My whole life has been one of conditional love. Now I am not some bitter old man complaining about his lot in life because conditions sometimes are OK like when you promise to be faithful in marriage, that condition is OK. The unconditional love which is rare indeed has come from animals, and for me that is exemplified with two poodles. My dearly departed standard poodle, Hope Elizabeth, and the current love of our lives, the toy poodle extraordinaire, Henri. They have both played big parts in my joy on a daily basis.
When I met Hope she was already Charlene's poodle and she was a bit standoffish and shy when we first met. I know that the way to this women's heart had to go through Hope so I decided to woo her first, so I became the world's greatest petting machine. I am a samrt guy because it worked! Hope did something way beyond allowing me into Charlene's life that I posted about before. In 2007 and 2008 I was getting sick often and it would last for weeks. I also had something sticking out of my neck but I just thought I was working too hard and not taking care of myself. Strangely Hope quit eating and wouldn't leave my side at all. The vet did testing but nothing was wrong so we were confused. The answer came soon after, I was diagnosed with cancer and two weeks later we were in Houston for treatment. Guess what, Hope's appetite returned and she was fine. She played a big part in my being alive. Does unconditional love get better than that? I miss you Hopey Bear.
Henri was the son of the number two poodle one year at Westminster but his legs grew too long for show or stud. We had lost an older dog that was Hope's companion and our groomer knew that Hope was sad and needed someone, so Henri was given to us and that may be the greatest gift ever. Henri is now approaching 12 but toy poodles live long and believe me he gets the best care. As you might have seen from previous pictures I have used here, Henri is totally Zen. When we go through the Atlanta airport kids go crazy and want to pet and hold him. What I love about Henri is not just what he gives us which is amazing, but what he shares with others. So many humans have bad days and don't project any kind of happiness but our dogs and cats don't do that is they give us that love, it travels. Henri missed Hope but what we found out is that he either feels like he is human, or he thingks that we are just big dogs and a part of his pack. These kiddos make us better people and they teach us the way life should be lead.