Find a Good Lap!

Brain Injury Blog by Marie Cooney

March 31, 2011

Find a Good Lap!

When I was a little girl, I already knew what Tucker had to teach me after I got hurt: Find a good lap! Not just any lap. Find a good lap. Tucker helped me remember there were lots and lots of very good laps: sitting on my mommy’s lap reading a good book, galloping on my daddy’s lap pretending I was a wild horse, and snuggling with my sisters talking about this and that.

I loved cuddling in my grandmother’s lap and touching the softness of her face, or running to my grandfather’s strong and opened embrace, then flying high above his head like an airplane and landed gently, once again, in his lap, of course. Big laps! Little laps! Lots and lots of laps! Cousins, friends, and neighbors too, there were good laps everywhere. All I needed to do was find one, or two, or three or more. Any lap I liked would do. And I liked lots and lots of laps.

Dogs are pretty smart. Tucker always knew when he had found a good lap! Tucker also knew which laps to avoid. He wouldn’t go anywhere near those laps. With animals, they say it is instinct. With people, they call it intuition. Either way, it’s the way of knowing something, without any rhyme or reason, just because you know it. And that is that! No questions asked.

Tucker rarely contemplated if it were a good lap or a bad lap. He just knew. But every now and then, Tucker didn’t know for sure. So he would wait or test the water. Sometimes Tucker waited for an unexplainable signal, that only he knew, that told him all was well, run the other way, or simply wait for another day.

Tucker liked lots and lots of laps, just like me! He liked Kris’ lap, and not just because she taught him to catch popcorn flying through the air. Tucker loved to snuggle with Sammy, his best dog-friend. They even shared a bone! I suppose best friends are like sharing treats and snacks. Then there was Sharon’s lap. She loved playing with Tucker and never seemed to mind his wet not pushed into her lap. Some people find this offensive, but not dog lovers.

Then there is me, of course! Mine was the very best lap of all, but not the only one. Tucker knew he could put his head in my lap just to say hello, to let me know he liked me, he needed some attention, he was hungry, or he needed to go out. Tucker always knew he could snuggle in my lap. He loved to snuggle in my lap and go to sleep. It was a nice place, a warm place, a safe place to be. And I liked it too, when Tucker snuggled with me.

Sometimes Tucker had to wait, no matter how much he wanted to be in my lap. Coming to the dinner table, while I was eating, wasn’t a good idea. But if I were sitting on the floor, eating a bowl of ice cream while watching television, maybe, just maybe, he could put his head in my lap and wait. If he waited patiently, maybe he also got a snack. Tucker like licking ice cream bowls, just as much as I did.

Occasionally, Tucker found a not so good lap. He never would have put his head on the angry man, who chased us down the street. Instead, Tucker bared his teeth and defended me. Dogs are very good friends to have at your side, when crossing paths with someone very mean. Tucker helped me a few times, when I was very scared.

Tucker, however, wouldn’t put his head in the lap of a frightened child. Instead he would wait and wait and wait, patiently, well sort of patiently, even if his whole body squirmed with delight. Tucker loved children very much. He would wait in the down position until the child came to him, if and only if the child felt safe. Sometimes Tucker had to wait a long time for children to come to him. But making new friends sometimes takes lots of time. That’s okay.

Yes! Tucker taught me what I already knew, but then forgot, when I was really sad and depressed after my accident. It’s okay. Don’t be afraid. Find a good lap! There are lots and lots of laps around. Sometimes you can dive right into a very good lap. For others, you might have to wait. Some laps aren’t so good, and it’s okay to run the other way. It’s even okay to defend yourself when necessary. Trust yourself. Listen to your intuition. Don’t be afraid to try again. No matter how young or old you may be, if you keep looking, you will FIND A GOOD LAP! One or two, or three or four, and even more. Any laps will do, so long as you decide. Always!

4 responses to “Find a Good Lap!”

  1. Marilyn Lash says:

    Our dog is also named Tucker and yes, he is a good judge of laps as well. Dogs can teach us people a lot!

  2. Marie G. Cooney says:

    Thank you, Janet and Roxanne. I appreciate your reading my blog and leaving a comment.

  3. Janet Cromer says:

    Tucker is a very wise dog, and you are a very wise woman!

  4. Roxanne says:

    Yes! Never underestimate the power of a good lap. And, the healing power of unconditional love from animals.

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