In the past year, I’ve become even more aware of how incredibly important and powerful the unconditional love of golden retrievers can be for health, wellness, and family happiness.

Thanks in large part to my uncle’s family, Ron and Kathy Henley, I’ve had contact and been familiar with golden retrievers since I was very young. I wanted to have my own golden retriever dog for a long time, so after Shelly and I were married we added “Bailey” to our family within a few months. Jake joined us in Lubbock, Texas, a few years later. We had many wonderful years of shared life and love with both of those fantastic dogs.

As our girls, Sarah and Rachel, have grown older and become teenagers, I’ve been struck many times by the realization that our dogs’ unconditional love and constant availability as well as loving nature has been HUGE for their personal senses of joy, stability, safety, and happiness.

I have always loved our dogs and known they are extremely important members of our family, but seeing our daughters especially interact with Willow and Scarlet in the past few years my appreciation and thankfulness for them has grown even deeper. There is something absolutely wonderful, pure, and powerful about the love of a golden retriever that it brings tears to my eyes to consider and remember. The gift of a dog’s unconditional love is from the Lord. Our dogs literally “minister” to members of our family in times of need, especially. They “know” and can “sense” when we are troubled and upset. They offer themselves and their full attention to us at those times… not entirely selflessly, I would add… but powerfully none-the-less. (Willow in particular can lose interest in me quickly if I’m not giving her attention… but she comes to her role of “family love therapist” quite willingly and naturally despite this.)

I praise God and give him thanks for the abundant and limitless love which our dogs share with us, and have shared with us over the years. Never underestimate the importance and power of unconditional love and full attention. These are gifts we have the ability to give each other every day. It just so happens that some dogs, like golden retrievers, are genetically endowed by our Creator with this amazing capacity and desire.

Thank you, Lord, for golden retrievers.

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