How I Learned About Love
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.
Thank you for sharing. This was so beautiful and well written. Love you my friend.
I’m so happy for you Dan! I know about isolating oneself and thank God that is no longer my life. Have a wonderful Valentine’s Day and give that beautiful boy a big hug for me please!
Consider it down, Rita. I’m relieved the isolation is a thing of the past as well. Happy Valentine’s Day to you and your family. Hugs all around.
What an awesome story.
Yes I’ll vouch that doggies do mend a broken heart. My Jesse that I had as a pup 8 weeks young until he crossed the rainbow bridge at 17 helped me get over the loss of my dad. My mom passed in 1973 the morning of my commencement from high school. And it did take me a year to reach out & rescue Cashew. My boy has a loving & caring mama & you know I spoil him rotten. A child I was never able to have.
Thanks for sharing.
I know that you have been blessed in your lifetime, Dan by receiving and giving unconditional love many times. Your Valentine for all of us is so beautifully expressed through your love for Nicholas, Willy and Morgan. Happy, Happy Valentine’s Day!
Again what a wonderful story. I love to read your stories about you and your beautiful Goldens. I’m so glad that you were able to make it through the tough times in your life. I can only imagine how difficult it was for you. As you know I totally understand what the love of a golden can do for us. I just lost my husband of almost 40 years. My Jake and Jules are right by my side helping each day to get through and begin the healing. I can’t wait to read your book. Thank you my friend for sharing.
Beautifully written Dan! Thank you for sharing!!
How do you mend a broken heart……Morgan❤️ I know seeing pictures and reading posts about him sure makes me happy.
As always Dan you amaze me with such sweet words of your 3 sweet loving amazing boys! You and Morgan to me are the most wonderful kind of examples of love that any one can give and I’m so grateful that I have been blessed to see it shine from you both!! Love you both sweet friends..❤️
Beautiful Dan! You’ve been truly blessed. All of your kids have been pivotal in your life. You know I understand completely. Each of my Goldens have delivered me in some way. Nothing heals like unconditional love, and, in my humble opinion, Golden Retrievers are the perfect embodiment of that love.
I agree. Goldens seem to have some innate ability to comfort humans, maybe all creatures, from some of the pictures I’ve seen. It’s uncanny how they work. Thank you for your kind words. I truly am blessed.
So beautiful, Dan. Thank you for sharing it with us❤️❤️❤️
You are so welcomed Barbara. Thank you for your ongoing support and kind words.
One of your best blogs. Straight from the heart!
Wow. Thanks so much James. Your assistance means so much to me.