A friend of mine recently pointed out that 1 Corinthians 13:4-8, the Bible verse often quoted at weddings, most accurately describes the love of a dog:
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
Her observation was especially poignant, since my close friends had just bade farewell to their 14-year-old, 4-legged, best friend. Baloo was one of the first dogs my pup Julep ever met. She was like her wise, old, protective Grandma. She hovered maternally the first time we went to the dog park. She snapped gently when my little one’s play went too far. She shared bones and burger bites. More than that, she was the dog who stood by my friend through cancer, through lost jobs and looming life questions. She was the dog who approved the appearance of the redheaded man in their lives. There is no greater approval than that of a woman’s dog.
I never fully understood the bond between human and animal until I found my pup soulmate. These creatures teach us so much about loyalty, love, patience and the simplest pleasures in life. My Julep is my spirit guide. If I’m testy and impatient with her, I know something is wrong in my world. Knowing how much I love Julep, I could only sympathize with Dana and Chris at the tremendous loss of such a gentle creature. Wanting to commemorate Baloo’s life, I couldn’t imagine giving them a bouquet which would fade and die in a few short days.
Instead, I sent them bright and cheery little flowers to plant in memory of the fluffy lady we all loved. If you have a furry best friend, squeeze him or her tight, and if you need to send a token of cheer, consider repurposing those market fruit baskets as little bearers of joy. The world always needs more joy!