Love Me, Lucky!
By Celina Huynh
Though my dog brings great joy into my life, we have the ultimate incompatibility: different love languages. This piece is about the frustration of trying to cuddle with him and learning to accept our differences.
My dog sits on the floor. He’s so cute that his mere existence makes me swoon. I try to pet him, but he dodges my hand. Instead, he gets up, goes straight for the bright pink squeaky ball, takes it in his mouth, and places it in front of me. He bows down and stares at me expectantly, his tail wagging so hard it threatens to fall off his body.
“I just wanna pet you, Lucky…” I whine. But he’s in a playing mood.
I look at his adorable, eager little face and give in. I throw the ball across the room and he runs after it. We play a hearty game of fetch; it’s his favorite thing in the world. Even when he’s huffing and puffing, he still uses his snout to push the ball into my lap, urging me to play.
When we’re done, he sploots on the floor panting. I come over to pet him, and he rolls onto his back for me to give him belly rubs. He is so cute. And I want more. I lift him up and hold him in my arms. He stays still for a few seconds, but then squirms his way out of my embrace. He walks away and lies down near me.
How can he not want to hug me? I wish his need for affection was as strong as his need for play. I wish he was like other dogs, who not only let their owners hug them, but demand to be cuddled. But he’s not like that. We have different love languages; mine physical touch, and his fetch and tug of war, all day, every day. And there’s nothing I can do about it. I must respect his boundaries and accept that that’s just the kind of dog he is.
It’s so hard to not want to hug him because he’s so darn cute and cuddly. And I have emotional needs. I want to show him my love and feel loved by him. Maybe it’s not healthy or fair that I’m projecting my yearning for intimacy onto my dog. I’m still grateful for him and the joy he brings into my life: my pure, fluffy little fur baby. I just hope that I get my emotional needs fulfilled elsewhere, and that maybe one day he’ll finally like to cuddle.
I was inspired to create this piece during a pair session with my mentor, Liz. We were trying to practice positivity by writing about things we are grateful for. We found that it was hard to write about things in a purely positive light because everything in life comes with its ups and downs. I wanted to explore this idea by writing about the duality of my experience with my dog. Though I am grateful for him and his cuteness, our relationship is not perfect since I often struggle with our difference in love language. Throughout this process, I learned that it’s okay for everything in life to come with duality, and that that’s something I should try to embrace.
Celina Huynh is a student and writer from New York City. She aspires to become a clinical psychologist and loves writing as a means of self-expression, catharsis, and activism. She has a passion for bringing about positive change to society and spreading mental health awareness.