04/29/2015 07:13 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

What My Pit Bull Rescue Taught Me About Unconditional Love

I’m in love with a bully. It’s true. I think it's safe to say that most people assume she is mean-spirited and dangerous, but they don't see the side of her that I do. I've often been asked why I let her into my life to begin with, seeing as how she makes it more difficult for me to find a place to live. She eats only expensive food and people even move to the other side of the street when they see us walking together. People assume too much about us.

Nahla, my beautiful pit bull rescue, has taught me more about love, happiness, and loyalty in the past year than my husband ever did. She is fiercely kind, comforting, and forgiving -- everything I could ever want in a spouse. She touches places in my heart that I was sure I had boarded up and abandoned long ago. We laugh together in the good times, and we cry together (well actually I cry, and she licks my face) during the bad times.

I think I grieved more in the three hours I thought I was going to lose her because of a snake bite than I did for my husband when he left. Actually, my husband was the one who told me, "we'll have to put her down because it is going to cost too much to save her." (Can you believe he actually said that?!) Thankfully, the vet saved her life, and I got sense enough to kick him to the curb a few short months later. It is kind of ironic to think I almost lost the one who loves me most because of the one who loved me least.

My point in all of this is simply to say that love isn't what I thought it was when I got married. It isn't something only seen on date night with twelve red roses. It isn't something that can be confined to a ring, a white dress and a cake. Language, race, political views, gender and even species don't matter to love. The truest, realest love I have ever known comes from someone who can't even utter the words, "I love you." She tells me with good-morning kisses and good-night snuggles. She saw me at my worst, broken and alone, literally lying on the floor of my bathroom and she still loved me. She loves me so much that she brought me her favorite toy and laid beside me on the cold floor. This gesture, among many others, gave me the strength to love and trust again. She uncovers daily the beautiful pieces of me that I had lost in my marriage and she sets them free.

Even as I'm writing this she has made her way over to rest her head on my knee to remind me that I'm never alone. She is the most beautiful gift and I vow to always cherish her -- down to the very last chewed up shoe.


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