If I legally could, I would quote the lyrics from Magnificent by U2. Since I can’t, I’ll share their official music video. This song came to be special to me on my first walks after losing Buddy.

When you know the pure unadulterated love of a dog like Buddy Girl, you are changed forever. It’s not an exaggeration to say that everyone loved her. Total strangers would stop their cars in the middle of the road to see her when she was a puppy, and people would cross the street in order to pet her.

She had all of her favorite stops in the neighborhood… she got big cookies at our neighborhood market, and little cookies at the high school, and cookies delivered by a lady named Gail. And everywhere she went, people loved her. Older men who walked by themselves, heads down, lost in their sadness or illness, slowly warmed up to her. I imagined her lovely spirit broke through their fog and helped thaw them a bit. Eventually, I learned their names and their faces would lighten a little as they stopped to pet her.

More than half of our friends are Buddy connections. We met all the neighbors on our block, and dog owners at the park, and an entire social circle developed. Her doggie friends became our friends, we learned their owners’ names, and eventually started socializing with them outside the park. We went to baby showers and barbecues and weddings. We saw their kids arrive and turn one and two and six.

Me holding baby Murray

Baby Murray, a Buddy connection

They were the people who came that last weekend to say goodbye. People who had cared for her when I was traveling, and who loved her as much as their own lovely dogs. One confessed that she was more attached to Bud than her own dog. People who cried with us hearing she was gone.

Many of us spend our lives trying to find that kind of love. We seek it in others. We seek to define it as God, Allah, Christ, Buddha, or some other name. I grew up Lutheran, and there is a lot in Christian doctrine about unconditional love. That God loves us no matter what, despite our flaws, in all circumstances. We work so hard to try to connect to God, to understand God, to feel His or Her presence.Buddy Girl peeking out from around the cornerAll we need to do is look into those liquid, brown, loving eyes. That’s God. Because it’s pure love. You don’t have to repent, you don’t even have to say you’re sorry for anything. It’s there every day. Every time you wake up. Every time you come home. There is never a bad day. No complaints. Always so happy to see you. You coming home is the best thing that ever happened to her. Every time. Every day. Every morning. If that isn’t God, what is?

And so when that love passes on, of course it leaves a mark. The deeper the love, the deeper the mark. While we have Buddy-shaped spaces in our lives right now, I wouldn’t trade one second of that love. I’ll take the mark, the mark of love.

The outline of my dog after we sprayed her with water

We misted her on a hot day; she left when she saw me with the camera.

Today’s post is a brief excerpt from my second book: Golden Angels: A Pet Loss Memoir

Have you lost a loved one or pet? How have they left their mark on you?

It’s our mission to help you build a healthy life through food and lifestyle choices. Look for posts on Mondays featuring gluten-free, sugar-free recipes made with healthy plant-based ingredients.

Music video by U2 performing Magnificent, from No Line on the Horizon. (C) 2009 Universal-Island Records Ltd. under exclusive license to Mercury Records Ltd.