What is love?
Did you ever think about this question? I have found it difficult to answer because every living creature feels and experiences love differently.
For me, a big part of loving my dog is taking care of his needs, making him happy. Here we are in a conflict, because what this is often confused with is the possession of another living being. Of course, I choose to live with my dog and my dog has no choice. But we find ourselves in this situation because of the domestication of our "pets". In the wild, most are no longer fit to survive on their own. They are in a way dependent on us humans because we have made them so. So it is also our job to care for them. Our goal ought to be to pave a way for animals to live self-determined, independent lives again.
When I speak of "my dog", I do not mean that my dog is my property. From my point of view, I cannot own any other living being. Rather, I accompany my dog and he accompanies me - we walk our life's path together. We look in the same direction. We celebrate life together!
The moment I decide to walk this life path together, I take on the responsibility of being the most loving home to my non-human companion - A place where he feels safe and secure. A place where he is cared for. A relationship characterised by deepest trust and appreciation. I give my dog the feeling of never being alone and he gives it to me - until our last wonderful day together on earth.
A healthy amount of love is also inherent in this responsibility. Human affection can take on proportions that are very damaging to an animal. Because love is often misunderstood. This manifests itself, for example, in overfeeding or overworking our four-legged friends. Dogs need 18-22 hours of rest, depending on breed and age. Not infrequently, they are kept far too busy because their human thinks this is good for them. Often this happens out of a guilty conscience. If the dog had to spend the day alone, this feeling of guilt may be compensated for in the evening with an overfilled food bowl or a few more treats. This showering of supposed love is well-intentioned, but has negative consequences for your dog.
So what is true love?
This is where your dog can teach you a thing or two: He has no demands or expectations of you. He doesn't want to change you. True love allows for differences. Your dog loves you unconditionally and sincerely.
I don't expect Lotti to behave the way I want her to. Of course we show each other certain limits. But that's what we humans do as well. Living together always needs rules and a certain education. The basis of my relationship with Lotti is respectful and attentive treatment of her, because of course I wish with all my heart that she lacks nothing. I meet 'my dog' at eye level. If you are open and honest with your dog, then you act from your heart.
We go through thick and thin together, withstand all times of crisis. We support each other. Love must be nurtured, like a plant. For love embodies itself in various needs, such as affection, trust and appreciation. Love deepens over time.
Your dog gives you harmony and balance. Please make sure that you also gift this to him. Love is a give and take.
Do you know that moment when your dog lies relaxed, looks at you full of love and your heart leaps with joy and happiness? This warm feeling that then spreads through my heart and upper stomach, this feeling of deepest and most intimate connection: this is what true love feels like to me.
What does love feel like for you?