Conditional-Unconditional Doggy Love
Updated: Sep 8
Or the true story about the dog and the pecan nut
I was invited to dinner at a friend's house where I was staying for a few days. They have a small lovely dog called Mimi. I'd just seen her once before.
As soon as we started eating yummy vegetables and cheese, Mimi started jumping on us, shaking her little body and wagging her tail begging for food. Her mum kept pushing her away asking her to stop.
She told me "Sorry, this dog doesn’t understand! She doesn't learn fast." And added "Mimi's not smart but I love her." So she took from the plate a pecan nut and threw it at Mimi in order to keep her distracted.
I asked "wow, does this dog eat pecan nuts??" She said "sure, she eats everything!"
But the dog saw it fall on the floor and ignored it. It just stayed there. Obviously she didn't like it. Then she immediately started begging again.
Now Mimi was jumping on my lap.
I decided to look at her, right in the eye. And pointing my finger towards her little face I started communicating with her. I told her she had to let us eat and that she would eat later her own food. Right now she had to stay calm. Then I asked her several times to sit and wait. Each time she sat, I joyfully told her "good girl" and pet her tenderly. Till she didn’t put her little paws on my leg any more.
At this point, Mimi was sitting nice and calm next to me. I was impressed. Her mama started to feel proud of her. I wanted to give this dog a sign of appreciation. So I don't know what I was thinking, but anyway I took the pecan nut on the floor and gave it to Mimi.
But this time, instead of ignoring it Mimi did something that left us speechless. She grabbed the nut in her mouth, walked a few meters away from the table to her bed, which is a large square pillow, and put the nut right in the middle of it. I couldn't believe what I was seeing. What a loving and respectful gesture!! This wasn't all. After she left her present on her bed, she came back to the table and sat again by my feet. Well more precisely on one of my feet :) I was told by my friend that Mimi sits like this when she loves someone.
Wow!! What this dog just did was so remarkable!! What a lesson to us! It just filled my heart with doggy Love.
On top of it, the brain-shape pecan nut remained untouched on the pillow during my whole stay, as a reminder of this brilliant exemple (till I found reasonable to throw it away, with all my affection and respect for Mimi).
Mimi's mum had to admit they usually let her do too many things without taking much time to talk to her and teach her boundaries.
So much to learn from what happened! I'm sure I haven't still processed the whole scope of its meaning.
What I understood is that this smart dog wasn't merely begging for food but rather for some proof of love through education. She wanted some guidance to better express her love and gratitude. So we kept interacting with her in that direction. Towards the end of my stay she was able to temper her restlessness and play harmoniously with other dogs. At the end of my stay her mama told me she had rescued 1 year ago this 3-year-old dog from almost dying in constant lock up and carelessness.
Mimi's story illustrates how love and caring between beings comes with the need of setting and understanding boundaries, within ourselves and with one another. And I remember Matías de Stefano saying once that dogs embody unconditional love. Mimi clearly showed us that the way to feel unconditional love are...conditions. And that there is no unintelligent dog. These lovely beings are just the reflection of our incomplete selves.
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