Happy Tuesday! Did you know that I have a Substack account called Wild Western Wanderers where I share life lessons from the perspective of my dogs? Since Valentine's Day is tomorrow, I figured it's a good time to share the story about loving unconditionally, told from the perspective of my dear Ella. As Josh Billings said “A dog is the only thing on earth that loves you more than he loves himself,” so who better to talk about unconditional love than a dog?
Keep reading for Ella's thoughts on unconditional love. Subscribe to my Substack account for free to read the weekly stories that I post there.
I don’t think anyone knows how to love quite like a dog does. We love our humans unconditionally, even when they hurt us, which unfortunately happens a lot more than it should. I’m lucky that my mom loved me unconditionally too, even when I drove her crazy.
When mom first adopted me, she had to leave our house to go to work during the week. I was lonely without her, but at least I had a doggie door and could go outside in the backyard and keep an eye on the neighborhood. Even though mom always made sure we got out for a walk or jog before or after work, I was thrilled beyond belief when mom finally left that job and started working at home everyday.
Whenever mom returned home, even if she had just gone to the grocery store, I would greet her with enthusiasm – lots of tail-wagging, barking, and even an occasional kiss. I didn’t care if it was three minutes or three days, I wanted her to know how happy I was to see her. Mom did still travel even after she started working at home – probably less than she wanted, but definitely more than I wanted. When she came back from a trip, I would wrap my paws around her arm to hold her there. I would shake and whine to let her know just how much I had missed her.
Even though I wasn’t what one might consider a cuddly dog, I loved to sit close by and have mom pet me. If she would stop before I was satisfied that I had sufficiently calmed her nervous system by letting her pet my head and touch my soft ears, I would nuzzle her hand with my nose to put her hand back onto my head. Mom absolutely loved my ears, and really enjoyed how silky-soft they were.
I took care of my mom, and tried to let her know when I thought she was spending time with someone who didn’t treat her right. She had one boyfriend in particular who I did not approve of. When we arrived at his place for a visit, I would jump out of the car and run away from his house. His sister lived down the block, and she was good people, so I would head there instead. Mom finally listened to me, and one night after a big fight, during which he scared me with his shouting, we left and never went back.
Dogs have a sense about people, and know the good ones from the not-so-good ones. When mom started dating a third boyfriend named John, I liked him right away. All my signals to mom about him were positive, and lucky for both of us, she listened to me again. He soon was part of our family, and eventually became my dad. He loves mom just as much as I do, and takes good care of her. I felt comfortable leaving her in his care when it was time for me to leave my Earthly body.
I still watch over my family, and am glad they adopted another dog about a year after we said goodbye. My sister Mala has plenty of love to give, but I could tell the new puppy was an important piece of healing mom’s heart after her loss of me. Tessie cuddles with her, and has a spunky attitude that reminds her of me.
I wish all humans would learn to love as much as dogs do, but I understand sometimes their life circumstances can cause them pain, making it hard to love. But, love is what we are all born with; it’s just a matter of unlearning the fear that the world can cause, and opening your heart again. Having a dog companion in your life can help in that regard. We can remind you what it means to love, and how good it feels to not only receive love, but to give it as well.
I hope you enjoyed this piece. For a weekly story from Ella (and sometimes Mala and Tessie) subscribe to the Wild Western Wanderers substack.