Recently I had to spend three days in Rocky View Hospital (RVH) due to an unexpected and unwanted kidney stone. Although excruciatingly painful at the time, all is now well and life goes on. The reason I’m telling you this is that I feel sometimes we all need an unplanned event to happen in our lives to truly appreciate what we have under “normal” circumstances. Because of the significant delay between arriving at RVH and surgery being performed, there were many texts and emails sent and received but one stood out for me.
On the first morning of my being incapacitated, my wife Marilyn contacted me to say that Finn was going up and down the stairs and checking in every room, trying to find dad. He was convinced that dad had to be here somewhere because dad is always there in the mornings. How else could he have his daily morning snuggle with dad if dad wasn’t there? I am reminded of our two kids when they were young, snuggling in with mom and dad in their bed first thing in the morning.
On returning after three days, Finn was obviously glad to see me but he didn’t go bat crazy. What I soon realized though was that everywhere I went he would be there at my heel or on my lap. In his mind he had “lost” dad before and he was going to do whatever he could not to “lose” him again.
Is there any better feeling than when a living creature expresses in their own way that they want to spend time with you? As with anything meaningful in life, to develop this type of loving relationship takes time and effort. But, in my opinion, the effort and time invested in your dog is repaid in spades over time. Moreover, if anyone was to ask you whether you feel you have a successful life, to be able to turn to them and say you have the love of your dog means you have been successful in this game of life.
Dogs may not be able to speak our language but they have a remarkable ability to communicate. And when it comes to expressing their love for someone, you would have to be missing a pulse not to understand what your dog is trying to convey to you. The message is unsubtle, “in your face” and very black and white. And the great thing is, from a human perspective, the love they give is unconditional.
But the love of a dog doesn’t necessarily end if someone dies. I am reminded of examples where an owner dies but their dog continues to visit their grave on a daily basis. The dogs are unwilling and sometimes unable to let go of the love they still feel for their owners. One can only hope that the grieving process will give these dogs the peace they are seeking.
These YouTube links are only two of many examples of dogs’ endearing love for their owners:
It is of no surprise that dogs are known as “man’s best friend”. They want our love and we need theirs.