choose more love puppy

Choose More Love

“Over my dead body,” was a typical response my children received when asking if we could get a pet.  There were so many reasons why not to do it: allergies, city life, apartment living, frequent travel.  But the core reason was – I just didn’t want the hassle.  I know what you’re thinking – we got a Covid dog.  No, there was no way I was squeezing a pet into our crowded apartment.  It was actually a change of heart.  I decided it was time to choose more love.

I grew up in a busy house being the second of 7 kids.  We rarely had pets, and if we did have the random hamster or fish, they didn’t make much of an impression.  Pets seemed no more than an extra burden to me, and with all the diaper changes and babysitting, I was not interested.  I carried that attitude into my adult life and used allergies and our lifestyle as a solid defense to my children’s pleas.

Then life changed.  We moved to the USA, where it’s easy to access veterinarians, dog sitters and pet supplies.  And our home became a little emptier.  With two kids away at college, one of us would end up home alone more and more often.  The ease and comfort of daily life had increased but somehow so had the feeling that there was room for more.  I understood that it was time to choose more love.

Mila’s Coming Home

Hearts Expanding

The effect was immediate.  As soon as our family decided to take the plunge, it opened a floodgate of excited conversations, ideas, and learning together.  We crafted spreadsheets analyzing dog characteristics, watched online classes about dog training, took polls for names, and shopped for supplies.  Carefully choosing the right breed to mitigate any chance of allergies, we shared the suspense of waiting for our puppy to be born.  And then Mila arrived.

I’m not going to sugarcoat it; it was a rough first 6 months.  Honestly, that was mostly my fault.  I was a first-time parent again.  Basically, I made it a lot harder than it had to be, overreacting to everything. But that’s ok – lesson learned.  Most importantly, Mila is overwhelmingly the most popular family member now.  She is the main topic on the family chat and a constant source of smiles.  We worry about her together; we share our love for her together.  All our hearts have expanded because we chose more love.

I’ve realized that our capacity to love and the resulting positive emotions are limitless.

Why Choose More Love?

I’m not writing this post to try and convince you to get a dog.  I want to share my experience of opening my heart when I thought it would be too much work.  I am astounded at how much love I have for our fur baby, while the love for others in my life did not diminish at all.  I’ve realized that capacity to love and the resulting positive emotions are limitless.

So why is that a big deal?  Because having more love and connection in your life is good for you, really good for you.  Acts of kindness and feelings of love release a ‘cuddle hormone,’ called oxytocin, that has documented benefits to your emotional and physical health.  Choosing more love in your life can simply make you happier and healthier.

How Do We Define Love?

We all know, love comes in many shapes and sizes.  The obvious, ‘romantic love,’ jumps to most of our minds, along with the pressure to have it.  But, I was pleased to read this article that provided research expounding on the importance of friendship to our well-being.  As Arthur C. Brooks explains, “The important thing for well-being is relationship satisfaction, and that depends on what psychologists call “companionate love”—love based less on passionate highs and lows and more on stable affection, mutual understanding, and commitment.”

But what about my sister’s love for Formula One?  Or the love for a rescued baby parrot?  (You absolutely MUST watch the clip below.)  Does that count as a love that can benefit us?  I think it does.  When you love something, even if it’s not a living being, allowing yourself to get excited, feel passion, and care about something other than yourself must be good for you.  You open yourself to more joy and the potential for connection with others.


This is the best thing that happened to me in a while. All it takes is one person to save a life. @Sara Haytham couldn’t do it without u #fyp #hope #rescue #bird #positivity #medicine #medicalstudent #arabs #egypt #cairo #viral

♬ bbyhelo – helolo
The Joy of Choosing Love

So, don’t be afraid to widen your lens of love.  Even when you know it may make life harder in some ways, don’t underestimate how much more it can add to your life.  We took the plunge with Mila, and it has paid off in ways I never even imagined.  I challenge you to choose more love for your life too.   


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