Wednesday Wisdom: Unconditional Love

 Welcome.  Thank you for joining me today:)

I have a nice treat…Kim, the author of the blog Talon , is here to share some Wisdom with us..

When I visit Talon I am full of wonder and awe at the gifts shared there…glorious photos, poems, stories… all pull at my heartstrings…I experience a vast array of emotions depending upon what is presented…I leave inspired and enriched…and I celebrate the gift that has been shared…

Thank you for sharing your Wisdom here with us today….

First of all, thank you so much, Joy, for asking me to do a guest post. I always enjoy your positive energy and your honesty in sharing your life journey and life experiences with your readers so I’m truly honored to contribute in a small way to your beautiful blog.

When Joy asked about a guest post, I thought of her Wednesday Wisdom posts. Wisdom comes to us in different ways – some through experience, some through observation. And some of the earliest wisdom I learned came from an unusual non-human source.

When I was seven, my uncle (a Sergeant in the army) was sent from a base in Ontario Canada to a base in Germany for five years. This meant my aunt and my two cousins would be joining him. It also meant that their beagle, Spotty, would have to be quarantined for quite a few months if he were to accompany them.

My aunt was a dog lover. And she had fallen in love with Spotty (then aged 2) when she found him at a local pound. His original owners had abandoned him. They no longer wanted him. My aunt did and Spotty adjusted well to his new home. I learned the lesson of compassion from my aunt and acceptance from Spotty. He was always a welcome visitor in our home (except, perhaps, by our Persian cat, Peppy) and my younger sister and I loved when he came to visit. We would immediately insist on taking him for long walks, lavishing him with pats and hugs and pretending, if only for a little while, that he was our dog. He soaked it all up.

Because Spotty had been cast off and had spent time in confined quarters before being adopted, my aunt knew that he would not tolerate the months of quarantine necessary before he could be with them on the base in Germany so she asked my mother and father if they would consider taking Spotty.  Spotty was then six years old and most of his life had been spent in my aunt’s loving home. This was my first lesson on personal sacrifice. I knew how much my aunt loved Spotty and I knew how much Spotty loved my aunt. They say rescue dogs are always grateful and you could see that gratitude in Spotty’s big brown eyes every time he looked at my aunt. I know it broke my aunt’s heart to leave Spotty behind.

Spotty joyfully slid into his third home as if it had always been his.  He taught me about acceptance. He didn’t pine or mope, but adjusted to his new life happily and soon became my constant companion. He would follow me to school and would, when told firmly at the school gate that he couldn’t come into the playground, reluctantly head home, tail down, casting reproachful looks over his shoulder. I knew he would have happily sat in the classroom at my feet if it had been allowed. I asked the teacher. It wasn’t. And at lunchtime he’d be sitting by the gate, waiting to accompany me home for lunch and then back to school again to be told sternly to head home once again. But he was always waiting at the gate when school let out of the day, with a wagging tail and raised ears, and a titled head, waiting for playtime to begin. He became such a fixture in my life; I couldn’t remember life before he was there. He taught me the valuable lessons of loyalty and unconditional love. As if he knew that our proud Persian cat, Peppy, was the queen of the house, he dutifully ignored her and I learned about tolerance. Cat and dog declared an “indifference” truce.

By the time my uncle and aunt and their family returned to Canada, it was clear that Spotty would remain with our family for the rest of his life. My aunt adopted a new dog – a black woolly dog named Rufus who was a delightful dog, but definitely no Spotty.

When I was thirteen and Spotty was now a stately (yes, even beagles can be stately) senior dog of twelve, he taught me the lesson of courage. I was sitting on our front porch reading, Spotty lying nearby, when a large dog—one I’d never seen in our neighbourhood before—hackles raised, growling menacingly, came across the front garden and started up the steps. I wasn’t able to reach the front door as I was across the porch and the strange dog was now at the top of the steps blocking my escape. Until then, I’d never been nervous of dogs, but this dog was snarling and snapping and I admit I was terrified. Without hesitation, Spotty took it upon himself to see off this aggressive, unwelcome visitor. An ugly dogfight ensued, but Spotty, all thirty pounds of him, took on this large dog without a second thought. Spotty was victorious in protecting his family and his home, though he sustained multiple wounds. He was my hero. He survived and thrived and lived another four happy years.  

