Aries, the dog Dave and I adopted back in October 2006, turned two on April 4, 2008. Or, so we guess she did. Because there is no evidence of her birth (you never know, she might be divine), Dave and I decided we needed to come up with a birth date. It needed to be one we could remember and one that would reflect her name, the astrological sign represented by the Ram. So, 4/4 seemed like an easy solution because it fit both bills: easiness and astrological-correctness.
Her birthday was surrounded by fanfare. She received a whopper of a steak, at least one gift, multiple treats, and all the tummy scratchin’ a dog could want. She responded rather well to he steak, as we continually ound her cornering her food bowl to lick the taste out of the plastic. Her gift was a little bear baby, a stuffed toy which she normally would have destroyed and sent its innards outwards within seconds, but this time Dave and I have been more wary about her destructive habits. I already restuffed parts of the bear and sewed back together the seams twice. We are trying to make this one last.
We are trying to make this one last. Isn’t that underlying message? My dog has more memorable birthdays than Dave and I do. Dave experiences the least memorable birthdays of any person I know. His parents don’t even get a cake or a gift. If they remember a card, it is a miracle. For most humans, the birthday experience is similar; it is a pat on the back and a “Congratulations, you have made it this far. Imagine how old you’d feel is this was 1262!” For Aries, it is a circus-like event, played out in three rings, with two ringmasters orchestrating the whole operation.
For me, I know why we give Aries so much love and why we create such excitement over her fictional birthday. She brings us love, and while we know she brings us this joy, we cannot quite understand that she experiences it in return. So, we give her a steak, which we know she enjoys through her incredibly quick consumption. We give her a toy we know she will love to catch. We try to return to her those little moments she cannot always recognize, but that we do and take advantage of all the time. It is one of the ways we know she can recognize our love for her.