“And then…came in throngs the whelps, the puppies, the cubs, whatever you called them. Suddenly his mood changed. They were jolly little things. He laid his head on one black head and smiled; the creature scurried away.”

C.S. Lewis, Out of the Silent Planet, 64.

My childhood dog, an Australian Shepherd named Princess had two litters of puppies.

I was not one of the cool kids in school. I wasn’t one of the outcasts, either. Just humming along in the central caste trying not to let my stock slip with too much awkwardness. Exhausting work really.

When it came to girls, I didn’t have a clue. Two fundamental reasons for this: (1) No sisters; and (2) No older brothers (I’m the oldest of three boys).

I had friendships with girls–but when it came to the mysteries of comprehending who liked whom or how to ask someone out or how to understand clues or drop hints–all of this was completely opaque to me.

On a whim I asked some girls if they would like to come over to the house to see the puppies.

A huge success. One of those girls is now my wife–she still remembers “going to see the puppies” as one of our earliest pre-dating encounters.

What is it about puppies? They have universal appeal–such that if we find the rare person who doesn’t like puppies, we immediately suspect that person as having a problem, certainly not the puppies. Even people who claim not to be dog people still like puppies.

Why? There’s something about their tumbling, playful, cuteness that draws us in, changes our mood, makes us temporarily insane enough to have to keep one right now.

It’s wonderful, really.