When I think of wisdom I’ve gained, I always think of Spotty first and foremost. A small dog with a huge heart who taught me some of the most important lessons of my life –  compassion, sacrifice, acceptance, loyalty, tolerance, courage, and the most important one of all – unconditional love. My wise friend, Spotty, who added a beautiful element to my childhood that was unexpected and rare and never forgotten. Thank you, Spotty.

Thank *you* Kim for sharing such a beauty filled story…

May we be open to, and aware of, unconditional love as it is placed in our lives….May we graciously receive unconditional love as generously as we share unconditional love… 

Much peace,

Joy

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  1. #1 by fire byrd on August 25, 2010 - 2:43 pm

    I also love Kim’s blog and her astonishing talent. And it is a pleasure to read this guest post. And now going to check out more of here, cause like what I’ve seen so far.

    • #2 by Talon on August 25, 2010 - 10:09 pm

      Thank you, Mandy. You’ll love Joy’s blog. After reading about your amazing journey with Trix, it’s another reminder how much our animals need us and our love and understanding. It can be such a win/win situation.

  2. #3 by Technobabe on August 25, 2010 - 3:27 pm

    Isn’t that a great story? I can just picture Spotty protecting his mistress on the front porch. Spotty was fortunate to have been adopted by the aunt and then to find his next home for the rest of his life.

    • #4 by Talon on August 25, 2010 - 10:11 pm

      Thank you, Technobabe. His loyalty still touches my heart though that’s one of my most painful childhood memories. I truly thought he was a goner.

  3. #5 by Julliette O (Larvk) on August 25, 2010 - 3:40 pm

    Wow this is a very heartwarming story and so lovely. Am touched by it and know all too well what unconditional love is, so this is an amazing guest post Talon and nice to meet you Kim hope we see each other around~

    Wild Rose~

    • #6 by Talon on August 25, 2010 - 10:13 pm

      Juliette, thank you so much. I’m glad you enjoyed it. I think of my children when I think of unconditional love…it’s powerful, isn’t it? Kim/Talon 🙂

  4. #7 by The Exception on August 25, 2010 - 3:45 pm

    Oh… what a lovely dog and a lovely experience. There is so much out animals can give us if we open ourselves to it – and the relationship that they can have with us as children and as adults is priceless. My house is shared with cats – one of which helped to raise my daughter, another is her bed companion, and another is her playmate. Each love her without question and without condition – as she loves them.
    Spotty sounds like an amazing dog – more than a pet, a true friend. Thank you for sharing your experience and the love that you shared.

    • #8 by Talon on August 25, 2010 - 10:15 pm

      Thank you, The Exception. Yes, animals add so much to life. Your cats sound beautiful. Your daughter must love them all so much! I can’t wait to read your guest post at Sara’s 🙂

  5. #9 by The Urban Cowboy on August 25, 2010 - 4:09 pm

    I loved this story Talon, and when I read the part where Spotty defended you I actually could feel my eyes mist! I need to go analyze myself now.

    Awesome.

    • #10 by Talon on August 25, 2010 - 10:16 pm

      Glad you enjoyed it, Urban Cowboy, and there’s no need for analyzing at all – just proves you have a loving heart 🙂

  6. #11 by Jannie Funster on August 25, 2010 - 5:10 pm

    This has me crying like a baby, but a good kind of cry. One of the most beautiful blog posts I’ve ever read.

    Thank you both so much for reminding me of many good things in life.

    Talon had a little dog,
    A little dog,
    A little dog
    Talon had a little dog
    who followed her to school.

    🙂

    Spotty was a happy dog
    A happy dog
    A happy dog
    Spotty was a happy dog
    To have a loving home.

    xoxo

    • #12 by Talon on August 25, 2010 - 10:17 pm

      Jannie, you make me laugh. Thank you! Sorry I made you cry, but I’m glad they weren’t unhappy tears.

  7. #13 by brian on August 25, 2010 - 5:24 pm

    a wonderful tale talon…sounds like spotty shared some wonderful times (and lessons) with you…and so glad he saved you from that mean dog…

    • #14 by Talon on August 25, 2010 - 10:18 pm

      Thank you, brian. Yes, I don’t want to think what might have happened if Spotty hadn’t been there with me. Spotty was one of those one-of-a-kind dogs that stay in your heart always.

