When you feel like you simply cannot live without someone, would you say that is love?
Or is it something more entirely?
Anyone can feel love. But the true test is the way that we show love.
A reader recently sent us this heartwarming tale that describes what real love looks like.
Although the love in this story occurs between two animals, it’s a lesson that even us humans can learn from.
Here’s what happened.
Brownie and Spotty were neighbor dogs who met every day to play together. Like pairs of dogs you can find in most any neighborhood, these two loved each other and played together so often that they had worn a path through the grass of the field between their respective houses.
One evening, Brownie’s family noticed that Brownie hadn’t returned home. They went looking for him with no success. Brownie didn’t show up the next day, and, despite their efforts to find him, by the next week he was still missing.
Curiously, Spotty showed up at Brownie’s house alone, barking, whining, and generally pestering Brownie’s human family. Busy with their own lives, they just ignored the nervous little neighbor dog.
Finally, one morning Spotty refused to take “no” for an answer. Ted, Brownie’s owner, was steadily harassed by the furious, adamant little dog. Spotty followed Ted about, barking insistently, then darting back and forth to a nearby empty lot, as if to say, “Follow me! It’s urgent!” Eventually, Ted followed the frantic Spotty across the empty lot, as Spotty paused to race back and bark encouragingly.
The little dog led the man under a fence, past clumps of trees, to a desolate spot a half mile from the house.
There Ted found his beloved Brownie alive — one of his hind legs crushed in a steel leg-hold trap. Horrified, Ted wished he’d taken Spotty’s earlier appeals seriously.
Then Ted noticed something quite remarkable…Spotty had done more than simply lead Brownie’s human to his trapped friend. In a circle around the injured dog, Ted found an array of dog food and table scraps, which were identified as the remains of every meal Spotty had been fed that week!
Spotty had been visiting Brownie regularly, in a single minded quest to keep his friend alive by sacrificing his own comfort! Spotty had stayed with Brownie to protect him from predators, snuggling with him at night to keep him warm and nuzzling him to keep his spirits up.
Brownie’s leg was treated by a veterinarian and he recovered. For many years thereafter, the two families watched the faithful friends frolicking and chasing each other down that well-worn path between their houses.
The moral of the story?
True love is shown by the sacrifices we make when we put our loved ones ahead of ourselves.
And as evidenced by the animals in our story who can’t offer a simple “I love you,” actions speak volumes louder than words.
Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. -John 15:13