Penelope is our little girl beagle. She was born on December 12, 2013, so she is a year and three quarters old, right in the midst of her teenage days in dog years. She is the smallest of her litter and the only girl, and has spent most of her life beating up her brothers. Lately, however, she has experienced a different sort of affection. Our neighbors have introduced a new puppy on the opposite side of the fence. His name is Choco. He is a chocolate lab, with adorable eyes that will probably change color soon. They are a beautiful blue now, and he is still smaller than Penelope, although he will soon grow to be four or five times as large.
Penelope is in love. Every morning when we wake up, she is out in the yard with her nose pressed to the fence. There is a gap where a bit of board has been knocked out, and if she could wriggle her body through it she would. She is lucky she isn’t losing fur on her snout. Often, she goes out several times in the middle of the night. I am sure that she is restlessly seeking Choco. Not being on the other side of the fence, I cannot be sure whether or not her affections are returned by the young fellow. I think he is probably too young to understand. In fact, I think their love is probably doomed, although true love often does find a way. (Since Penelope is fixed, I don’t think it is possible for it to find THAT way.)
I wonder at Penelope’s love. Is it just a crush that she will grow out of? At what point will she stop pining at the fence? When she is older will she remember him as the one that got away? Will she dream of chocolate lab puppies, and always blame us for not letting them be together? Or will she forget him in a haze of memory, as we human beings forget the pain of our crushes and laugh at them later, amazed at how desperate for love we were one summer, then forgetting even the name of that person as we grow older and realize that they were not who we thought they were, but idealized in our mind? I hope that soon Penelope realizes that her brothers Humphrey Bogart and Woodstock miss her, and that Choco is just a flash in the pan, cute now, but not worth the trouble. Until then, we will see her at the fence every morning, pining for that summer love that she can’t quite reach. It wouldn’t be fair to deny her that sweet pain. Puppy love is something that everyone with a heart should experience, no matter how much it hurts.