The Greatest of These is Love

You can listen to this week’s Devotional here

Author: Nancy Wade

 Love is patient and kind; love is not jealous or boastful; it is not arrogant or rude. Love does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrong, but rejoices in the right. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends. . . So faith, hope, love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love. (1 Corinthians 13: 4-8 and 13)

Valentines Day is this month and our minds and hearts are turning to love. I have been looking for examples of perfect love and I think I have found the answer: my two Golden Retrievers. Stay with me for a minute here.

I don’t know any dog guardian who doesn’t think that their own pet is just the best. As time goes by, our dogs become an important part of our families. We think of our own two dogs as “little people in dog suits.” Tyler Fitzgerald, the older of the two, was six when we brought Gracie, the youngest, home. Gracie Elizabeth was the quietest and smallest puppy in a litter sired by a friend’s Golden. That they both have middle names tells you how devoted we are.

Tyler is the more serious of the two; we have nicknamed him “the professor” for his contemplative nature. We can almost picture him wearing an Irish wool cap and smoking a pipe. Gracie, on the other hand, is a princess. If we are paying attention to Tyler, she will inevitably show up and poke her nose into our hand as if to say, “Pet me! Pet me!” So, I suppose you could say that she does insist on her own way.

Upon close inspection, Tyler and Gracie exhibit all the positive attributes of a loving relationship between the two of them, as well as in their actions toward my husband and me. In the morning, when I scoop two separate cups full of dog kibble into their bowls, each dog will wait until the other has food before they begin to eat. And when I hand out rawhide chewies after their noon meal, no one complains that their chewie is too small or tells me that they want a bigger one. They are simply happy to take whatever we give them.

Tyler and Gracie have taught me so much: the importance of loyalty, the value of living in the moment, how life is defined by the little things and just how deep love can go.

Friends and family members have commented about how mellow our dogs are. They never jump on anyone and only bark when a dog walks by on “their” street. We have showered both Tyler and Gracie with boundless affection and loving words from the day each came to live with us. I know my husband and I have both benefitted not only from the love we receive from the dogs but from the love we are able to freely give to them.

They have taught us to give love without expecting anything in return.

As retirees, we are accustomed to a pretty predictable routine. Tyler and Gracie have intuitively adopted the same routine and I think they count on us to keep daily life on an even keel. We have plenty of time to shower them with love and affection and the same is true for them. And when I count my blessings in this season of Saint Valentine, our two dogs are at the top of the list.


God of all creatures, help us to lovingly nurture and be grateful for our four-legged pets. May we recognize the important role they play in our lives and give them abundant love. Amen

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