“I have found the paradox that if you love until it hurts, there can be no more hurt, only more love.” ~Mother Teresa

This month’s read aloud, For the Love of Autumn beautifully illustrates this quote as we see how a little kitten elicits love from all she meets and ultimately brings more love into the world.

Dear Vincent Van Gogh tells us that, “the best way to know God is to love many things,” and it seems to me that our pets help us to do just that – love many things.

Last May, the day before Mother’s Day, we lost our beloved Golden, Fergus.  He would have been nine years old on February 13th – the day before Valentine’s Day. Fergus loved life – he loved trying to catch tennis balls (he never had much luck as he was completely uncoordinated), romping in the snow…and the mud, basking in the sunlight, galloping around the yard with his sister, Isla, riding in the car and watching the world go by, howling his head off at anything that moved in the back yard, and most of all – swimming.  For the last year of his life, when he only had the use of three legs and could not walk, I took him swimming twice a week and delighted at seeing him paddling his little heart out in that pool as he swam to retrieve his tennis ball.

Fergus was a great gift to our family: he showed us how to love the world more and better and always.  He was faithful, loyal, steadfast, and loving. Despite the fact that he could not run or jump or romp like other dogs, he still found little pockets of joy in life – watching us work in the yard, sitting beneath my feet as I wrote, basking in a sunpatch on the deck, and riding in the car to keep me company.

For the Love of Fergus

A friend of mine gave me a book of poetry by acclaimed poet, Mary Oliver – here is one of my favorites – a tender celebration of all the dogs we have loved.

The Sweetness of Dogs 

What do you say, Percy?  I am thinking

Of sitting out on the sand to watch

The moon rise.  It’s full tonight.

So we go.

And the moon rises, so beautiful it

Makes me shudder, makes me think about

Time and space, makes me take

measure of myself: one iota

pondering heaven.  Thus we sit, myself

thinking how grateful I am for the moon’s

perfect beauty and also, oh! how rich

it is to love the world.  Percy, meanwhile,

leans against me and gazes up into

my face.  As though I were just as wonderful

as the perfect moon.