I’d like to tell you a story about my momma’s risk with love. My family had a beautiful white labrador retriever for a short seven years before I came home to them, his name was Bear. Bear was a gentle giant who gave much love to my family, but who unfortunately happened to have chronic seizures. As you can imagine the seizures created a lot of stress and trauma for my family, especially for my momma. As the seizures worsened, my momma became increasingly afraid of losing Bear. While she struggled with those thoughts about losing him, she also struggled with how to protect her heart from seemingly inevitable heartbreak.

I don’t think it is ever easy to lose a loved one, to handle that loss. In every relationship, furry or human, there is always a risk of heartbreak as our days here are numbered. Of course, this is uncomfortable to think about and can cause profound sadness, even fear. My momma struggled and thought perhaps taking a step back from Bear would make his loss more manageable. While she was having these thoughts, a wise friend asked my momma if she would consider keeping an open heart to love Bear in the time that she did have with him. Asked her to think about the love she might miss out on if she chose to close off her heart. Encouraged her to ask herself if it would be fair for Bear to stop receiving her love when he could use it even more in light of his illness. My momma did a lot of soul searching about this.

If I were there, I would’ve showered my momma with my love, love that I give without reservation. I throw my whole body into loving my family, literally… With my jumps and kisses and snuggles, I let my family know without a doubt that my love is always guaranteed. Although this is not a light-hearted topic, I hope this story of my momma’s speaks to you if you are struggling with fearful thoughts of possibly losing someone special to you. I hope it can be a reminder for you to be open and not close off your heart, while trying to protect it from the risk of loss or easing your pain after. To love is to risk. Risk heartbreak, risk losing someone you love. But in that risk, there is the chance of so much to gain. There is the possibility of love and memories that stay with us forever. What else is there like the love that we experience? The joy love brings, the happiness of being connected, the pleasure of belonging. My momma did decide to keep her heart open, taking one day at a time, loving Bear deeply while he was with my family. Although Bear’s loss was painful, my momma did not regret choosing to keep her heart open. Bear left a unique paw print on her life, one that won’t ever be forgotten.

Then came the day when my family felt they were ready, and they picked me to love. My momma said she cried all the way to pick me up that first day. She cried for the loss of her once in a lifetime dog that she still mourned, and about the thought of opening herself up to a new pup to love. But do you know what? When she drove up and saw me that day, my momma’s heart swelled, and it was the beginning of a new and different love. She also tells me she was surprised to find I was the largest in my litter! My momma no longer believes there is a limit to how many once in a lifetime pups that can come into your life. The love that I bring is different from Bear’s. I am no gentle giant, that’s for sure! I am a curly haired rascal that has brought healing, so much fun, and a spirit of adventure to my family. Which is just what they needed! I couldn’t be happier that my momma decided love was worth the risk.

As I’ve mentioned before, I believe that love IS a risk worth taking. Are you willing to take that risk, whether it be for a furry or a human loved one? The chance to love, to make a deep connection, is a gift. Think about those you love, perhaps some you may have already lost. Sometimes the cost of love feels high, a cost of heartbreak, of pain. To truly know love, to spend the time we do have together, wouldn’t you agree that is worth the risk? Reach out and squeeze your loved one, furry or human. Or, do what I do, jump up to love on that special someone today.

Come walk with me, if you’d like.