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Teachers of Unconditional Love

Ruby 4 x 6

This is my little dog and friend, Ruby. She is the eleventh rescue dog I’ve had so far in life. She is sweet and loves me unconditionally. I am so lucky Ruby and the other ten rescue dogs came into my life.  They taught me so many things.

Like what it really feels like to love unconditionally and to be loved the same way. They taught me patience, respect, forgiveness, persistence and the depth of our connectedness to all life. They also taught me animals are not fashion statements. They are not meant to fight for our amusement or financial gain. They are not meant to be breed and abused in tiny cages. They are not objects. They are feeling beings.

They get hungry, tired and lonely.  They get cold, hot, thirsty and scared.  They experience post-traumatic stress. They feel pain and hurt. They are not meant to stay home alone all day. They are not meant to live in chains. They need to be around their people and other life. They reason and think and make decisions.

Of course they don’t reason exactly like us humans but they are smart and can learn. Like us, animals learn and respond best when treated with kindness, when offered praise and when the relationships we have with them are based on patience, trust and respect.

Animals like Ruby know the true heart of people.  In order to be deserving of their love, respect and trust we must treat them with love, patience, compassion and respect.  We do not take our anger out on them.  We do not expect them to be perfect or to reason like a human being.  We do not use them or abuse them.  We do not neglect their physical and emotional needs. We do not puppy-mill them. We do not experiment on them.

Mahatma Gandhi said, “The greatness of a nation can be judged by the way its animals are treated.” The kind of relationship we have with animals tells people the extent of our greatness too.  We must never forget we human beings are animals too and we must be the kind of animal that respect, cares for and nurtures all life. Or else we’re taking a step back on our evolutionary journey which will in no way ensure our future.