So many permutations when it comes to love, when it comes to what love means to each of us.  There’s the love we have for one another, familial love, the lusting love of passion and energy, and I’ve even heard the word love bantered about in the context of drugs.  Kind of like the “Got Milk” slogan–in this case, it’s “Got Love?”  You give good love. . .I could go on and on.  It’s like the Whitney Houston song, “I Will Always Love You,” truly an anthem for lost souls everywhere.

Truly, though, isn’t the search for real love what it’s all about?  

Love as the ultimate gambit.

I was reading an article in the February 2013 issue of Dog Fancy magazine, asking whether dogs are even capable of love?  The article starts by stating the obvious, “We love our dogs.  There’s no question of that.”  But then it asks whether dogs love humans in return?  One theory put forward is that dogs love us because we provide for them, as a sheer survival mechanism.  I say, those experts just haven’t met the right dog yet.

There are two other really great books on the topic, Dogs Never Lie About Love, by Jeffrey Moussaiff Masson, and The Hidden Life of Dogs by Elizabeth Marshall Thomas.  Thomas talks about the pack nature of her dogs, and their natural pecking order–it’s by no means a dull read, though–it’s a veritable treasure trove of anecdotes about how oh so many times dogs have gone beyond the call of duty, and stood up for their human counterparts.  There are dogs who have been known to lay down their lives for their owners–think army.

Dogs may not feel emotions in the exact same way human beings do, but it’s clear that a dog certainly feels crestfallen and slides into a momentary deep depression the moment you say, NO, we are not going for a walk.  But the moment you put those shoes on and reach for a leash, that animal will perk up in a hurry.  Early in the preface, Masson writes, “Even as a young boy I knew that hardly any creature could express joy so vividly as a dog.”  I think in the end our pets simply want us to care about them in the same way they take care of themselves.  Then, you earn the role of leader, provider, and even, dare I say it, companion, and general protector of your overall mental and emotional well-being.  Freud said quite succinctly, “Dogs love their friends, and bite their enemies.”