Valentine’s Day & Your Dog
I once read that he is in love with you, while she loves you. Of course I am referring to our beloved dog companions. If you are a man, I assume the opposite is true – she is in love with you, and he loves you.
I know this observation to be true.
My little boy dog, Riece, is in love with me. He looks up at me with those brown, almost black eyes, those black curly ears, and that perfect nose, and I feel love radiating from him.
His very, gentle kisses caress my legs and arms as his soft, velvet tongue covers every inch. They are not the “grooming” kisses that his sisters give me, kisses inherently meant for cleaning a litter of puppies. My girls “grooming” kisses are administered with purpose, with vigor, and with precision. No, Riece’s affectionate kisses are soft, delicate and relaxing.
When he has been naughty, he is aware that I am angry. He knows I will be upset, and runs to hide under a table, or jumps onto his favorite chair. I believe him to be sorry for his actions, but his instincts trump my reaction every time. He is a boy.
Yet when I am ill, he senses my pain, and he curls his body over my stomach, giving me his warmth, and protection.
He is in love.
My girls, on the other hand, love me.
My little girl dog, C.C. follows me around, always under my feet, sniffing under the door when I leave my apartment, and barking before I exit the room for the night. She marks her territory during our group nap time by draping her paws over my outstretched body, eventually collapsing into a deep sleep, her head on top of mine, her body wedged between me and the pillows.
Lulu Belle, my older girl, knows when I need peace and quiet, knows when I need to snuggle, knows when I need space.
In love . . . To Love . . . I am so thankful that I have been able to experience both types of love from my loyal, and faithful Cavalier King Charles Spaniels.
As Valentine’s Day approaches, I have an overwhelming need to express everything that I have learned about how to honor the special, unrivalled love of your dog.
Among other prominent special days and holidays, such as birthdays and Christmas, this is a day to give special treats, gifts, and more love (if that is possible) to our dogs.
And while the cynical types may utter “it is just a dog”, my response is “well it is no different than celebrating the first birthday of a baby, or any other holiday, when the child has no idea what is going on.”
In fact all beings feel energy, and the positive, special energy of a holiday devoted purely to love is magical. I have never been a person who believes that you must have a “special somebody” (romantically speaking) to celebrate Valentine’s Day.
We all have special some-bodies in our lives – family members, friends, a helpful co-worker, a devoted pet, and even ourselves.
I have often celebrated Valentine’s Day by myself – a great bottle of wine, a movie, a book, and I have even taken myself out to dinner without one ounce of self-consciousness about a table for one.
Now honoring my special canine friends; friends who have never judged me, nor deserted me; friends who are excited to see me, just for me (and maybe a treat or two); friends who are void of malice, faithful, and loyal are now my Valentine’s dates, and I could not be happier.
But what about the people in your life who have a dog – lover, girlfriend, boyfriend, husband, wife, or friend? How very thoughtful, and romantic to give a gift to the dog of your special someone!
Below I have created sections of helpful information – some playful, some practical, some historical – gathered to help you enjoy the day/night dedicated to pure love – the love of your dog.
What do you do for, and with the one who offers you unconditional love? The boy who is in love with you, and the girl who loves you? Read on.
Gifts for Your Dog:
A new toy
A more comfortable bed
A longer walk
More snuggle time
A more comfortable collar
A play date with their favorite dog friend
ASPCA Pet First Aid Kit (www.aspcaonlinestore.com/products/98891-aspca-pet-first-aid-kit)
Gifts for People with Dogs:
Gifts to give your lover, girlfriend, boyfriend, wife, husband or anyone else in your life with a dog:
- Have a portrait/painting/photograph created of their dog (all the royals did it and still do!). As it may be difficult to get the dog out of the house without the owner’s knowledge, you may want to research local artists and photographers, and inquire if you can purchase a gift certificate to be redeemed at a later date (after the dog has been to the doggy beauty salon for a grooming, of course).
- If you are a writer or wordsmith, compose a little poem about the dog, and you surely will win favors.
- Find out the date of her dog’s birthday, and determine the dog’s astrological sign (see the article on Astrology & Your Dog). Create a card using the information you find about the dog’s sign.
- Make a donation to the local animal shelter, or the ASCPA in their name.
- If you prefer to give your loved one jewelry, a locket may be the perfect option.
In the 18th century an unusual variation on the locket became fashionable: “The Lover’s Eye”.
