Thursday, April 6, 2017

The Eyes Have It

How does anyone visit an animal shelter, without wanting to take a puppy home? I don't know the answer to that because during my very first visit to Anderson Animal Shelter, it was love at first sight when I saw the cutest little puppy I'd ever laid eyes on.

When Chuck and I walked through the doors that swung into the adoptable dog section of shelter, we heard barking and whining echoing off the walls. There are so many pets waiting to find their forever homes.

"How will we ever choose just one?" I wondered. 

One dog kept leaping in the air, and I laughed each time I saw her head clear the top of her kennel. There were darling little shepherd mixes pressing their noses against the cage, and they licked our fingers when we reached in to touch them. A pair of dogs were stretched out on the floor of their cage, sleeping peacefully. Newly weaned puppies cried for their mamas. There were Lab mixes, Beagle mixes, and mixed mixes. And then I saw him.

Mercury was definitely the biggest puppy in a large litter of grey pups. Most of them were sleeping in a dog pile in the corner of their enclosure. The big, solid grey puppy waddled over to the middle of the cage, and looked up at me. His eyes! 

Mercury had the bluest eyes, and he didn't take them off of me. He fixed those baby blues on my own, as he plopped down on his butt, and he kept right on staring at me as he slumped onto the floor, resting his chin on his paws. This was the one. This was the only puppy for me in the whole wide world. 

As you know, I gave Mercury the new name of Bristol the day I adopted him. You also know we realized we couldn't choose just one. Chuck was happy to let me have Bristol, but he had his heart set on finding a little Lab to call his own.

When we met Julie, she was a spunky little black pup with a white chest and white paws. She was listed as a Retriever/Labrador mix, and that's all Chuck needed to hear. 

The night we met her, Julie fetched the ball dutifully, and happily returned the ball to whichever one of us threw it. Definitely sounds like a Lab, right? Let's just say she was a smart girl to retrieve so beautifully that night because she has shown no further interest in playing fetch in the two months we've had her.

Sami has beautiful brown eyes that are full of mischief when she is playful, and seem so contemplative when she is relaxing. 

My friend Cheryl said, "Bristol looks to me to be the eyes of age," referencing the song, "Mr. Bojangles." He does have an old soul presence, and those gorgeous eyes that seem more grey than blue these days, still melt me.

Just looking into our puppies' eyes makes me love them even more; there's even scientific evidence to back me on this. Scientists in Japan at Azabu University conducted a study that proves that when we humans stare into the eyes of our dogs, we develop a bond with each other. When dogs and their owners spent time interacting, the levels of oxytocin (the love hormone associated with nurturing and attachment) increased in the dogs 130%, and in the humans, 300%! No wonder I love looking into the eyes of Bristol and Sami. 

If the eyes are the window to the soul, it is my privilege to look into the sweetest little dog souls ever.


  1. So lovely. Today I was talking to a woman about volunteering at a cat shelter and I thought I'd end up wanting to bring them all home (already have one and not much space). I'm sure it's the same when we look into the eyes of our cats.

    1. Valerie, I'm sure you are right. Did you decide to volunteer at the shelter?


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