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Loving like a dog does
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But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. – Romans 5:8

I wasn’t always a dog lover.  I mean, I liked dogs a lot and we always had  one around when I was little but I never got all choked up inside about a dog as if it was more than just a dog.    

When my husband and bought our first house we bought a dog “Rico” to go along with it.  Not because he was going to be our best friend or become part of the family as other dog-owners seemed to feel, but simply because buying a dog to go with your house seemed like the natural thing to do.  So we brought Rico home, gave him a dog house, fed him, played fetch from time to time and went about our lives.

My semi doggie-indifference took a huge turn however, when after eleven years of having Rico running around in the back yard, jumping, slobbering, and licking us every time he saw us, he got sick and died.  

Suddenly I was completely overwhelmed with feelings that I didn’t even know I had.  I was grieving as if a close family member had died and couldn’t understand why.  After all, he was just a dog right?

I still didn’t fully understand it until we got another dog a few months after losing Rico and now a second one just a few months ago.

In the midst of training, playing, brushing, feeding, belly rubs and real bonding with my two Rottweiler/Chow’s “Chubbs” and “Kujo” who are definitely part of the family, I realized something.  Dogs love their owners unconditionally.

No matter what you do, the four-legged friends share their energy, joy, love, happiness, protection, sniffs, slobbers and tail wagging unconditionally every single day regardless if their owner pays attention to them or not.  Even when an owner has had a bad day and yells at their dog for no reason, the love-filled pooch waits no more than ten-seconds to begin the unrestricted showering of love all over again.

Thinking back on what a faithful dog Rico was and seeing the love and loyalty from my new dogs has made me think about how often I show that type of unconditional love.  

I would like to think that I love my family unconditionally all the time but the truth is… when those closes to me somehow manage to hurt my feelings or upset me, I get an attitude and my expression of love becomes extremely conditional.  In other words, I’m more inclined to withhold affection, give the cold shoulder, or a snarly look, clearly letting my loved ones know I’m not happy.

Fortunately God favors the dogs approach to love instead of mine.   In Romans 5:8 we see that God has unconditional love for us and He demonstrated it by dying for us, while we were still deep in sin.    God’s love is not based on us getting together, acting right, spending time with Him or even loving Him first.  No, God’s love is pure, true and unconditional even to the point of death on our behalf simply because  is love.

Perhaps a dog is just a dog to you as they were to me at one time, but if you look again, you just might see a glimpse of what God’s unconditional,  no matter what you do love looks like and perhaps even help you love like dog too.