What is Unconditional Love?

It was years ago when I went through that time in life that many girls go through. I had baby-fever for a few reasons but I knew I was in no way ready to have a baby. I was only 20, I wasn’t married, still had a long way to go to finish college, and I had no job. No kid needs to be brought into the world with those statistics. What’s the next best thing? A dog of course!

My boyfriend at the time had a friend at work that had a female dog that just had a litter of puppies. He sent me a picture one day while he was at work and I was adamant that we had to go that very evening to get my puppy! I knew I wanted a girl and I already knew her name was going to be Indie.

Let me add here that I didn’t even know what kind of dog these puppies were when we left. I just knew they were cute. The breed and pureness of my new baby had no real significance to me. I just simply wanted something I could call mine and I could raise to be what I wanted her to be.

When we got there her mom looked like Lassie but she had black and white hair. Her dad was unknown. This didn’t matter to me. She was still going to be the best thing ever. I knew it.

When we got there I picked up the cutest one to discover it was a boy. So I quickly said no and put him down. The next cutest one was the runt but she was a girl. I was worried if she going to survive or how she would turn out being the little guy of the group but I thought, “I have my flaws but I’m still worth it, so I know she will be too!” and homeward bound we went, free of charge.

Sadly, this is the only picture I have of her as a little itty bitty pup. She was maybe 4 pounds and cute as could be!

I went and bought her a cute necklace (collar), a leash and some cute little water and food bowls. I didn’t bother with a bed because she was going to sleep with me so she didn’t go potty in the night! I called the vet and got our first doctor visit set and immediately started doing research.

She was just a little bitty thing and she could easily run through every part of my chair and when I wasn’t moving she would sit right behind my feet under my chair. You know how you hear moms always say. “These kids stay right up under me all the time!”, well, mine actually did. She found her safe spot very early on.

There were times I would just ride with a friend to go grab food or something and the boyfriend would just bring my chair back inside instead of anyone wasting time loading it. He always said Indie laid underneath the entire time I was gone. Yall that really warmed my heart. My dog loved me so much she sat under an object that reminded her of me. It’s where I was supposed to be, so she would be waiting right there for me to come back. This reminds me of when I was a little girl and my mom took night college courses. My mom was my safe spot when I was little and I recall many nights of me sitting on the couch next to the window looking out of it every few minutes to see if my momma had finally pulled in our driveway. I can only imagine Indie had the same feeling while she patiently waited under my chair. She would be right there to greet me when I got back just like I was there to greet my momma when she got home. This dog was my baby just like I was my mommas.

I’ve been lucky enough to have this baby of mine for 12 years now. As the years creep by I see her change little by little and within the last few years, I’ve really started seeing how much she has actually aged. And every time people see her for the first time in a long while they comment on how old she is getting. I know there will be a time in which she is finished here. I am also very aware she had a meaning on this planet.

She has been the one thing on this planet that has completely shown me the meaning of unconditional love. It has been my utmost pleasure of dedicating some of my time to this dog. I am so happy she has been able to travel and experience the outdoors with me and teach me about life.

I think if we could be more like dogs the world would be a much better place. Don’t get me wrong though, there are some mean dogs in the world too. They are not all friendly and loving like my Indie Bear. That has to do with how we train the dogs. What do we teach them? That goes for our children these days too. Children can see differences in people, sure. But they tend to ask questions in their curiosity. It is how we respond to their questions that decide how the child then view those differences among us.

Children often stare at me because I am in a chair and they sometimes tend to innocently ask, “Why are you in the chair?”. Most often when kids ask me such questions or when they are staring their parents make them look away or apologize for their questions. Why apologize and even scold your child for wanting to understand? We must teach them and show them what acceptance, love, and empathy are.

Speaking of love. My dog has completely learned my signal of love towards her. I’m not really into my dog licking me because that’s just a tad bit gross. So to combat that I have always grabbed Indie and nuzzled her cheek to mine. Anyone that has spent a pretty good time around my dog knows she does that on her own now. When she is sitting next to someone on the bed or couch she voluntarily leans her head into your chest, lap or face. My dog has learned that that is an action of love because I have done it to her over and over and over again. When I get home from work and we wake up in the morning, Indie always comes to me with her tail violently wagging and leans in to nuzzle. The nuzzle of love. My dog gets it.

It is in how we live our lives and what kind of example we are for our children. When you talk about people in front of your kids they then think that is okay and normal behavior. When you jump to conclusions about people based on their appearance your kids see that and think it’s okay. When you get irritated by a crying baby in the restaurant your kids think that is okay. When you let the traffic stress you out and yell profanity at the complete strangers just trying to get somewhere just like you, your kid thinks that is okay. We should always strive to teach them love and acceptance.

My dog does some really stupid and nasty things sometimes. She often barks at a noise I made or wants to pick fights with other dogs when we go on our walks. She embarrassed me hundreds of times. She sweats. So it doesn’t take long for her to get stinky, like a foot. My dog is made of flaws. She didn’t come with papers. She’s the mix of what I imagine to be many types of dogs. I will never be able to even come close to replacing her with a the breed that she truly is.

And that makes her unique.

Just like each person on this planet is a mix of millions of different DNA combinations. We are so very unique. We should love ourselves and each and every person we come across because you won’t get a replica of not a single one of us.

2 thoughts on “What is Unconditional Love?

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