  8. #15 by Carol on August 25, 2010 - 5:34 pm

    Awww, this brought tears to my eyes! Thank you for sharing that wonderful story!

    C x

    • #16 by Talon on August 25, 2010 - 10:20 pm

      Thank you, Carol. I’m sorry I upset you.

  9. #17 by Marilyn on August 25, 2010 - 5:47 pm

    A very beautiful post telling of love, unconditional love, given by both child and dog.

    • #18 by Talon on August 25, 2010 - 10:21 pm

      Thanks, Marilyn. It is amazing what gifts our animals give us. I really thought about what he’d given me and his life’s lessons have made a lasting impact.

  10. #19 by Eric Alder on August 25, 2010 - 6:48 pm

    I’ve read Talon’s blog often since discovering her. Wonderful, touching story. We love our dogs because they love us even though we don’t always deserve it.

    • #20 by Talon on August 25, 2010 - 10:22 pm

      Eric, that sort of love is priceless, isn’t it? Thank you!

  11. #21 by Lynn on August 25, 2010 - 7:28 pm

    This is why it is so wonderful when kids can grow up with pets. They sure give back to the people who love them – and you are right, it’s unconditional.

    Lovely story and more insight into what makes you such a wonderful person.

    • #22 by Talon on August 26, 2010 - 6:41 pm

      Lynn, thank you so much! You’re making me blush! Yes, I think pets play a really important role in children’s lives. And that love is one the best ones!

  12. #23 by Sara on August 25, 2010 - 8:16 pm

    Joy — In my mind, you couldn’t have picked a better person as a guest writer. I love whatever Talon writes and she had lots of wisdom to share:~)

    Talon — Thank you for sharing this story. It is amazing what we learn from our animals. Your story reminded me of my dog, Chester. He was a pup born from two pure-bred short-haired pointers, but came out as Llewellyn Setter…evidently a “throw back” from some earlier ancestor.

    We were great friends and he was always with me. When I read about what you learned from Spotty, it made me think of all the things Chester taught me. You were lucky to have such a wise and good friend. Thanks for this story.

    p.s. I’m inviting you, Joy and others to come visit my site tomorrow. The Exception is the guest writer and I know you’ll enjoy her post. Stop by, if you can:~)

    • #24 by Talon on August 25, 2010 - 10:25 pm

      Sara, you know I never miss a post at your fabulous blog and I look forward to reading The Exception’s guest post! I love that you had Chester (how neat he was a throwback to another lineage making him extra special!) and it’s amazing when you think of all that you learn from a dog or a cat or horse or any animal that becomes your friend and companion, isn’t it? Thank you.

  13. #25 by Tess The Bold LIfe on August 25, 2010 - 9:35 pm

    Talon,
    What a lovely story and Jannie is so funny with her song;) When it comes to love I personally don’t believe in sacrifice. Sacrifice reminds me of martyrism…look at all I did for you. I think of love as a choice. I chose to do this and that out of love.

    • #26 by Talon on August 25, 2010 - 10:28 pm

      Thanks, Tess. Jannie is an amazing light-filled soul, isn’t she?

      I’ve never thought of unconditional love that way. I know I’d take a bullet in a heartbeat for my husband, my children, my animals…and I know I wouldn’t give it a second thought. Mind you, I don’t think I’d hold it over their heads…that would definitely smack of martyrism. You’ve got me thinking now – lol!

  14. #27 by Linda on August 25, 2010 - 9:40 pm

    Talon- this was beautiful, in the makes me cry kind of way. I am such a soft touch when it comes to animals that I feared for Spotty. I also felt his happiness at having such a wonderful home. Our Molly had been a 3-time shelter cat. Her previous owners before us didn’t claim her even after the shelter notified them that there cat was there. We had her for 5 short years, but she was an absolute delight. I think Spotty was much the same.

    • #28 by Talon on August 26, 2010 - 4:03 am

      Linda, thank you. Molly was so lucky to end up in your home, Linda. I’m so glad she those wonderful years with you. I can’t imagine not wanting to claim a pet. I imagine there can be extenuating circumstances at times – like financially or such – but it’s so hard on the pets. It’s awesome when they end up in a loving home.