These were miniature portraits of the eye of a loved one set into a locket. There was a great deal of controversy over the origins of this fashion trend, but the most popular version of the story involved the Prince of Wales (later George IV), and his Catholic wife, Mrs. Fitzherbert. As an English prince it was a royal taboo to wed a Catholic, so he married her in secret, though the marriage was not legal.
In 1785 the famous miniature artist, Richard Cosway, painted the right eye of the prince for a locket as a gift from the prince to Mrs. Fitzherbert.
The intent of just painting the eye was to keep the identity of the lover a secret by not revealing the whole face.
“The Lover’s Eye” miniature was painted on ivory with watercolor and set into a piece of jewelry such as a locket, broche, or ring. It was a wonderful piece of sentimental jewelry, and an intimate token of love.
Later the custom of eye miniatures was extended to include giving pieces to family members and friends, but this was far less common.
One of the most enduring and captivating physical traits of Cavalier King Charles Spaniels is their large, brown eyes. What woman would not want an image of her most beloved and loyal friend in a beautiful locket.
How to do this:
- Select a locket that would appeal to her taste in jewelry.
- If you have a photo of her dog use it in the locket.
- If you do not have a photo of her dog, go on the internet, and find a stock image of a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, or the breed she owns. Print the image on photo paper, and adjust the size to fit into the locket. The intent is to later get an image of her dog’s eye and replace the generic photo with the real one.
- Write or print out the history of “The Lover’s Eye”, and enclose it in a Valentine’s Day card. As she may be offended that it is not your eye in the locket, you can tell her that “her dog is her first love, but that does not mean she cannot have others.” And if you really want to win her heart, and are sincere, have a picture of your own eye ready to fit into the other side of the locket. Then she will have the two loves of her life always with her encased in a lovely piece of jewelry.
History of Unusual Gifts Given by Royals to Their Dogs
From the earliest days of recorded history, dogs have been royal animals, as European writings, paintings, and sculptures have revealed. However even earlier, in China and Tibet, dogs were elevated to a royal status.
The Emperor Ling Ti (156 A.D. – 189 A.D.) honored his palace dogs by giving them royal titles, such as Imperial Guards and Viceroys.
Some imperial dynasties established laws against harming a dog, and one of the most prized gifts anyone could receive from the emperor was a dog from the royal breeder.
In China, the most well known dog lover was the Dowager Empress Tzu Hsi who assumed power in 1861. She diligently directed, and guided the imperial eunuchs on the breeding of the royal dogs. Before she died she wrote a beautiful poem about the dogs that she had bred. The last line is very touching: “And so the butterfly dog remains, but if it dies, remember that you too are mortal.”
I interpret this line to mean that when dogs cease to exist, their unconditional love leaves the earth, and without this unending love, we humans are no longer lead by that example in the art of love, and part of us dies as well.
Cavalier King Charles Spaniels throughout history have had luxury bestowed on them, as they were the companions to the wealthiest monarchs and nobles in Europe.
I am convinced that a Cavalier companion ate better, slept more comfortably, and dressed more luxuriously than an average person at the time.
Whether the dog was carried on a fluffy pillow, permitted to sleep with the king, or even given expensive gifts, as was the case with the little spaniel companion of Madame Du Barry, the mistress of King Louis XV of France, the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel lead a charmed life.
Historians have noted that Madame Du Barry was known for her expensive taste, and lust for luxury. The king endowed her with an income of 150,000 livres per year at a time when the most well-to-do nobles could live luxuriously on 30,000 livres a year.
The king also granted her the service of 50 footmen, and she insisted that one particularly exotic footman accompany her everywhere. She demanded that he dress in a pink velvet jacket, wear a white turban, and a small golden sword strapped at his side.
Her Blenheim Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, Dorine, was also lucky enough to reap the rewards of Madame’s services to the king.
As the king’s official mistress, she received many gifts from visiting monarchs, and one particularly interesting present was given to her by King Gustavas of Sweden. The gift was a diamond studded collar, and a three foot long leash created entirely of rubies for Dorine.
Dorine, dressed in a bejeweled collar and leash, certainly completed the scene of a lavishly attired and jeweled royal mistress, accompanied by an exotically dressed footman.
Dorine’s ‘everyday’ wardrobe was a gold collar bearing the Du Barry coat of arms, clasped with a large sapphire surrounded by diamonds.
The pampered pet also drank her water from a golden saucer, and had her own personal footman to wait on her.
Oh, the life of a royal dog!
While most of us do not give our dog’s golden water bowls, precious jeweled collars, and a personal footman, I believe that the royals, like us, wanted to reward their loyal companions for their unconditional love and support.