Recently heartbroken, my animal-lover-self entered the store “Bow wow & Kity Too!” in San Francisco, and found a colorful work of art featuring a German Shepherd with the statement: “Dogs never lie about love”. I felt a little pain in my heart, sighed, took a picture of it, turned to my best friend Erica and said, “This is so true…probably why I love my dog Waly so much”.
It is Valentine’s Day today, the day some people love, others hate, some are indifferent to, and others decide to stuff their face with chocolate. If your heart is hurting or healing from a past relationship like mine, please do not go on Tinder or Bumble for comfort. Put your phone down, take a deep breath, go find your pet, look into their eyes and find solace that you have in your arms one of the most pure forms of love that can be found on this planet. Really, take a moment to think about this fact: “Dogs/Cats/Pets never lie about love”. How amazing is it that on our planet there are furry, hairy, and feathery creatures that will love you no matter what you look like, smell like, say, feel, or wear AND the best part of all is that your human heart will never doubt or second guess their love, not even for a second. No wonder so many people of different ages and cultures have pets! To be more precise, here in the United States 68% of households have pets, which is around 85 million families according to last year’s National Pet Owner survey completed by the American Pet Products Association.
The desire for unconditional love is present in every human and Valentine’s Day reminds us of this yearning. Now, the capability to love and express love is where things get tricky, yet animals know how to make us feel loved so well. Animals do not say things they do not mean, but rather speak with actions and always act on their sincere feelings. They do not let fears, insecurities, overthinking, doubts, past experiences, and pain get in the way of their love. These previous human characteristics is what makes loving difficult at times and can cause people to lie about their love to their partner or worse to themselves.
I look at Waly’s sweet almond shaped eyes and ask, “How do you do it? I wish I could love like you, and actually I wish to find a man that one day loves me like you do”. It is hard to find a love that does not impose, does not lie, and more importantly speaks in actions not just words. I am about to turn thirty and I have to admit that I am still working on learning to control certain human tendencies that have ruined my happiness in a relationship. Although it is probably humanly impossible to love like a dog, Waly reminds me every day to give it a try, never lose hope, and to keep my mind in the present as much as possible.
I think an animal’s love is so pure because their needs are so simple and basic making it really easy for us to make them happy. I mean want to see your dog happy? Just grab a tennis ball, go on a long walk, or get close to the treat jar and he will start wagging his tail. Similarly, although a bit more complicated, cats love to be pet, play with feathers and hide in cardboard boxes. Yes, all animals have their quirks and own personality but they are way easier to figure out than some people, don’t you agree?
One of the most beautiful things about animals is the unconditional love they have for themselves, an acceptance of their feelings, and their ability to enjoy every moment. Dogs and cats just embrace who they are and do not care about what people think of them. “Is self-acceptance and self-love key for a successful and happy relationship Waly?” Yes, I believe they are. Nonetheless people, unlike dogs and cats, are a complicated breed when in love. People are a mix of many needs, strange wants, and a self-defeating ego. We are animals that even reject pure love, which is probably why 7.6 million animals are left at shelters every year across the US according to the Humane Society of Central Texas. “Do not worry Waly, you are never going back to a shelter again. I promise you have found your partner for life. I won’t lie to you either…”
It is Valentine’s Day today and the month of February in Houston, Texas is now officially “Love your Pet” month thanks to Council Member Karla Cisneros. Thus, if you are a currently single pet owner like me, I hope you spend your evening watching a movie in your pajamas on the couch with your dog, cat, bird or reptile next to you, and know that you are loved unconditionally…it is no lie. And before going into a new human relationship again take the time to learn from your past mistakes, to love yourself even more, and accept your quirks as well as your partners, like your pet does. Remember to try your best to love like a dog and not lie.
Oh, and if you do not have a furry creature of love in your home at the moment, when you are ready to open up your heart to the purest form of love there is, Google the nearest shelter and go adopt!
Happy Valentine’s Day,
Alejandra & Waly