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“You can’t explain what love is. You can sing about it, paint about it, write about it, you can try to express love in so many different ways…but dogs spend their lives showing us what love is.”
That isn’t hyperbole, that’s real. It’s what I’ve known all my life, ever since I was given the gift of knowing the unconditional love of a dog at a young age…and then a cat, more dogs, hamsters, horses, donkeys, and even more dogs. I can honestly say that I would not be here today were it not for animals.
Especially for those of us who grew up in chaotic homes, where love was confusing and often given as part of a manipulation, or withheld as punishment—trusting another being to let you give love, and get love, becomes vital for our growth and survival.
This video says it all, really. Not only their experiences, but the visual joy and peace found in every single frame. May it be of benefit to your heart and soul as well:
Some of my favorite quotes from that video:
“My friends were my animals, they became my family. They didn’t let me down, I could trust them. I think I found all the things in the animal world that I was unable to find in the human world.”
“Dogs don’t judge you, they love you. And they know what you’re going through, they sense it, and they’re patient, they’re very patient. They are not telling you that you must get yourself together now. They know what they’re doing and that is why I think I relate to animals. There is a connection that is incredible.”
“I struggled for a long time with relationships with people, where I felt that I wasn’t good enough. And I worried too much about what people thought of me, and what they thought of my work. And when I was popular, I was up in the clouds. And when people didn’t like my work, I fell into a deep, dark heartache.
My dogs made me aware of my internal conversation with myself. I wasn’t being kind to myself. And I realized that every morning when I am with my dogs, that I tell them how proud I am of them and how good they are.
So I adopted that way of speaking to myself. When I wake up in the morning, I say to myself, ‘Oh Antoinette, do you know how proud I am of you and how much I love you?’ Because you can only love other people and animals if you love yourself, warts and all.”
“Tripod was sent to me, he was like an angel sent to me to show me what life is about. I could never, ever show happiness. Tripod has taught me to show what I’m feeling and talk about it.”
“My biggest teacher has been the animals. Particularly the domestic animals, which I believe have come to us to teach us how to actually be in the world. It’s about showing compassion: showing compassion to the earth, to the plants, to the animals, but most of all actually, showing compassion to myself.”
“When they pass away they are all buried, and then we plant a rose on the grave. A rose has a beautiful fragrance. My animals were such a big part of my being and added the fragrance to my life, so the rose is a symbol of that. And every time I see the rose, I don’t notice the grave. From the difficult times, from the heartache, something beautiful has blossomed.”
“I always heard about unconditional love, I said it was bullsh*t. There’s no such thing as unconditional love. I don’t believe and I don’t see it. And suddenly, Tripod shows me that every day, there are no strings attached. Love is not an act; love is a feeling. And when I realized that it transcends all human understanding, I had peace for the first time in my life. The freedom that it brings is the most incredible gift that anybody can have.”
“Dogs will keep being kind and keep loving us until we understand what love means. If people could love each other the way dogs love us, and if we can emulate that, the world will be a different place.”
“If you want to learn about love, learn it from an animal. An animal doesn’t give you conditional love, an animal gives you love from their inner being. They surround us with genuine love, genuine acceptance. Through the lessons learnt from my animals, I realized that, that which I am, is exactly as it should be.”
“Every breath that an animal takes brings you into direct contact, it opens the pathways to your heart. Because we shouldn’t always be listening to our ears and our eyes, but rather to our hearts.
The big change in the world starts with me.”