Maybe you’ve heard that song from Billy Currington called “Like My Dog”? A guy sings that he wishes his lady loved him in the same way his dog loved him. Without reservation, without complaint, without cost.
Now I have to admit it’s pretty great to have our dogs go nuts over us whenever we come home. When we came back after a few days away recently, I thought Lucy was going to turn inside out with joy to see the Wise Man. They don’t criticize us (though they DO express certain opinions, especially as to the advisability of sharing whatever food is on the kitchen counter), and they don’t make demands.
But I hope no one ever loves me like my dog does, uncritically and without reservation. We think we want that–but only because we’re lazy and don’t want the real challenge of opening our hearts to someone else, with all their faults and needs and human failings. Dogs excel at forgiveness because they have no ego and nothing to prove. We’re bad at forgiveness because we have both. We can learn something from our dogs, but I hope we’re not crazy enough to settle for that from the people we love and who love us. Sometimes I need those furry kisses even when I don’t deserve them, but it makes me a better person to have to earn the human smiles with decent behavior.