Love at first bite...uh...sight

Boy and girl on bench.jpg

Is there such a thing as love at first sight? Poets and dreamers think so. In terms of human relationships, I'm not sure, although some of my friends say, "Hey, I took one look at him, and I told my [mom/dad/friend/whomever], 'that's the guy I'm going to marry.'" Full disclosure -- that never happened to me! At least not with any human. (I certainly have experienced "lust at first sight," which is a completely different thing!) 

Boy and girl on ground.jpg

The first time I met my husband, to whom I was married for almost 30 years until "death did us part," it didn't even occur to me  that he was an attractive guy. Who knew we'd move in together six weeks later, at which point I thought he was the sexiest man alive?...and the rest was history. But although that was pretty quick -- and the real thing -- it took a few more times than "at first sight" for me to fall in love with him.

On the other hand, I have experienced "like" at first sight a few times during my life. That's almost as hard to explain. It's happened with a few men and a few women, and although I knew nothing about these people before the first meeting, this intuitive -- or whatever -- knowledge that I was going to like them seems to have lasted, and has developed into true friendships in every case.    

 Flash in his NYPD hat

Flash in his NYPD hat

The crazy thing is, I really did experience love at first sight, but not until I met my dog Flash. Flash was my first Belgian Tervuren, and he was a twelve-week-old puppy running around on the breeder's deck with many of his puppy and dog friends when we were introduced. Flash jumped up and put his two velvety puppy paws on my knee, stared into my eyes, breathed sweet puppy breath on my face, and I was a goner. I said, "Yeah, I love him; I want him." The breeder said, "Don't you want to sleep on it and let me know tomorrow?" I said, "Nope." She made me do that anyway, but the next day Flash and I began our partnership for life, and I never looked back.

 Flash receiving his Select Award, Terv National Championship, 2009

Flash receiving his Select Award, Terv National Championship, 2009

Flash was my partner from day one. We were so connected, it made my husband jealous. Flash and I took walks together, trained together, did agility, herding, and conformation together. Every point he earned in the conformation ring, he earned with me at the other end of the leash. Flash had been the last remaining pup of a nine-dog litter, and when I first talked to my breeder on the phone, she had said she wanted to sell him with a "pet only" contract, which meant I wasn't to show him. But several days later, when I went to meet him, he'd somehow morphed into show quality, and she asked if I was willing to show him. I was delighted, because it was something I'd always wanted to do. When he was four months old, I started training with him, and he took to conformation competition like a duck to water. Although he was quite small for a Terv (almost missed the cut-off for showability because of his size), he seemed to rise to new heights as soon as the two of us hit the show ring. It took a while, but he "finished" his championship. Then, when I took him to compete at our national specialty show (he was eight years old), he surprised everyone and beat more than 150 dogs, including some "famous" ones, to be honored with a "Select Award" at the show. My expression in the picture above shows you how I felt about that!

 Moki at eight weeks

Moki at eight weeks

When Flash was a year old, we acquired his half-sister Sizzle. Sizzle was to be my husband's dog, so I stayed away from her, because I wanted him to have the same kind of experience I'd had with Flash. No love at first sight there for me, although Sizzle was a great dog, a talented sheep herder who a few times beat Border Collies in competition. Then, when Sizzle was approaching old age, I made the decision to get another Terv puppy, and so Moki entered my life. My husband had already passed away, so Moki was the first dog I trained and raised by myself. He was eight weeks old when he came home with us.

 Sizzle scolding the young Moki

Sizzle scolding the young Moki

Moki was an adorable puppy, although a handful, chewing everything in sight. I learned to love him, but I never had the same experience of instant love with him that I'd had with Flash.

Flash had died of cancer the previous year, so Sizzle was responsible for showing Moki the ropes. Sometimes she did it with great aplomb, as he traipsed behind her like an obedient little "duckling" until he decided to be a mischievous little duckling. He was lucky he was so cute. Sizzle was good at her job, "correcting" him when she needed to. Most of the time, he behaved, but sometimes he forgot the meaning of the word behave. And smart as he is (and he is smart!) to this day, nine years later, his memory sometimes tends to fail him when it comes to behaving! But he's a great, sweet dog nonetheless and has kept me on my toes for all these years.

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So I'd love to know if you've experienced love at first sight, with a human or some other species. I'm interested. I'm always observing human and canine behavior -- it's data that goes into the mental bank for possible future use in a novel!

And speaking of novels, the next one, Paint It Black, releases on June 9, 2018. Please watch this space for more information about it!