White Dog can barely contain her amazement when people see the White Dog Army all together and say, "How can you tell them apart?" She thinks me too patient when I reply that a momma never confuses her children, that each is different and unique.
What I really want to tell these curious humans is to kneel and hold White Dog in your arms. Close your eyes and bury your face in her thick silky furs that have just the tiniest bit of a wave to them. Now hold Ferguson and feel his short thick hairs that provide a pillow for your cheek. Or Puff's thinning but downy soft coat.
Keep those eyes closed, I want to say. Cup YoYoMa's face in your hands. Do you feel him press against you in sort of a face hug? Bella turns her head to prevent beng enveloped but she stretches toward your fingers as you smooth the side of her muzzle. Nilla lifts her face so you can stroke her throat.
Satchi's wheezey little way of breathing can never be mistaken for Nilla's gentle snore or Zsofia's throaty grunts as she sleeps. Puff sleeps so soundlessly that at her age sometimes I worry until I hear her shift. I can sit in the dark at night and hear each of the individual elements of the White Dog Army Sleep Symphony.
Nilla is the one rediscovering the joy of being brushed and sitting on laps. Yo is my stable partner so confident that he can set aside his ego and walk away from trouble. Puff has a feral look she now uses to punctuate her opinions. Bella is my timid mouse that roars and is alwas at my side. Sachi is the fierce warrior protector of our house...and our silly clown. Zsofia is our vocal teenager still learning, and testing, her own magic. Ferguson has the most engaging smile as he so very patiently waits for the mere sight of Steve.
And White Dog is a natural leader, a problem solver, way more capable than people think of dogs as being. She and I have shared the entirety of her life; I am certain that if I were in a room of mirrors and eight million WD clones, that I would find her without distraction.
How can I tell them apart? I want to say...the heart knows, it is as simple as that. And your question, I long to reveal, isn't even the magical one. What you SHOULD ask me is "How can they all fit together so incredibly?"