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Chapter 28

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Even though the singer Haddaway only had one hit song, he asked a very important question: What is love? Everyone from philosophers to theologians and all professions in between have tried to answer that question for centuries. With Valentine’s Day quickly approaching, I began to ponder that question, “What is love” for myself.  

There are many different kinds of love. Unfortunately, the English language does not differentiate between the types well. For example, my two-year-old Chesapeake Bay Retriever loves Arin’s Good Girl Dog Treats and with good reason. They are made with all-natural ingredients with no preservatives. One of Gabe’s favorite treats is the Cheese and Bacon Bones and they are made with cheddar cheese and turkey bacon. Other dog treats contain artificial dyes, sweeteners (Xylitol), salts and other preservatives that have been linked to cancer, seizures and other major health problems. Suffice it to say, Arin’s Good Girl Dog Treats are the best dog treats for my Good Buddy Gabe and he loves them. 

 

As much as Gabe loves his Arin’s Good Girl Dog Treats, it's not the same type of love that he has for me or I have for him.. I know some very well-meaning people who believe that animals cannot show love because they do not have souls. I agree with James Herriott, author of the All Creatures Great & Small books, when he says, “If having a soul means being able to feel love and loyalty and gratitude, then animals are better off than a lot of humans.” 

 

Gabe demonstrates his love for me every day in numerous ways. I have written many times about how he gives me hugs and licks my ears, but that’s just the tip of the iceberg. During our recent cold snap in North Carolina where it would stay below freezing temperatures for several hours, Gabe was more than happy to curl up on the end of my bed and keep my feet warm. My cats Peaches and Poirot did not want to share space on my bed, but they eventually sorted out the dispute among themselves.  

 

Being a Chessie, however, Gabe preferred to be outside most of the time during the cold weather. His favorite activity was to break the ice in his swimming pool and water buckets with his chest or paw just like his ancestors did in the icy waters of the Chesapeake Bay in Maryland. He would carry the chunks of ice around the yard in his mouth like a prize. 

 

I love doing things for Gabe, as well. Due to my disability, they may not be as practical as feeding him three times a day (my mom and dad do that for me) but I do take him for walks, following along on my golf cart as he runs ahead exploring every nook and cranny of our farm. I’m also working three jobs to pay for his vet bills and other necessities. It’s not easy, and it is hard work, but I do it because I love Gabe. He is my dog and I want to do everything possible to provide for him. 

 

There is another type of love that is even greater than the love a dog has for his human or vice versa. That is the love that God shows to us each and every day. It doesn’t matter if you are Red, Yellow, Black or White, He loves each and every one of us. It doesn’t matter if we are able-bodied or have a disability, gay or straight,  the list could go on and on. Whatever label society puts on us, God looks beyond labels and sees the person that He created us to be. 

 

So, what is love? Love can be many things: It can be as simple as Gabe’s love of Arin’s  Good Girl Dog Treats, or love could be sacrificing your time and energy to provide for something or someone who is important to you. As you give gifts on Valentine’s Day, as great as they may be, nothing compares to the  love that God shows to us every day. 

 

Happy Valentine’s Day everybody! 

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