When we talk of God we often talk of His unconditional love for us. A willingness to do whatever it takes to show us what love is, without any underlying agenda to trick or fool us into something false. Just love itself.

This loving unconditional love, a love without strings attached is hard for us to comprehend. Even harder for us to emulate. It is often difficult to see where in our family lives that such love can be rendered by us mere mortals. To see this unconditional love, we often have to move down the chain of evolution, to our pets to see how this works.

This week, a beloved pet in our family, Rosie passed away. Rosie was my daughter Terri’s family dog. She was a rescued from a home which was inhabited by two heroin addicts, she was undernourished, had obviously been abused and in a need of a good home.

My daughter and her husband found Rosie at a rescue kennel many years ago. We didn’t really know how old she was at the time, perhaps a year or so would be a guess, but that’s all it would be. She stayed at our home in Massachusetts for a couple of months, until my daughter and husband moved into a home where she could legally stay in Washington D.C. This short training period with Rosie in New England began our relationship with this dog that lasted many years.

Rosie, was perhaps one of the least beautiful dogs you might run into. She was skinny, not great posture. When I walked her in the streets of D.C. I actually had people stop and tell me how “ugly” she was. None of this phased Rosie. She was happy to be with me. She was happy to be with any member of the family. She was happy to be with anyone. She was just happy.

While we had owned many dogs ourselves in our lives, for some reason Rosie, more than any others, exemplified “unconditional love”. She never seemed to worry about anything except being accepted in the family and despite years of having ears pulled and being sat on by her subsequent best friends who arrived in Terri’s family (her kids); she never complained.

If I had to emulate a dog in my life, I think Rosie would be a good one. Undemanding, peace filled, happy to do, well, nothing all day. Providing you were there of course.

Rosie of course, as does any dog with character, had some bad habits. She wanted to be close to you and would try and get on sofas where she could not read the “no dogs allowed” sign. Same for bedding. I think because her owners let her sleep with them, she was not the easiest dog to break the habits of being close to her dog sitters, wherever they lived. However, these were minor flaws in the scheme of things. After all, how can you feel angry towards someone who just wants to snuggle up to you.

I think we learn something from animals who exist with only one raison d’être, to be with us. Rosie was such a beast. Simply in need of our presence and love. (Well perhaps a little food and water too).

Rosie will be missed by our family. The spirit and love of Rosie however, lives on. She taught some young people and old folks in our family how unconditional love can be played out each day. And not just for the days we feel like giving it. I wonder where else we have heard that message?


Rosie Segura: a beloved dog.

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