How to Love



A morsel drops on the floor, and no one runs to scarf it up.

Arriving home, there’s no furry friend waiting on the other side of the door.

Hearing a knock, I look to see if she wants to come inside, but it’s only the acorns thumping on the back porch door.

There are a million reminders.

This has been one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do –put a sick but very happy dog to sleep. I suppose it’ll get easier with time. I’m clinging to the Dr. Suess quote: “Don’t cry that it’s over. Smile that it happened.”

Roxie was a family member, and she impacted us in ways that we’re still growing to appreciate.

A dog’s unconditional love is a rare treasure on earth. I don’t think I fully appreciated it until I lost it.

Roxie inspired several of my blogposts over the years. And so today, she is inspiring one more – a post about unconditional love.

My husband jokes about her unconditional love in one of his life lessons from the garden about the Three Types of Love. “You put your wife and your dog in the car trunk and drive around for an hour. When you open the trunk, which one jumps out and gives you a big fat kiss?”

Unconditional love is the way dogs and Jesus love. Humans, not so much.

Our love often comes with conditions. We love more when the object of our love does things we like – a call or visit, an unexpected gift, support when we need it, etc. If we are hurt by someone, our instinct is to strike back or to hold a grudge.

Not so with a dog. They don’t judge or withhold affection. They want nothing more than to please us. They don’t care if we’re fat or thin, beautiful or homely, popular or not. What they do care about is their devotion to us.

And eating.

OK, gotta be honest – Roxie loved to eat almost as much as she loved us.

But eating aside, she greeted everyone who came to our house with pure love. No one was a stranger to her.

Well, except other dogs.

She wanted no part of other dogs. She thought she was a person – so much so that if we lingered at the kitchen table after eating, she demanded a seat at the table to be part of the discussion.

My daughter said she had no concept of personal space. Wherever we were, she was there in the midst of us.

That reminds me of Someone else.

If Roxie embodied unconditional love and an ever-present-presence, then Jesus does even more so.

With Roxie, there were no “IF/THEN” love qualifications – “IF you do this, THEN I’ll love you.” We didn’t need to be perfect or worthy of her love. She just loved us.

And that is how Jesus loves us. Wholly, unequivocally, passionately, unconditionally.

We can’t earn His love. And nothing we do can diminish His love for us. There are no “If you do this, then I’ll love you.” He’s more like, “I love you. Period.” But because of His great love for us, we are inspired to follow His example. To love others without condition. To serve with enthusiasm. To represent Jesus and the abundant life He provides us to others.

“See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God!” 1 John 3:1

Lavish love!

Lavish means “using or giving in great amounts.” He loves us lavishly, beyond measure.

Let us love with the love that we have received!



Some of my favorite Roxie posts include:


7 thoughts on “How to Love

  1. Katie

    Susan, what a great analogy. Your sweet Roxie looks a little bit like our dog Daisy. Dogs really do love unconditionally, and I’m sure you miss her a lot, but when you think of her, I hope you have a smile on your face : )

  2. Frances Sheeran

    This is soooo true! Thank~you so much for sharing this. A good reminder of how precious our past cats were and how much God loves us! I would really like these devotions sent to me via: email. Blessings!

    1. SusanSusan Post author

      Thank you Frances. I’m not sure how to receive them via email, but I’ll check into it for you.
      Until then, please feel free to visit my personal blog where I share similar posts twice a month. At that site, you can enter your email address in the right sidebar to subscribe to emails.

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