Monday, August 23, 2010

Love Growl

There are lots of things I will miss about Beau, but high on the list will be the Love Growl.

It scared the heck of me the first time I heard it, coming from a young teenage pup who thought mighty highly of himself. For a few days I was thinking he was actually growling-growling at me at that I had some Devil Dog on my hands.

Then I talked to a friend, who said her dog gave a "greeting growl", which they called the Love Growl.

The Love Growl?

Now I have looked at a whole lot of dog books since that day, some six years ago, and I have yet to see any references to a "love growl". There are real growls, trained growls (ala Police Dogs), and play growls. There are growls out of fear and growls of aggression.

But a Love Growl?

Not a single reference.

That said, my friend was totally right. I don't actually remember what Beau Dog's greeting ceremony was like in those early days, but over time, as he matured and mellowed, it turned into a something... magical.

I would open the door, and he would scramble to find a woobie... and it had to be the right woobie. Two woobies crammed in his gigantic mouth were even better. Sometimes the entire greeting process would be put on hold while he tried desperately to envelop two objects that physics decreed could never be contained in the space allotted.

Often, he proved physics wrong.

Sometimes, I would get impatient and help him by holding the woobies so he could get a better grip. He seemed to appreciate my efforts, and would redouble his.

Eventually, either because he was satisfied or he finally gave up, the wooby/woobies were in place and rest of the greeting could begin.

And it always began with the Love Growl.

The Love Growl was throaty, crooning sound that came to remind me of a purr. A really big purr. Think lion-sized.

I'm sure it would have sent anyone else scrambling up the bookcases, but to me it was pure music.

The Love Growl was always accompanied by a full body wag, although as he got older the velocity went from frantic to measured. He would approach with head somewhat low, and then he would jam that head into my chest (as I would kneeling at this point) while I sank my fingers into his thick ruff and pulled him even closer to kiss the top of his head.

It was a meeting of almost equals - like the mighty prince giving a nod to his king, his superior only because he allowed him to be so.

There are countless times I considered videoing the ceremony, and I've even had people suggest I put the Love Growl on cue. But it just didn't seem right. It would be like training my hubby to say "I Love You," when I snapped my fingers. Even if I could do it, it just wouldn't mean the same thing.

And so I have no record of the Love Growl, save the one in my head and my heart. But at least there, safely contained, it can never be lost or forgotten.


Anonymous said...

I'm so sorry about Beau. Those special moments... I have many that I miss too with my guys. This is the joy of memory.

Linda and Abbey said...

Sniff, sniff.

That was SO touching Kathleen. How nice that you have the wonderful memories of what a wonderful dog Beau really was.

BZ Dogs said...

The World's Best Family Dog. Just ask me. :)