It’s easy to get caught up in all of the butterfly feelings that love can cause, and I am not one to deny that those are great! But the love I am going to try and describe below is so much deeper. My post today is about the lessons my deaf dog, Douglas has taught me about love in our short seven months together.
True love will always find a way – Doug was a blurry thumbnail picture on a small pet rescue site. True love will always find its’ way to its rightful owner. It takes a lot of patience and faith but don’t stop believing.
Love cannot just be spoken to be heard: you have to show it – Having a deaf dog requires me to get up, find Doug, and SHOW him through sign language or touch that I love him or need him to do something. I can’t just bark an order or statement at him and expect him to react accordingly. This is true in all loving relationships; you often have to get up and gesture a loving act for it to really be heard.
Love has to be patient and kind – “Love is patient. Love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud” — 1 Corinthians 13:4. Because when it is not these things, it is the opposite. When you approach situations and relationships with a truly loving heart, your world will be changed and the moments that seem too hard will feel doable.
Love is selfless – Before Doug, I thought I had been selfless. I thought I had given my relationships my everything, but this is not the case. With Doug, I give 100% of myself to him every single day. I stay up all night with him if he is sick, taking him out every 1-2 hours in the single digit temps. I get up every morning (weekends included) between 5-7am for his first walk of the day. I give up social outings to give him my love and the play time he deserves. I pay attention to all of the details that no one else would notice, so I know the second he isn’t feeling well and needing special care. I blindly spend thousands of dollars on him to meet his medical and dietary needs. I cut my own hair so I can pay for his $150 grooming visits every 6-8 weeks! hahaha. I give up 75% of the bed, so he will be comfortable at night. I kiss and hug him every time I see him, so he knows I am his and he is mine. Can you imagine what your relationships would be like if you poured into them this type of effort and love?
Love forgives even in the most stressful situations – Doug has torn up a brand new leather couch, destroyed trash cans, soiled the carpet about a million times, scratched doors, and ruined my clothes. Each time something happens I have a moment of, “why did I put myself in this situation” and “did I do the right thing by adopting him.” But each of those moments is quickly followed up with a “Doug Hug” or the look he gives me when he finally finds me in the house. When you truly love someone, the bad moments are often outweighed by the good. Sure, it may take a while to get over them and some of them you will probably never forget, but you forgive and move on.
Love has no capacity – Just when I think Doug can’t possibly do anything to make my love grow bigger, he surprises me. Love will prove to you that there are infinite possibilities of how love works.
Love will teach you things about the world – True love should challenge you and inspire growth in a positive direction. Doug is definitely different from other dogs by the way he physically looks and the fact he can’t hear. I learned very quickly that Doug’s differences can make people uncomfortable. When someone told me I couldn’t be at the dog park because Doug was deaf, I about lost my mind. I was angry and sad. I wanted to slap her for telling me he shouldn’t be there! But more saddened that Doug will not get to have all of the same experiences as other dogs because he is deaf and almost always needs a leash on in public. Doug now wears a deaf dog collar all of the time, so I can show people there is nothing to be afraid of, and he is just as smart as a hearing dog.
Each day with Doug is a new experience. He has brought more joy to my life than he will ever know. He has softened my heart and made me more patient and compassionate towards others. His love for me and my love for him is limitless.