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Sometimes I don’t think that I know what joy is.  I occasionally feel it myself, like when I wake up to find out that I get a snow day, or when I pull off a spectacular kill in Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood.  But I find it a fleeting emotion, never found when actively sought, always a pleasant surprise and never a lasting one.

My daughter, on the other hand, excels at joy.

This weekend, she found joy in a pair of Bullmastiffs.  Their names are Tikka and Diesel, and they are hundred-pound half-siblings that belong to my step-sister’s boyfriend.  Erin and I were a bit apprehensive about Abby crawling around in a house with four large animals (my dad and stepmother already own a pair of labs), but we shouldn’t have been worried.

Tikka and Diesel, like all Bullmastiffs I have met, are a couple of giant softies, pleasant and patient and gentle as lambs with my eight-month-old daughter.  Abby was fascinated by them, received many wet kisses from Diesel, and seemed to really enjoy spooking herself by petting them.  In fact, she seemed to take a page out of Shenzi’s book:

Erin and I laughed quite a bit as Abby slowly, tentatively reached out to touch the dogs, then screeched and recoiled and giggled the second she brushed their fur with her hand.  Then she’d do it all again.

Thanks, Tikka and Diesel.  The world would be a better place if everyone could find that kind of joy in a couple of big dogs.

Tikka. Short, stocky, and laid-back.

Diesel. Tall, forward, and loving.

Abby loving on Tikka while Auntie Lauren looks on.