Honestly, it shocked me.

He’s a Big Time lawyer with a Big Time presence on Facebook. I won’t divulge his name but nearly a quarter of a million people follow his short (professionally produced) videos. And this time he was discussing the grief he’s been living with over the death of his beloved dog.
“My dog was the greatest friend you could ever have,” he lamented. “Nobody loved me like [she did].”
He then went on to share that because he’s been in deep mourning over losing his pooch it took him a while to be able to talk about it adding, “I believe if there are no dogs in Heaven, then there is no Heaven.”
He sums up his thoughts with: “Dogs are better than people.”

Dogs are better than people?!

I would say the shocker for me was his exclamation that “Dogs are better than people.”
But, no wait! Maybe what really shocked me was the astonishing response to those words by thousands of people, liking and commenting.
A few examples…
  • You are so right. My dog is everything to me. Loves me unconditionally.  
  • I will always love dogs more than people because they are there for you through thick and thin, no pretenses just love.
  • They are family members and are so much better than people.
  •  Dogs are better than people and it is harder and more painful to lose your dog than it is to lose a human loved one.
  • Dogs are DEFINITELY better than people. Loving, loyal, faithful.
  • Dogs and their unconditional love can never be matched!
  • I have received far more love from dogs in my 73 years than humans.
  • I agree I like dogs way more than people. They don’t know how to back stab or run your name down. And they love UNCONDITIONALLY  even to their own detriment.

What is unconditional love?

The take-away from the hundreds of comments is that dogs are better than people because they give us unconditional love.

Unconditional love means you are loved through mistakes and hardships; it’s an affection without any limitations or no conditions put on love.

Unconditional love means you are loved through mistakes and hardships; it’s an affection without any limitations or no conditions put on love.

But no wonder unconditional love sounds so out of reach in human-to-human connections. As kids, many of us experienced the opposite of this when our impressionable sponge-like little brains heard: “I can’t be loved if I don’t fill in the blank.
This conditional love might have sounded something like this:
  • “I gave you everything I could and this is the thanks I get?”
  • “I wanted you to become a (lawyer, doctor, take over our family business, etc); I am so disappointed in your choice.”
  • “We are a respected family and you sully us by doing this?”
  • “Where is your sense of loyalty?! After all the love we gave you, this is who you choose to marry?!”
OUCH. 
Do any of these sound familiar to you? What was the conditional love refrain you heard as a child? (drop down to the comments and let me know).
In our culture, it’s an accepted belief that parents’ love for their kids is unconditional. But even in the healthiest of families, we can see the type of “strings attached” conditional love in parent-child relationships. And because we learn from an early age the need to conform to others’ preferences and expectations, this trauma (yes, trauma) is carried with us into adulthood as we go about trying to create relationships with others.
It can be hard.
Ok, it is hard when we create an enduring relationship with another person – a person who has their own character flaws and frailties that come into contact with our own character flaws and frailties.
Yet, one of the most potent and fulfilling experiences as a human being is navigating the challenges of creating healthy relationships and drawing good boundaries where people can meet each other in love, respect, and connection. This is a learned skill and it’s why I include boundary drawing in my Emotional Liberation master courses (that you can learn about here). As we heal internally from trauma we also must heal the issues in our external life.
Dogs certainly can be a “Wo/Man’s best friend” but our furry friends are a single part of the mix in loving what life has to offer. I invite you to share your thoughts on this subject – let me know what you think below in the comments section.
I adore my little Sawyer’s capacity for giving his unconditional love – it’s one of the rich dimensions of love that I have in my life.

With Love,

Becca