This past weekend we celebrated Loki’s sixth year with us and his seventh birthday. I could live three lifetimes with Loki and it wouldn’t be long enough to truly understand the complexity of his emotional and behavioral make-up.
Nobody will argue that Loki is an intense dog. You can see strength and passion in his eyes.
On a recent walk at the beach, a large, muscular man standing at the base of a stair path gave Loki and me an exaggerated berth so we could pass. As we passed, the man told me that Loki intimidated him so he made plenty of room for him. I had to laugh. I knew Loki probably gave him his usual “I will f*ck you up” look. But I also knew that if I told him to, Loki would greet the stranger warmly.
You see, Loki lives by a black and white view of the world. There are no gray areas. Which is why I have a difficult time convincing him that he’s not allowed on the bed whenever he wants even though he’s been allowed for Sunday morning snuggle times. Things are either right or they are wrong. He’s constantly compartmentalizing everything around him into allowed and not allowed. While he looks to me to help him understand the world, unfamiliar objects, strange sounds or unusual events, it’s quite clear that he is capable of adjusting to gray areas.
Loki’s, a-hem, largest asset is also his best mojo! All the ladies dig a guy with large ears.
He’s an amazingly complex creature, gifted with a sensitivity so acute, it can be either his greatest asset or his biggest weakness. Wired directly into his adrenal glands, it’s his sensitivity that can often lead him to bark first, ask questions later. At the same time, Loki’s also capable of great love and great remorse. He first alerts to familiar visitors with daunting barks, then quickly bows his head in apology leaning into that person when he realizes he is friend rather than foe. Because his sensitivity meter is so high, he requires daily management, especially in new settings. He’s learned to take his cues from me and now can adjust more quickly to new environments.
Does this look like a face that intimidates?
Like the 8 year old boy who pulls the pigtails of the girl he likes most, Loki is incredibly shy about his emotions and has a great deal of difficulty expressing them appropriately. Nobody would call him liberal with his kisses. Instead, he prefers to bury his pointy nose between your thighs and groan when he’s been missing you. He’ll lean into your legs, bow his head and never look you in the face. If he’s really bursting with sentiment, he’ll find his favorite toy for a rousing game of tug with you. But kiss you 30 times and allow you to gaze into his beautiful eyes? Never.
None of that matters to us. It is clear as the ears on his head that he loves us and would do anything to keep us safe.
Happy Sixth Anniversary Big Boy! We’re so appreciative to you for your vigilance and your big heart. We’re lucky to have you in our lives.