love that hurts

by rebecca on March 4, 2010

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       I am planting an altared space this year and I’d love to have your help. I have a brown thumb, so I need lots of support. In this garden, along with planting the traditional things that grow, I’m collecting treasures that tell stories. I’d love to have a symbol of your altared space in my garden.


       I’m planting a rawhide chewy in my garden in honor of my dog who expands my heart and teaches me to relax.

       Yesterday I took Ode Yedder to town with me. I hadn’t done that in a long time and it felt delicious for the absence. We’ve had another dog visiting and the rhythm in our home has been more commotion than calm. But Yedder sat in the passenger seat and laid her head in my lap while I stroked her soft ear.

       My blood pressure dropped ten percent. I felt it descend degree by degree.

       We both got our blood drawn, she at the vet, me at the hospital. I patted her and she licked my cheek. Then we went to the pet store.

       I love running all kinds of errands with my dog because she is patiently waiting there when I emerge from each store, eager to see if I have a cookie treat, or lazily yawning after her nap in the sun. I adore her company.

       But nothing beats the pet store because she is allowed to come inside. She loves this. We went to the aisle with the bones. There we met a woman pondering which bone to purchase when she commented on my dog’s one blue eye. Everyone comments on Yedder’s one blue eye. It’s the conversation starter.

       “We got her at the Humane Society,” I typically say, “The blue eye was part of her pound surprise package; along with all the surgery she would later need.” I often leave off this last part. Today I felt vulnerable.

       “I love my dog so much it hurts,” said this woman picking out a bone. That described how I felt about my dog perfectly. There is an ache in my heart where that love lives. I don’t understand it, but it often does feel like hurt; a hurt I would never give up.

       We talked about the variety of maladies our dogs have had and how, because of those, it has opened us, carving our hearts with precision and clarity. We love more sharply. We are more intuitive. We can hear words that aren’t spoken.

       This dog who lays her head in my lap has taught me so much about being human because I’ve had to learn to listen to her hurts that have no words. I’ve listened to my deepest humanity; the kind that connects to a dog who speaks with her eyes and lays her soft ear in my lap.


       Is your heart similarly saddled with love that carves? I’m collecting pictures of dogs and other animals that help people understand who they are. Please send me a photo of the one you love. Whether living with you now, or long ago, I’d enjoy hearing about how the creature in your life speaks to you.

 photo by Haley Kay

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Yvette Francino March 7, 2010 at 11:23 pm

Pets can conjure up a special kind of love from us because they give their love to us so loyally and willingly. I’ll see if I can find a photo of Chloe to send you. She’s a disobedient trouble-maker, but she does know how to look at us with just the right puppy-dog eyes to make our hearts melt.


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