My dog loves fiercely and loudly. In fact, the more she loves you, the louder she will express it. When she sees someone she loves, she immediately goes into vocal overdrive.

She’s a 70-pound retriever/coon hound mix, so…you can imagine what that can sound like.

Historically I’ve struggled with her fierce, loud love.

I’ve felt like I needed to subdue it, calm it, quiet it. I’ve often wished it would go away. It’s always felt hard to manage.

Take today at the park across from my house as an example:

First she saw my friend, Laura, who she loves. Then she saw my friend, Annie, who she really loves too. By the time she saw Laura’s daughter, Vivian, who she also adores, the entire neighborhood was echoing with the voices of dogs chiming back at her.

I glanced at Laura with frustration etched across my face and she started laughing.

“She loves fiercely,” she said, lightly flinging my own words right back at me.

“And loudly,” I added. And then I laughed too.

to-love-fiercely-and-loudly

Artemis is showing me what I most need to do. I’ve been focused on loving fiercely and I’ve been determined to share that uninhibited love with those around me. I’ve pledged to play in it, write about it, shower you all with it.

This beautiful and sentient and intuitive beast is showing me how to speak it.

She’s demonstrating how such a love sounds. She allows it to bellow out of her and travel along the wind. It makes all of us perk up our ears and listen.

The best love is the love that breaks through the seams of our existence ~ the love that demands that we howl it out to the world unabashed and unafraid.

It is a primal love that is unchecked and unhindered. It reverberates through the night, calling out to others to join in and share in the chorus. It connects us. It makes us stop in our tracks and take notice.

It is a love that demands of us that we be present to it and move with it.

She is my teacher. I forget that sometimes. But she always shows me what I most need to see. And so again today, I choose to love fiercely. The next time you see me, you’d better watch out:

My love just might knock you off your feet.