remind me that age isn’t a number, it’s an attitude of the heart and mind, and that even the oldest of us can offer joy and humor and affection to those around us.
They remind me that even though I, like they, have arthritis, that my hips, like theirs, sometimes hurt, that my knees, like theirs, crack, and that my energy (unlike theirs) occasionally wanes, I can still choose to wigglebutt my way through life with exuberance and optimism. I can wake up and live like I am alive.
Some days I do. I wiggle in the kitchen when no one is looking, especially when my upbeat playlist is on. I look for ways to be someone else’s smile. At least I try. But that’s not every day. Some days I can’t manage to put my wiggle on. I certainly don’t do so with the faithfulness and consistency of my four-legged critters.
And that brings me back to the canine crew. I need them. I need their happy wiggles and smile-producing wags. I need their hopelessly optimistic exuberance and their endless capacity for affection. I need their daily reminders that life is filled with joy if only I’ll notice.
Their wigglebutts help me remember those things, they make me smile, and sometimes make me wiggle, too.
I’d say that’s a successful marriage of the celebration of dogs (Westminster) and the celebration of affection (Valentine’s Day) on this day that’s wedged between.
It’s a day that finds me smack dab in the middle, between canine and human love — a delightful, albeit slobbery place to be. A place I’ve lived for decades, and a place I’ll live for years to come.
And maybe, just maybe, if I live long enough, wigglebutting my way through life will become as second nature to me as it is to my canine crew.
I sure hope so, anyway. ❤️
Happy Wigglebutt Wednesday, all.
Until next time,