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He’s always there. As the sun rises each morning and I begin to shuffle while the alarm beckons me, I turn my head and notice my furry bundle curled up in his bed next to me. His eyes open as my body moves, and a few moments later I am greeted with a morning kiss. Before my day even begins, a feeling overpowers me – I am loved.

Toto, like each of our beloved pets has a quality that many of us as humans strive for but often are unable to achieve. I’m talking about unconditional love. You see, no matter what kind of attitude I carry around, Toto is consistent with his affection and ability to brighten my mood. There are days when I make time to throw his favorite toy, “Dino,” across the living room – again and again – and others when I’m self-consumed with little time for play. But he waits patiently and covers me with kisses despite my treatment. He just loves me no matter what.

What’s natural for Toto is much harder for me. While I’m good at receiving unconditional love from Toto and others, I’m not so great – depending on the circumstances – at granting it. Sometimes I unconsciously keep score. Pain runs deep and is not easily forgotten. I’m tempted to treat others like they treat me – especially when they mistreat me. I want to walk away from difficult relationships and situations. I don’t want to love certain people, especially the ones I don’t even like.

But then I glance over to see my tiny treasure and get a needed jolt of a reminder. Toto loves me without remembering the many times I have overlooked him, unintentionally caused him pain, or failed to reciprocate the love he continually showers on me. Why, then, don’t I do the same?

In this season of love I am grateful that God sent me Toto not only to love me but also to remind me of what true love is all about.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

And Our Yellow Brick Road Adventures Continue ...

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