When you were new, your paws so soft, and untried.
Your toenails miniscule, and me afraid to cut them.
I carry you from room to room, with your head tucked under my chin-- feeling your sweet puppy breaths on my neck.
You are sleeping-- your head in the crook of my elbow, your tail draped over my wrist.
I watch you breathe, and for a little while I know what it is like to feel complete.
Days pass, weeks pass, and you shoot upward.
Your long legs have not learned the art of moving in concert.
I watch as you stumble, fall, and rise again.
We lengthen your collar, and shorten your leash.
I stand with you balanced on my hip-- now your head is above mine.
Yet more, outward, upward, ever changing, moving on, learning more.
I think if I just held still, and didn't blink, I could watch you growing-- see your brain expanding with each new experience.
A year from now, you'll be someone's eyes.
You will stand between him and the very big world
with cars, and shards of glass, and angry people all around you.
This is your purpose, this is the plan.
But as you sleep next to me, curled into a ball of striped legs and ears, and that very long tail, I watch you dream.
The selfish part, that protective part of myself which I didn't even know I had until you came along, wishes that you could stay a puppy forever.
I wish that I could still carry you in the crook of my elbow, and feel your soft paws on my face.
When I was young, they told me that growing up was over-rated. I never understood what they meant until today.