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What does the particular phrasing "We loved the idea of..." mean?

We loved the idea of them (a puppy and a girl) being similar in age and just watching them grow together.

Does it mean at a particular time in the past, they loved an idea that hadn't been put into action yet? Or does it mean whenever they thought of the two being similar in age (even after the idea had been in action already), they felt pleased?

Here's the context. Which reading do you think is the right one?

Time and again, studies show that babies and puppies who grow up together are happier, healthier, and more well-rounded. A baby girl named Hazel and her little Siberian Husky pal, Rio were fast friends from the very beginning. When little Hazel was just an infant, her parents brought Rio into the family. Rio and Hazel’s owners called it the “honeymoon period” because the duo fell head over heels in love.

“We loved the idea of them being similar in age and just watching them grow together,” their mom said. Wherever Hazel goes, little Rio is always close behind. The little pup even learned how beneficial it is to sit beside Hazel’s high chair when she eats snacks. He dutifully looks up at his human sister and waits for her to drop something yummy his way. The pooch even knows when Hazel has her snack cup.

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Loved refers to that past, since it's in past tense.

Or often it refers to an idea that we all loved, but didn't happen/work. Actually, usually that's what it means.

This case it's a bit of a broad sentence, it could be either that the idea of "a puppy and a girl" growing together didn't happen, but they really loved that if it happened. Or it could be that the puppy and the girl already are older, and they were mentioning the good experiences from the past of watching them grow together.

The above are the two most probable possibilities of what this sentence could mean.

To be honest, this sentence isn't super grammatical... There are definitely different ways to express his/her sentence.

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  • On your second reading, does "idea" mean the act of thinking (to the past) about an event?
    – Apollyon
    Sep 25 at 4:41
  • @Apollyon Yeah. That it happened in the past. Sep 25 at 4:41
  • The way the word "idea" is used on the second reading is really strange to speakers of other languages.
    – Apollyon
    Sep 25 at 4:55
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    Basically, it means something like 'We loved the act of thinking to the past . . ."
    – Apollyon
    Sep 25 at 4:56
  • @Apollyon Yes! That's is the most probable, check my last sentence of the edit, the sentence isn't super clear. Sep 25 at 4:57
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The baby's parents bought the puppy because (at the time) they thought it would be wonderful for the girl and dog to grow up together - so that is your first meaning. However, there is nothing to suggest that they didn't also continue to like the idea.

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