      • #29 by unfoldingyourpathtojoy on August 26, 2010 - 11:41 am

        Wow…
        The energy within this space is amazing!
        Thank you, Kim, for such a moving piece of wisdom..you have this ability to touch my heart each and every time, and I am full of gratitude for all that you share..
        Thank you to all who have visited to share in this lovely wisdom..A poignant reminder that Love is Always there, even in unexpected forms…I celebrate that fully!
        Much peace,
        Joy

  15. #30 by Tony Single on August 26, 2010 - 12:47 pm

    Okay, you’re going to think me a sap, but I teared up at this, Kim. Spotty sounds like the kind of dog I very much would like to have known. We had a border collie when I was a teenager, and she was a beautiful, big hearted, yet timid thing. When she died, I vowed that I would never love anything again. Of course, by then it was too late… she had already taught me how to love, and so now I do. Whether it be a dog, cat, a person or whatever… love is always best when facing life. Beautiful story, Kim. Thank you. 😀

    • #31 by Talon on August 26, 2010 - 6:45 pm

      Tony, if sappy means you’re sentimental and a loving spirit then you are that 🙂 Awww – I can just imagine your heartbreak when your beautiful border collie passed away. I love that in spite of your desire to not love again (loss makes love so painful) she taught you how valuable it it is. Thank you, Tony.

  16. #32 by desk49 on August 26, 2010 - 2:46 pm

    Me and you both kid.
    where are the bullets
    I too would take a bullet
    for my loved ones
    and kids I don’t know
    Okay some old people I don’t know to
    Throw in a bunch of people I don’t know
    I’ll go off to war and martyr myself
    for a idea, a flag and for the ones
    that runs away so they don’t have to fight
    Yes even they need a martyr now and then

    • #33 by Talon on August 26, 2010 - 6:48 pm

      Ellis, I’m grateful and in awe and thank all the soldiers who sacrifice each and every day and for those soldiers who paid the ultimate price. Wouldn’t it be something if the bullets didn’t fly anymore?

  17. #34 by Evita on August 26, 2010 - 3:08 pm

    Hi Kim

    Oh this story tugged at my heart strings. Animals are truly incredible teachers and what you experienced because of Spotty will remain a part of your forever, and now has touched all of us too!

    I am so thrilled that there was a happy ending to this story!

    All my love to you,
    Evita

    • #35 by Talon on August 26, 2010 - 6:49 pm

      Hi, Evita! Nice to meet you and thank you so much. It was really neat thinking of all the things Spotty had taught me. It’s amazing the impact a little dog can have on a life.

  18. #36 by SnaggleTooth on August 27, 2010 - 8:46 am

    Wonderful story, Talon, n wonderful lessons learned. You had me reliving my childhood dog, Champ, n similar wisdom gleaned from that experience. I also remember my neighbors stately, aged Beagle, “Buddy” who was a friend of mine for most of my childhood , roaming around the neighborhood, until he was the ripe old age of 19! Very easy to like when I was a baby, too! I pictured him in your story- Brought back many fond memories.
    Glad Spotty got to live thru his fight to save you- That was important! What a shining star he was-

  19. #37 by Artswebshow on August 28, 2010 - 12:24 am

    Wow, what a wonderful story.
    I didn’t cry (lol) but i just couldn’t stop reading and when you’d finished i wanted to read more.

  20. #38 by Meredith on August 29, 2010 - 6:45 pm

    Oh, a wonderful story. It’s funny how our animal companions may teach us virtues we struggle to learn from other sources — and all without saying a word.

    I’m glad to see another guest post by the fabulous Talon (aka Kim), and I think you couldn’t have chosen better, Joy.

    On a personal note, I want to thank you, Joy, for your kindness to me. Your condolences were much appreciated, and I am so grateful you came alongside me virtually to speak sincere words of sympathy and encouragement. Blessings on you and yours.

  21. #39 by Jamie Dedes on September 1, 2010 - 3:34 pm

    Wisdom is having Kim/Talon guest post … and this is wonderful. I’ve always thought our animal companions’ single most important lesson is unconditional love.

    This is beautifully written.

    I also appreciate the intro to a new (to me) blog and Joy …

    I will come back to explore this blog another day when time allows.

    Namate dear ones …

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