Does Your Pet Make You Feel Unconditionally Loved?

The answer to this question is a resounding yes! The connection people have with their pets is a source of unending fascination to me.

The flowery words they use to describe the animal/human relationship are evidence of how they feel about their pets. And even though animals can’t use flowery words, they do a good job of communicating their love for us in different ways. When I asked my friends how their pets make them feel unconditionally loved, I received so many beautiful answers. Here is a sampling:

They Comfort Us

My friend Kim talks about her animals all the time. She marvels at the fact that, when she’s hurting, her dog and cats will curl up with her. “It’s like they sense my distress and want to comfort me.”

Taylor’s little dog Brynnie recognizes when she’s having nightmares and will stand on her chest and gently paw her face until she awakens. You see, Taylor has PTSD and often has horrible nightmares. She’s so grateful that her dog seems to understand and helps her through the tough times.

The other day my friend Jenn choked as she was drinking a glass of water. She describes it this way “As I fell forward onto my knees trying not to die from the very substance that gives me life, my dog came running over to make sure I was OK and tucked his head under my arm. No one else in the house so much as paused their video game to make sure I wasn’t actually as close to dying as my dog and I were both convinced I was. Dogs are the best.”

They Crave Physical Connection

My burly friend Dave had a tight bond with his cat Cleo, who has recently gone to the Rainbow Bridge. Dave says “Before Cleo passed she would sneak up on me, and put her nose on mine while I slept. If I didn’t acknowledge her, she would take her hand and tap my nose or lip and purr till I woke up. She would then lie on my chest and snuggle up with my beard. We lost Cleo to cancer May 5th and we miss her every day.”

The second Lisa sits on the couch, Sophie the dog and Bentley the cat start jumping over each other to see who will get to her lap first and who will have to lie beside her. She says nobody believes her until they see the cat trying to outrun the dog for the lap seat.

Laura’s Border collie used to look her square in the eyes and place her paw in Laura’s hand and they would hold hands. Now the dog has passed on and Laura misses her so much.

Jen’s dog Izzie sleeps on her pillow at night and Jen often wakes up to find Izzie’s head resting on hers. And Ann’s dog Beau follows her from room to room. She said he was sleeping on her foot as she responded to my question.

Kathryn had a little Papillion named Katy who just wanted to be with her. “She was happiest when she was right beside me. When I left her for any time, she was stressed. If she was in the car, she would bark and cry until I came back. If someone else picked her up, she would reach for me with her front legs. I have never had anyone else just want to be right with me 24/7 like little Katy did. She’s been gone 3 years, but the hole left by the absence of so much unconditional love has never quite been filled.”

“My sweet Baron Boy sleeps with my daughter and wraps his body in a ball and tucks in between her neck and shoulder,” says Sherry. “Not too comfortable for her, but what a way to show love – he can’t get close enough!”

Kathleen has a kitty named Leo who runs up to her and stands on his back legs reaching his front legs up to her like a child looking into her face meowing as if to say “pick me up Mommy.”‘ When Kathleen picks Leo up, he wraps his front legs around her neck and sticks his head up under her chin and they have an all-out snuggle-fest. They do this every day.

Laurie’s dog Neela sighs with contentment when she can cuddle close to Laurie on the couch or the bed. Then she pushes so close to Laurie that she can’t move any closer, almost plastered against her. Kira, Laurie’s last dog, would race with her daughter to get the spot closest to Laurie on the bed. If one got up or moved slightly, the other would immediately move to the closest spot to Mom and try to push the other one out of the way. It was like sibling rivalry for Mom’s attention. Of course, at that point Laurie was hanging off the bed, but dog and daughter were content and cozy.

My childhood friend Kathryn says this about her cat: “When I sit down Tux, aka the flying cinder block, (he is very large and very heavy but is not aware of this) likes to launch from the floor to my chest to be close to me. He makes one counter clockwise circle, head butts me once on each side of his face (kisses) then lays down and makes biscuits on my shoulder. It’s like getting socked by a boxer. Love hurts, but I’ll take it anytime.”

They Protect Us

Heather had construction workers show up in her back yard unannounced to fix something she had requested. Her dog saw them and started barking (which is to be expected). What was amazing, however, was when Heather went toward the door to see what her dog was barking at, the dog stood between her and the door and would not let her near it. She was protecting Heather. Any my friend Michelle’s dog guards their grandson as if it’s his full time job. The dog won’t let her grandson anywhere near the street.

Nona used to ride a horse that, when she fell off, even if it was her fault, he would come back, nose her and stand by her until she got up.

They’re Happy to See Us

Linda Ann said her rescue pup ALWAYS greets her eagerly when she returns home, and mentioned how nice it is to be welcomed so enthusiastically.

Whenever Frank returns home from a work trip, he calls his wife to ask her to let the dogs out. The dogs greet him in the yard, get real excited, and jump all over him. Then they run in circles while one of them gets so excited she piddles (which is why he wants to first greet them outside). This happy love-fest lasts for about fifteen minutes.

Shana’s little dog Abby cries like a baby when they come home, and flies out of her kennel, tears around the house and gets her toy to play. She also kisses them like crazy.

Scott summed it up beautifully when he said “A bad day is always greeted by a wag, a kiss, and toy time. No prescription can do that.”

 They Look at Us in That Special Way

My traveling buddy Suzanne has an 18 year old orange tabby named Verney Helen. When she talks about how this cat looks at her with big, beautiful eyes and extends her little paw out, she gets all misty eyed.

Heather says that whenever she pours food into her dog’s bowl, the dog always looks in her bowl then looks back at Heather and gives her a tail wag before diving in to eat. Heather thinks her sweet dog is saying “thank you” for giving her a meal.

For Kim, it’s all about the way her dogs gather wherever she is and love to stare at her with this certain expression. She says it’s like the way her dad used to just love watching her. The animals all get that same look.

I had so many responses to my simple question that this article could go on and on, but I’ll stop here. My friend Laurie C. summed it up beautifully by saying “I feel unconditionally loved by their mere existence in my life.” I feel the same way.

What about you? What does your pet do that makes you feel unconditionally loved?

Top photo by Stella Dauer/Flickr
Bottom photo by fauxto_digit/Flickr

Read more articles by Langley Cornwell

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