The Puppiness Project – Don’t Be Afraid to Show Affection

Gretchen Rubin wrote in The Happiness Project about the year she spent “test-driving the wisdom of the ages, the current scientific studies, and the lessons from popular culture about how to be happy.” The Puppiness Project is my attempt to learn the same from Honey, my Golden Retriever.

Who Can Resist Love?

Golden Retriever lying in the grass

Sure, everyone else is looking out at the water. But then I'd miss all my fans walking by on the road.

At the park yesterday, Honey solicited lovies from everyone who passed.

First, her eyes brighten. Her tail starts a low, imploring sweep. Then, when she realizes the object of her affection is on the way to see her, she starts the happy dance with her paws. By the time the person arrives at her side, Honey is literally falling over on herself to soak up the love.

Occasionally someone will pass who is immune to the Golden Glow (or smart enough to avoid a Golden Retriever while dressed in black). But everyone gets that initial show of interest.

Honey doesn’t worry about what other dogs will think of her promiscuous displays of affection. She doesn’t care about the cool and dignified Doberman across the street laughing at her. Or the one-person German Shepherd who might call her an affection slut.

Honey is love with four paws and a floofie tail. And she couldn’t be any other way.

I’m Lucky My Husband is a Masochist

Saturday night my husband whispered to me, “In two hours, it will be our anniversary” and caught me by complete surprise. For 23 years, I’ve been forgetting our wedding anniversary. I’m going for the world record for most forgotten anniversaries, which previously had always been held by men.

I try to show my husband every day that I love him. But after 23 years of marriage, I’d guess he’d appreciate hearing it more than always having clean socks and underwear in the drawers and his favorite box of cereal in the cupboard. I’m very practical in the way I show my love and, as you have probably guessed, not terribly romantic.

Love With the Proper Stranger

I’m not much better with friends.

Daily, I wonder when Americans got so “huggy.” I’ve been known, on more than one occasion, to erase a blog comment I just wrote because I worried it was too “gushy.” I feel a very deep desire to show my support for people who are struggling but look for ways to do it anonymously.

Oh, and here’s the one that will really kill you.

When dealing with Agatha’s and Christie’s separation anxiety, I read that we should nonchalantly go out the door after saying something cheerful. I used to say, “Be good puppies. We like you.” I can’t even say I love you to a dog.

Golden Retriever showing off her recall.

Aren’t you glad I’m always looking for lovies? It gives me an awesome recall. (BTW, that’s not snow. It’s seeds from the cottonwood trees.)

What You Give Will Return to You


I’m sure a therapist would be happy to take my money to figure out why I feel so uncomfortable sharing my affection. Any number of friends and acquaintances would probably speculate for free. In the end, I’m afraid to share feelings I’m not confident will be returned.

You’d think that after 23 years of marriage and a long friendship before that, I’d at least trust my husband. But what can I say? I need to become more like Honey.

Honey never hesitates to show enthusiasm at meeting any new person. It isn’t always returned. And when that happens, she honestly looks disappointed. But it’s only a flash before she tries to catch the notice of the next person happening by. Or until she looks up to meet my eye.

I guess I could do worse than to be like a Golden Retriever looking for love in all the wrong places.

 Monday Mischief Blog Hop

After a six-mile round trip walk yesterday, you’d think Honey would be too tired for mischief. But she aroused herself enough to discover a love for strawberry ice cream. My strawberry ice cream.

See what mischief your friends have been up to. This Blog Hop is brought to you by Alfie’s BlogSnoopy’s Dog BlogMy Brown Newfies and Luna, A Dog’s Life and you can read more about how to link up here.

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  1. Dogs are good role models in many things. However, everyone is unique Id take someone who shows support and love over a 23 year marriage over big romantic gestures any day. I have always been suspicious of big romantic gestures

    urban hounds

  2. Awww. First of all, happy belated anniversary! Mr W is a romantic. How sweet. I don’t know whether you can hold the title because I might beat you by 2 years of forgetfulness (or rather, couldn’t care lessness).

    I’ve always thought of you as a demonstrative, friendly, lovey dovey sort, maybe because you’re a self confessed extrovert?

