"Our perfect companions never have fewer than four feet."
While my family raised two German Shepherds and schools of fish growing up, they were never really our "pets." The German Shepherds were chosen to be guard dogs for my father's construction sites and all we did with the fish was to scoop them out of the tank whenever they started floating at the top, (which happened often, since one of the businesses my parents owned was an aquarium store that we were required to help out with). Chinese people have this feeling that pets are dirty, so there's not much hugging and loving up on them as I'd seen many of my American friends do with their pets. Growing up between two cultures, I was torn between wanting to wrap my arms around these cuddly creatures to needing to immediately wash my hands and/or my body if they came close.
The thing is, I love dogs. Right now, I have the happy privilege of sharing a home with a friend's Golden Retriever, Jack. My friend is often out of town, so I'm the second mom in charge. Jack is absolutely loving and comes to sit next to you as frequently as possible, raises a paw to remind you that he'd like to be pet, and when I'm trying to do a home yoga practice, will want to participate in the fun.
However, as much as I love him, I've always watched questioningly when dog owners kiss their pets, whether letting them get their licks lipped or planting smooches on their pups. It just wasn't something I grew up with, yet it was something that I felt was an unabashed way to give and receive love (kind of how I've always envied Latin and African-American cultures for their wonderfully loud ways of loving one another as compared to the Asian ways of quiet interaction).
Today, as part of my Let LOose Challenge, I looked at Jack, knelt down and planted a big kiss on the top of his head. Then, I followed it with several more. Not only was Jack over the moon happy with tail wagging left and right in a flurry of fur, I felt like it was another way in which I was learning to embrace the person I am now, rather than the person I was taught to be, one who will joyfully frolic on the floor with a four-legged friend.