When I think of my pets, current and past, I smile over the places I have uniquely kissed each of them.
I still feel against my lips the fur of those that have left this life. I can still see and feel their responses to my loving pecks placed upon them.
Beside my bed, framed on the wall, is a drawing I composed of my cat Forest’s nose, cheeks and lips. I see it when I go to sleep and when I wake, just as I see his real pink nose beside my pillow as he sleeps beside my head. I kiss him on this pink nose, and he pushes it against my lips wanting more. That wet nose and his cheeks just beside his eyes are the places I often plant my kisses.
When I kissed my cats Jack Sparrow and Joan of Arc on the nose, they purred with whiskers flaring forward and eyes wide, begging for more. Last year I lost them both at ages 17 and 20.
My Brittany spaniel, Speckles who died in 2007 always received a kiss on the temple. I treasure an image I took of him as I kissed him on his grey head a few months before he died.
Next came my dog Trucker who died in 2017. I remember his brown eyes that showed exhaustion and worry when I adopted him. I often kissed his closed eyelids as he relaxed in my hands.
Then came Angel, my adopted senior dog who is now 15. She also receives kisses on the temples. However, the spot I am drawn to is her forehead, that unique sloping area between the eyes. It’s a space not easy to plant a kiss straight-on unless you position your lips and chin just right.
Recently, I received a gift from a friend that depicts this kiss that I give to Angel. It is a carved wood statue of me and Angel as I am on my knees, kissing her on the forehead. That piece sits on the top of my refrigerator, beside her cookie jar full of treats, so I always see a reminder of our bond.
I’m not the only one drawn to kiss that little slope between Angel’s eyes.
Angel and I took a walk one evening and met two little boys maybe ages 5 and 7. They hurried across a yard asking, “Can I pet your dog?”
When I first adopted Angel, she seemed shy when children approached her. Quickly she learned to accept their affection. Now she is drawn to children, and vice versa.
The littlest boy asked me, “What is her name?”
I told him, “Angel.” That made him laugh and say, “Because she looks like an angel.”
He asked me, “Can I give her a kiss?”
I had no idea how she would react when I said, “Yes.” Magically, he was drawn to the same place that I kiss her. He put one hand on each side of her face, holding her gently, and kissed her in the middle of her forehead.
Angel seemed to smile, and I had tears in my eyes.
Another neighborhood boy, Oliver has formed a beautiful bond with Angel. In the summer he watches for her when I take her for a walk. Angel always wants to walk up to him. He pets her, hugs her, talks to her gently and kisses her on the head or temple.
I believe that pets learn to associate a kiss with affection and love. They obviously do not know the nuances behind a human kiss, but they can tell if it comes with adoration.
I came across information online that explained places on the body where people plant a kiss, and what those kisses mean. Even though these definitions are human focused, they apply to the kisses I place on my pets.
- A kiss on the forehead is an expression of friendship and admiration.
- A gentle kiss on closed eyelids (known as an “angel kiss”) shows that you love someone deeply.
- If you hold someone’s face gently in the palms of your hands while kissing them, it means you want to keep them safe.
- A kiss placed on the top of the head is a protective, nurturing sign.
- A peck on the nose means you like someone and think they are cute. This kind of kiss is guaranteed to make you smile.
- Placing a kiss on someone’s cheek is a friendly greeting.
- A kiss on the temple means someone wants to protect and care for you.
I can relate to a quote I saw on social media about kissing your pets. It said, “Before you go to bed each night, give each one of your cats two kisses. One kiss for your cat and the other kiss for a kitten or cat who has no one to kiss it goodnight.”
I routinely find myself kissing Angel or Forest and saying, “I love you” followed by additional kisses and speaking the name of each of my pets that have left this life. It amounts to six more kisses that my pets accept with contentment. Somewhere, I believe, their spirits still receive my love.
If your dog or cat is accepting, shower them with smooches. It’s part of your extraordinary bond and shows that you love them.