For the Love of a Dog
By Mike DeCamp
Clint Davis emailed me a video the other day. He didn’t say anything in the email. He just sent the link. At first, I was hesitant to click on it. I thought he might have been hacked and maybe it was a virus. However, he called me a day or so later and told me it was okay.
So, I watched it. Here’s the link if you want to check it out: https://vimeo.com/122375452
I’m not going to give it away, but it’s entitled “Denali” and it’s about a man and his dog—from the dog’s perspective. It will make you cry.
|Sugar--and I guess maybe she is judging my clothing choices.|
I’ve had five dogs in my life. The last two (Leo & Xena) are still with me. I’ve loved them all, and they’ve all loved me back. I can remember my first one, Sugar. She was a puppy when my folks got her—the runt of the litter. I was one. She died when I was seventeen. She used to sit so patiently and listen to all of my problems. No judging. No laughing. She didn’t drift off. She didn’t get distracted by the TV or her cellphone. She just sat there and let me vent, smiling her doggie smile. And, then she’d give me an affectionate lick on the cheek. I always felt better after our “talks” out on the back landing at my folk’s house.
Sally was my third dog. We got her when my girls were young, and we had to put her down when she was around ten or eleven—some sort of tumor on her snout. She was my dog. No one could hold her if I called her. Like Sugar, she was an outdoor dog, but if I was outside, she was right there with me. If I sat down, she hopped up next to me—so affectionate. And, like Sugar, she was a great listener. Something in my heart broke when she died.
|Leo with Nancy, and Xena by her dish|
Leo is one of my current dogs. He’s really Nancy’s dog. She is his favorite by far, but he loves me too. He just wants to be with us. If one of us goes upstairs, he cries. When we come back down, he acts like he hasn’t seen us for years. He jumps, bounces, and runs around the room with joy. If I bend over, he hooks his front legs on me and sort of pulls himself into my arms.
I wonder—what would it be like if we loved one another the way that our dogs love us?
Listening without judging. No laughing. No condemning. No conditions. Just listening out of love.
Paying attention without distraction. Always there—in the moment.
Eager to show affection. Okay, so no licking, but still, a warm hug would be nice.
Overjoyed to see one another. I mean, seriously joyful, bouncing off the walls happy to be together.
Well, so maybe bouncing off the walls with joy is a bit much to ask, but the Bible does have something to say on the matter:
1 Peter 1:22 – Now that you have purified yourselves by obeying the truth so that you have sincere love for each other, love one another deeply, from the heart. Apostle Peter
Romans 12:10 – Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves. Apostle Paul
John 13:34-35 – A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another. Jesus
I know I’ve got a long ways to go before I reach the standard that has been set for me in scripture, but along the road I can learn from the example set for me by the unconditional and limitless love of my dogs.
Even so, I promise not to jump up into your arms and lick your whole face when I see you. I’ll stick to the warm hugs.