All We Need for a Happy Summer

If anyone has seen my Facebook feed this summer and not purposely hidden my posts, they must have a soft spot for puppies. Our chocolate lab, Cocoa, gave birth to eight squirmy, healthy babies—six chocolates and two vanillas—in early June. While not completely effortless, it seemed very quiet and blessedly normal for her, a first-time mom. Our tweens were in the room when they realized she had given birth to the first one, “We heard a lot of licking noises!” While they didn’t want to stay for all of them, they were on cloud nine that evening.

First it looked like this.


And then this.

And then . . .

“Cloud nine” came to visit, and it stayed. It hasn’t left yet. Once the pups were a few weeks old, we opened our home to neighbors and friends who just wanted to come hold them. A few actually came to choose one to join their family, which was great, but we didn’t require that only potential buyers could come visit. I’ve always enjoyed having people over, especially the ones who don’t care if my kitchen is spotless, but we kind of live “up north” beyond the big city. Not on most people’s drive home, you know? But they came, and are still coming.

Another one:

In four weeks we’ve had over a dozen puppy-cuddling, puppy-breath-smelling, fur-stroking, silly-crooning- baby-noises friends plus their kids at the house. I have been saying we live in endorphin heaven—though I really meant Oxytocin. You know, the love hormone, the cuddle chemical, the bliss-causing feature that makes us float just a little everywhere we go. My kids are addicted. They are (mostly) silly and kind and joking with each other, getting along in an astounding manner. (These are teens and tweens, folks.)

Oxytocin wasn’t discovered during Bible times, so you won’t find that word in the scriptures. But the feeling we get when we hold a silky, soft, adorable canine baby seems awfully close to heavenly. No conflict, no tears, all comfort and peace, smiles and laughter, and happiness. I’ve been calling this our happy summer. These puppies have seen me through a job loss, making the sting a little less painful. They’ve brought silent comfort to some of their visitors and a lot of smiles to all of them.

When they first arrived, I shared a few pics on Facebook to let friends and family know about it, and by the second day I thought, “That’s probably enough for awhile. I don’t want to overdose everyone on puppies.” But even as I was thinking that, several messages came up saying, “Bring on the puppies! We want more!”

If you insist.

Flash and Ranger, Boomer and Zaccheus (because he was a ‘wee little man’), and the girls Lizzy and Jane, Pearl and Cherry Coke (I don’t know, so don’t ask). These sweet creatures have become a symbol, to me anyway, of choosing to spread light whenever possible. I have received dozens of comments from dozens of FB friends and acquaintances sharing how much they have enjoyed watching them grow up via the photos I’ve shared. They keep asking for more and commenting on the photos, expressing the smiles and joy those little guys have brought to them.

You may not have a litter of puppies or kittens in your home. But you have something good, something positive, something lovely in your life that others need to see or hear about. Fight the cynicism of our age with light and joy—and share with others.

“Finally brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable—if there is any moral excellence and if there is anything praiseworthy—dwell on these things” (Philippians 4:8).