Many of our long-time friends and followers know that I was born in a tough, Irish, working-class neighborhood in South Boston. My mother had to contend with four sons, of which I was the oldest. You don’t need a crystal ball to figure out where love fit into the list of priorities in our family. It was there somewhere in the midst of the chaos. I have no doubts.
It wasn’t until my first Golden, Nicholas, came into my life in 1982 that I finally understood what unconditional love was all about. Of course, everyone loves a sweet puppy. I certainly was crazy in love with him. It’s easier to love when the times are good. But when things became unbearable during the worst of the AIDS epidemic: when the love of my life had died; when sickness and death surrounded me; when my own life teetered precariously on the edge, it was Nicholas’ unconditional love that pulled me through it. With Nicholas, each and every day, there was love in my life.
I lost so many friends and colleagues during the AIDS epidemic that my heart closed shut. I didn’t want to make any new friends for fear I would lose them. Then this sweet, blond, fluff ball, I named Willy, arrived in my life. Slowly, this loving, gentle entity forced me out of the shell I had built to protect me. On our walks he insisted that I share my love for him with everyone we met. I resisted it at first. But as they say – Love Wins.
Now, my life has been blessed once again with another amazing Golden, Morgan. He is my first rescued dog. It was during the great recession, in 2008, when animals were abandoned, sometimes left behind in homes. I knew that I had to do my part to repay the love that I had been so generously given.
Morgan was difficult at first. He was broken, in the same way that I had been. It was time for me to learn about giving unconditional love. With loving kindness, an open heart, and a lot of training, Morgan became a funny, photogenic boy that we’ve all come to love and care about and I can’t imagine my life without him.
So on this holiday dedicated to “Love” I am so grateful to my Goldens who have taught me to be open to love and to give it.