Love for a dog. Easy, right? It wasn’t in the case of Wilson, the yellow lab, also known as JD – Juvenile Delinquent.
When we adopted Wilson, he was about to turn two years old. We were the fourth family he had been with in a period of 20 months.
Now, I’d ever owned a Labrador. My last dog, and best friend, was Duffy, a Golden Retriever. I quickly found out that the breeds are entirely different. While both are known to be chewers, Duffy at least had some restraint. Wilson, on the other hand ate anything! In a very short period of time we lost a Handel’s Messiah score, the cover to one of my favorite journals, the cover to one of my favorite books, an I-Pod, and two pair of eye glasses. Need I go on?
Plus, I learned that Labradors are counter surfers. We learned to not leave anything on the counter that could be eaten. We couldn’t even leave the phone in its cradle when we left the house. Yes, he tried to eat that too.
When we first had Wilson, he hardly wagged his tail. He made very little eye contact and didn’t like to be petted. This behavior was the exact opposite of my Golden Retriever. Duffy was always at my side and lived to be petted. Also, Wilson would be in the other room instead of being in the same room with us.
In addition to the chewing, Wilson turned our serene, nature loving backyard into a murderous hunting ground. We once enjoyed sitting outside watching the bunnies and chipmunks scamper around. Instead, we watched in horror as Wilson went into hunting mode, the likes of a lion chasing an antelope on the Serengeti. Three bunny lives were quickly lost.
Painting this pretty picture could make you understand why Wilson was not exactly lovable, even though he looks adorable as you can see. It could have been very easy to ignore him, or worse, give him away again. But we didn’t do either. We chose to love him.
I refused to own a dog that didn’t wag his tail, want to be petted, or who would not be in the same room from us. So, I showered him with non-stop attention. We went for walks. We played catch. I made it a point to hug him and not let him go and to look him in the eyes. Every night we have a ritual where I petted him and scratched his ears before we went to sleep. I said to him, “Wilson, time to go night night.”
It took over a month of this intense attention. Eventually, he came running to go night night. I’d get down on my hands and knees and he came bounding into my arms. THAT is what love will do.
He no longer went into another room by himself. He would usually be by me or Robert with his head or some part of his body resting on our foot.
We all need love and attention. In spite of Wilson’s poor behavior, we loved him anyway. Wilson taught me what love really means. It’s not about receiving love; it’s about giving love. When we give, when we love, a miracle happens. Love comes back to us.
It was easy to love Duffy because Duffy gave love first.
No wonder Paul wrote in I Corinthians 13:8 & 18 that love never fails. And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.
We lost Wilson to a brain tumor just after Christmas of 2017. For the first time, I’ve been without a dog. It had been a 20-year run between the two of them.
Who can you love that maybe isn’t so loveable today?
Do you know how much you are loved by God? Find out in this free eBook and audio book called Bringing God’s View Into Focus to Live Life with Joy and Flow. Access the downloads through this link or by clicking on the image below.