top of page
  • lessonsfromadog1

Don't Be Afraid to Love Someone

Walk into any shelter and you will inevitably see dogs jumping around in their kennels with tails wagging, tongues hanging out, perhaps even barking.  Sure, you may have the few pups that are scared and shut down (I always encourage folks visiting the shelters to make sure and give those ones a chance too!).  However, most of the dogs you see are excited, happy, and just want LOVE.  I’m not just talking about getting love.  More than anything, I’m talking about GIVING love.

It is often said among dog lovers that we humans do not deserve the unconditional love that dogs have to offer. In many cases, I would have to say I agree with this statement.  After all, we humans certainly have our faults.  We can pass judgement, get impatient with others, lash out, and argue over trivial things.  What do our dogs really do though?  Well, none of that. 

Now don’t get me wrong, there are a lot of people out there that deal with “behavior issues” with their dogs.  However, and this is a hill I am willing to die on, except for the rare cases where a dog has true mental wiring issues, the rest of the doggy “behavior issues” are a result of lack of exercise, lack of training, and a dog’s inability to understand how to live in a human’s world because it hasn’t been taught how to. 

Alas, I digress here.  What this really is about is love.  The love dogs are so willing to give and the love that humans are so hesitant to give.

How many times have you questioned loving someone?  Perhaps it was at the start of a romantic relationship.  Maybe you had a “wall” up and were afraid to get hurt as you had in the past, so you push away someone who cares about you.  Perhaps it was when trying to blend a family.  Relationships with in-laws, step-children, and any other family member you acquire “through marriage” (maybe not even your own;  maybe another family member’s) can often be slow to grow if you are not willing to jump in head first.  Perhaps it was when someone befriended you and you pushed them aside because of some sort of prejudice. 

Now, do you think those happy-go-lucky, tail-wagging dogs at the shelter are going to question loving someone?  Even if they’ve been hurt before, do you think they are giving up on humans for good?  If they come into your home and bond with you first, do you think they will not like your future spouse when he or she moves in?  If they meet a co-worker of yours, will they turn their nose up because that person is of a different political party/religion/race/etc.?  I can most assuredly give you the answer….no!

Recently, I fostered a dog that was the absolute perfect example of this unconditional love.  Snow was a boxer mix that was picked up as a stray in Cleveland.  She was HORRIBLY emaciated.  Every single one of her ribs showed, her hip bones sharply protruded, and she had a weakened gait due to lack of muscle mass.   To top it off she had pressure sores on her sides (probably from laying down for long periods of time with no muscle to cushion her bones against her skin).  She also had an eye condition that required surgical repair that had kept her in pain her whole life. In short, this poor dog was a mess.  Whoever she had lived with starved her, allowed her to live in pain (the eye condition), and gave no care whatsoever to her physical condition. 

Would you like to know what she did though when I first met her at the shelter?  She walked right up to me with her tail wagging, melted into my arms, and gave me all the kisses she had energy for.  Snow didn’t care that some other human was unkind to her.  She didn’t think about the fact that she didn’t know me well yet.  She certainly didn’t reject the love and attention I was trying to offer.  Instead, she lived in the moment, accepted the attention with open paws, and loved back with all her might.  (Sidenote, Snow then went on to make a full recovery and was adopted into a wonderful home where she, without hesitation, also loved her new family with all her might.)

There’s a lot we can learn from dogs like Snow.  We can learn not to judge, not to hold grudges, and not to dwell on the past. Instead, we can learn that it’s okay to give love even if we’ve been hurt before.  We can learn it’s okay to trust even if someone in our past has treated us poorly.  We can learn to welcome others into our lives with open arms, and without taking the time to assess whether or not they are worthy of our love. 

Just think.  If we all loved like Snow, how much better would our lives be? 

57 views1 comment

Recent Posts

See All

1 Comment

Erin Levay
Erin Levay
Mar 13

Very well said and so true!!

bottom of page