I have become that woman: the one who misses her animals so much that she kisses the animals of strangers.
Example 1: Isabella the St. Bernard.
She was beautiful and the first really big dog I’d seen in this neighborhood composed entirely of highrises. Though we have a lake view, we do not have places for dogs to exercise, so all the high energy dogs I’d seen looked uncomfortably bulky. Isabella was just right, probably because St. Bernards mostly just lay around all day, burning calories sleeping and drooling. As she walked right toward me on my way to work, big, drooly mouth in a doggie grin, I couldn’t resist. “CanIpetyourdog?” I said in a rush, even as I squatted down to give her a big hug. Her person was kind and understanding as I chatted his ear off, eventually moving out of the way so they could get back to whatever they actually needed to do. But not before I kissed her sweet, furry noggin.
Example 2: Lucy the contraband kitten.
She dashed out of another apartment on my floor in the highrise, which DOES NOT ALLOW CATS. (Believe me, I checked). Slightly drunk on good food and wine, I paused while unlocking my door and asked, “Would you let me cuddle that kitten?” When he said yes, I went to their door and put my arms out. She was tiny, with a fast beating heart and black bunny fur. She didn’t struggle in my arms, but looked around interestedly until I kissed her and handed her over.