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Learning the Power of Unconditional Love

Learning the Power of Unconditional Love

Our dog Max is very old.  He is a bichon-poodle mix and is now sixteen and according to our vet is now living well past his life expectancy.  Max has lost most of his hearing and his eyesight is deteriorating but his bodily functions are still all in good working order.  The nicest thing is that Max still looks up and wags his tail whenever anyone in the family walks in the room.

We have had Max since our kids were small and right from the beginning he fit perfectly into our family.  Max has been watching over our kids and protecting them since the day he arrived in our home.  When we used to go to our cottage and one of the kids would somehow make a run for it – Max would herd them like they were sheep and run circles around them while barking to make sure that we knew where they were.

We used to joke that with our busy lives Max was always at the bottom of the food chain getting whatever affection or love we had left over from our very busy and exhausting days.  But Max didn’t mind.  No matter what type of day we were having, he was always there – happy to see us, glad to have whatever time we had to spend with him, never angry, never judgmental, and always loving.  As he begins to approach the end of his life, I can’t but help reflect on what he has taught my family about the power of unconditional love.

Max

Max

Wikipedia defines unconditional love as affection without any limitations.  Max spent his entire life showing our family what unconditional love really means.  He never judged, criticized, or complained.  He loved us no matter what was going on or how much or how little attention we were able to give him.  For Max, his goal in life was to love us, protect us and try to make us happy without any expectation of anything in return.

We are now trying to prepare our kids for the fact that Max’s years will soon come to an end.  Even though they are older and now very busy with their own lives the thought of losing their lifelong pet is extremely distressing to them.

For me, the thought of losing Max causes me to recognize what an important part of our family he has been for all these years and has made me stop and question my own relationships and whether I should possibly try to be more like Max.  Am I sometimes too quick to judge or be critical?  When I give something – do I sometimes give but secretly expect something in return?

Thank you Max for all you have given us – maybe your role on this earth was to show us what unconditional love really means and to teach us the power that it really can give.

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