I love my dogs, from their snorty black noses to their stubby little tails. Certain features make me smile more than others. They represent our many days together, both happy and sad. I put together this list of four favorite spots on my sweet pups, Dolly and Spot, with that in mind.
Dolly has the traditional white blaze of a Boston Terrier. On the back of her head, where it connects to the white of her collar, little of the surrounding black remains. The gray that comes with age has all but edged it out.
In this spot, I see our more than 10 years as companions. The black represents the glossy puppy who came home with me, and the encroaching white reminds me to cherish Dolly even more during her senior years.
Surgery removed Dolly’s first cancerous growth in 2010. When it came back last year, I took more aggressive action. She underwent 24 radiation treatments to significantly reduce the chance of further recurrence.
Radiation therapy in dogs causes hair to fall out at the treatment site. The exposed skin becomes crusty and sheds every few days. Recovery from the “radiation burn” takes weeks, and the hair rarely grows back. The skin also can change color.
As Dolly’s leg healed, a fox face emerged. I like to think of this new marking as a spirit animal of sorts. The fox symbolizes her own quick thinking and adaptability, and it also acts as her guardian, protecting her from any old or new cancer cells.
When I look at this spot, I remember to take a deep breath and live in the moment with Dolly. I still check her bumps on a weekly basis and take her for quarterly checkups, but I don’t let the threat of cancer sadden our time together.
Spot loves getting his neck scratched. He climbs onto my lap, facing me, and raises his head in invitation. The swirl of hair on the left side of his neck serves as a sweet spot for scratchies. When worked just right, his lips curl into a smile and his tongue sticks out. He even has a snore that signals his satisfaction.
This spot reminds me to make simple pleasures a priority. When my eyes fall on the swirl, more often than not I pull him onto my lap to relax us both.
Speaking of my sweet pup’s tongue, it doesn’t limit appearances to satisfying scratchies. It peeks out when he sits for the ball, emerging more and more in impatience the longer he waits. He also sleeps with it sticking out. His dried-out tongue on my face often wakes me before my alarm clock has the chance.
This spot makes Spot a favorite with everyone he meets. Passersby get drawn in by the tongue, allowing him to win over even dog-unfriendly folks. It also makes just about every photo I take of him adorable.
Neither Dolly nor Spot meet the breed standard for Boston Terriers, but whether or not the American Kennel Club finds value in them matters little. The above spots and what they represent mean the world to me.
Let’s hear from you, readers. Tell us about your favorite places on your dogs. Share descriptions and photos in the comments!
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