My dogs, Titan and Sox have an amazing relationship. Their love story began just under four years ago and watching them interact makes even the most cold-hearted and jaded of humans believe in unconditional admiration.
The scene wasn’t out of a Hollywood movie; there was no Tiffany & Co. and no grabbing for the same pair of cashmere gloves at Bloomies. It was a strip mall in Fairfax and there were a number of deserving dogs in need of a best friend.
I was nervous. I already owned Titan, a very submissive puppy. I was afraid he would be rejected — or worse — beaten up. I imagine I felt like parents do when taking their kids to school for the first time. I hoped he would have a good time and would be accepted by his peers, but I was afraid because I knew him to be kind of a pansy.
It turns out Titan, while a bit of a chicken, is also quite the lady’s man. He spotted Sox on the approach and made a beeline for her. Titan was in love.
Still, I did my best to introduce Titan to as many dogs as I could. Picture speed dating on a leash. I talked him through each encounter. “What a pretty black lab mix. You guys would play all day!” I didn’t really care who we adopted so long as Titan was happy.
He wasn’t having it. He wasn’t interested in the black lab mix or any other dog. It had been love at first sight. He had to have Sox and kept pulling me toward her until I gave her the chance she deserved. Before I knew it, I too was in love with a bloodhound.
Sox was overwhelmed by all of the attention. At six months and 36 pounds, she was all ears and the softest, prettiest fur I had ever seen. Her long, beautiful tail waved freely, its tip dipped white. She had many suitors but ultimately Titan and I took her home.
To tell you I had never seen Titan so happy doesn’t do their first day together justice. Delight, euphoria, bliss, and even adoration are words I would use to describe what he felt that day. Sox was confused but jovial. She had wandered the Virginia countryside for the first six months of her life and all of a sudden found herself in an entirely new environment. She had to learn to interact with humans, play nice with her new buddy and navigate staircases in a home that she could not use as her toilet. It was a lot for her to take in but she made herself at home soon enough.
Today, seeing them together sometimes takes my breath away. I oftentimes find them cuddling and even spooning. Sox is always the big spoon because she outgrew Titan somewhere along the way. They play fair, taking turns mounting, chasing and pinning each other down. They sooth each other when they are afraid, keep each other healthy with loving grooming and nibbling sessions, and, most incredibly, respect each others’ boundaries.
It didn’t happen overnight, but Titan and Sox have allowed each other control of certain aspects of their life together. Sox is in charge of toys and Titan isn’t to play with them without her permission. Titan owns the couch and invites Sox onto it most of the time. Their food and treats are sacred and neither dares take edibles away from the other. They never fight or growl; a simple look is all it takes for them to assert their position.
Titan adores Sox despite her tomboyish strut, chunky joules and loud snoring. He doesn’t judge her when she acts out in public or licks herself inappropriately. And, Sox loves Titan despite his prissy prance, tiny effeminate paws and complete and utter neurosis. She’s even patient with him on walks as he tries to mark everything in sight.
I’ve always believed in “the one” and have no doubt that Titan and Sox have found their soul mate. To think it all started in a simple strip mall.
Alexandria resident Isabel Alvarez owns The Wag Pack, a professional pet services company. The National Association of Professional Pet Sitters recently named the Wag Pack its business of the year.