    But now that I think about it…I’m beginning to get flashbacks of how we met 😉 haha!

  3. People could learn a lot from dogs on some aspects of our lives. You should see Roxy and Torrey at work on getting love at this art show. Shameless, selfless, want for hugs and praise. Cracks me up, and I can barely walk 2 feet with them.

  4. Dogs just seem to know how to simplify things and take them for what they are where we over analyze everything. :( We can learn some good lessons form our furry ones! :)

  5. Married with Dawgs says:

    We got married on 8/8/8. Not because of the significance of the number at all. It was simply so that we would only have one number to remember when it came to our anniversary. Romantic, huh?

    I understand on the not showing affection front. I relate. But just because we’re not always the best at showing emotion doesn’t mean we don’t have emotions. I think it’s completely ok to be a bit more reserved. Maybe that’s why you are attracted to Goldens. Their shameless show of affection is the yin to your yang.

  6. You definitely got the right breed of dog to show how to love the world. I suppose there are grumpy Golden Retrievers, but I’ve never seen one. The ones I’ve been around are, as more aloof dogs might say, are affection sluts.

  7. I thought you were describing Luna there…
    Yes, there is just something so pure and sweet to a Golden’s nature and I often find myself tuning into mine for simple understanding.

  8. Doggies do seem get over their disappointment quickly when their attempts to show affection to a stranger are rebuffed. It is just on to the next person. People could learn a lot from them.

    LOL about the strawberry ice cream. I guess it was just too tempting.

  9. I always remember our anniversary because we got married on Cinco de Mayo, but that doesn’t mean I always remember a card. 😉

    I’m very affectionate. With everybody. I guess I’m a slut with my emotions. No big secret, I experienced a lot of loss growing up and didn’t feel loved as a child. To this day I don’t hang up the phone from my children without telling them I love them.

    Well, there was my therapy session for the day! :-) In the end we are all different and have different needs, you need to do what works for you. If you haven’t had any complaints after 23 years, I’d say you’re doing ok.

    We can’t all be Golden Retrievers Pamela, some of us need to be the Saint Bernard. :-)

  10. “..promiscuous displays of affection.” What a wonderful phrase! I, alas, do not display tons of affection nor do I chat much or well (making small talk…shudder). Dogs, esp. those like Honey, make way for those of us who may be more reserved (can you tell I’m reading “Quiet” and loving it?). They open doors I would not open or step through myself – but I can always talk dog which often leads to other topics of conversation.
    I remember one summer in August when I asked my mom wasn’t it their anniversary? “Oh, no! We both forgot this year – it was last month in July!”
    Margie and Justus’s birthdays are the Summer Solstice (June 21) and Valentine’s Day (in that order) to help my memory.
    Thanks for sharing yourself – and Honey – and Mike :).

  11. Not only do I not celebrate my anniversary with my husband, we haven’t even agreed on when it is! Perhaps if we ever actually get married, I would be better at recalling the date but I still don’t see myself making a big deal over it. Traditional ideas of what is romantic have never appealed to me. Poetry, flowers, candles, all of that feels so artificial. To me, laundering socks and buying cereal is where the real romance is. Never forgetting to make coffee in the morning just the way he likes it. Those daily things are much sweeter to me than an annual date.

    Perhaps I could learn to be more open with my feelings but at the same time, I don’t think it’s something that should be forced. I am sure Mike knows how much you love him and appreciates all the little things you do. Whether you sweep that tail for him or not. 😉

  12. Woof! Woof! So true … we can totally relate. Golden Thanks for sharing. Watch out for Lots of SUGAR on Ice Cream. Lots of Golden ALOHA n Woofs, Sugar

  13. What is it they say about finding the dog you need? Sounds like Honey was the perfect match for you, just like Rumpy was for me.

  14. You’re too funny … I hope you and Mike had a fantastic anniversary and may you have many more happy (though perhaps undemonstrative) years together. =)

  15. Happy belated anniversary! Somehow the holiday weekend (and the pain meds) got me behind on my blog reading! It sounds to me like you and Mike are perfect for each other :)

    The only reason we remember our anniversary is because it’s the day before Cali’s birthday and we got Cali the year we got married.