I am having a morning where I am overcome with love for my dog. I have a few friends who are not “dog people”, so I’m certain they will not understand. However, there is something that the little guy does to my heart that I almost can’t explain.

I grew up with A dog (for a brief period, two dogs) that lived OUTSIDE. My mother is asthmatic, so animals living in the house was out of the question. I never really thought anything about it until I met Kevin. He grew up in the country with quite a menagerie of pets and we began our married life with a cat, quickly joined by a dog, then, later, another dog, and so on…you get the picture. In fact, by the time Maddie was in preschool, her class actually took a field trip to our house to see all our pets, both caged and uncaged (no, I’m not kidding!).

All of our dogs in the past have been large…doberman, lab, 2 golden retrievers. Wonderful, lovable dogs, all. But, when we moved to Florida, we got our first small dog – really small – a miniature long-haired dachshund named Riley.

Riley is the first of our dogs to be allowed on furniture, since he’s small. He gets carried around a lot and enjoys riding around draped over my shoulder. He loves squeaker toys and raw hides and riding in a basket on my bicycle (think Dorothy and Toto). And, he’s extraordinarily well-behaved. He doesn’t bark much and is not obnoxious when people are over.

While all these are reasons to love a good dog, I’m filled with love for my dog because, above all, he loves me. He listens to me, looks me in the eye, gives me hugs in the morning when he wakes up, senses when I’m down and cuddles up to me with comfort, and takes prayer walks with me and likes it (okay, he probably thinks I’m talking to him, but that’s beside the point). He’s often the subject of those prayers of thanksgiving, as he brings a particular joy to my day and has helped ease me into this new phase of my life; filling a little of the void that the girls left until I was better able to handle it. While all of our dogs have been amazing, Riley is very special to me because of the season of life we are sharing – a lot of one-on-one time. The devotion that dogs offer is such an example of what we should be offering each other – no judgement, no conditions – just pure, unadulterated love.

Again, I know there are those of you that won’t understand this post. That’s okay. Because that’s the truth about dogs…they love you with complete abandon, whether you understand them or not!