This is part of our weekly editorial series. Normally, we let the dogs do all of the talking.
I have loved many people in my life. Some are still here. Some I miss every day. Sometimes I think back and wonder if I told the ones that are no longer here that I loved them as many times as I should have. I wonder if there was something else that I should have said or should have told them. Yet, words don’t come easy to me. By that I mean, words that I have to speak. To…people.
But when it comes to my dogs, this is not even an issue. In fact, I know that my dogs must get tired of my constant displays of admiration and kisses. They must see me coming at them every morning and every night and wonder if I will break my record of saying “I love you” from the day before. And I always do. The relationship I have with my dogs comes as naturally to me as not speaking to people does. I’m still working on that, by the way. Yet, there is something that I wonder every ten minutes. Ok, every five. Do my dogs really and truly understand how much I love them?
I understand that the short answer to my question is that there is no way they know how much I love them. Because I find it difficult to even explain to myself. I never knew that I could love two individuals as much as I love my dogs. Which is why I find it utterly and completely necessary to tell them all day long how much they mean to me.
I wasn’t always this willing to love this completely. We have all dealt with losses of people and furkids. And when that happens, we build up a bit of a wall and a guard. I think that this is only natural. But one day, I woke up and I knew. If I didn’t give my heart fully to my boys and truly love them as much as I possibly could, they might not know how special they were. They might not know that I felt so fortunate they were in my life. I was going to get hurt in the end. One day. But I didn’t care. Because the enjoyment of loving with a full heart made that irrelevant. Truly irrelevant.
I often think of ways that I can make my dogs happier. Do they have enough treats, do they need a new bed? Are they still enjoying this travel gig? Are they fulfilled, do they enjoy their walks? Maybe you have different questions of your own. But the past two years, spending every waking moment with my dogs in the close quarters of an RV has taught me something. My dogs DO know how much I love them. Why? Is it because I make their food every day from scratch? Is it because they have a million fans on Facebook? Is it because I give them massages? No, no, and no. But I had the answer to the question of if my dogs know how much I love them all along.
They didn’t always know. Because I had not opened up my heart completely. Dogs know all, no matter how much we try to keep from them. They are not only our companions, but our family. And it wasn’t until the day I let myself love them with all of the love that I had, and did not hold anything back, that they knew. Now. They. Know.
Dogs don’t expect anything out of us that they don’t give. And they love US with their full heart. And so, on those days when you are looking at your dog and are wondering if he or she truly knows how much you love them…ask yourself if you truly know. Don’t let any more time slip away with ones that we love without them knowing what is in our heart. Saying “I love you” is wonderful. Saying “I love you” with a complete and full heart is beyond measure. Our dogs deserve that. Only then…will they know.