I am very fond of dogs. Perhaps it’s because, in my mind, they are fond of me.
My definition of unconditional love is the greeting I get from my dog when I walk through the door at night. No person has ever been that excited to see me. Merriam-Webster could save some print by just publishing a picture of a dog as its definition of unconditional love. The same picture could be used for understanding, empathy, loyalty, and companionship.
Joy is also an attribute that dogs have figured out. How else can you explain the thumping tail when you rub a dog’s belly just the right way? If you have seen a dog lay down in the sunny spot on a winter’s day and just drop off to sleep, you understand trust. Compassion – just look into those big brown eyes when your day has gone to hell. Don’t tell me a dog can’t understand language.
I just wish I could be as good a friend to people as my dog is to me. It seems to me there are some deep and profound lessons in the relationship between a human and their dog that we could use bridge to our human to human relationships.
Think about it. How powerful is unconditional love? Sure, I get mad when my dog eats the couch, but at the end of the day, who watches football with me? That perspective on relationships could cure a few cold nights between humans. Same goes for companionship. There is a lot to be said to just being together and enjoying a fire. It’s okay to be quiet and just sit. I don’t think I can work the belly rub into this one, but you get the point.
How interesting it is that we can treat an animal better than our own kind. Why is that? I suspect the answer is in the expectation. I find that people who get dogs also seem to do better in other relationships. Perhaps it is because they listen to their dogs.
I love the bumper sticker “Wag More, Bark Less.” It has nothing to do with dogs and everything to do with us.