How a rescue dog taught me a lesson in love

Komorebi, May 2018

The best way to describe my partner Jake is “blokey”. You would never say he’s emotional. He’s a tall Aussie with a matter of fact kind of attitude to life. He comes across a little rough around the edges, doesn’t worry about little things and just gets on with life.

I’d already accepted a long time ago that I wasn’t with a man that expressed himself with words or romantic gestures. However, if I’m honest, I wanted to feel more confident that he would always be there for me, no matter what. Funnily enough, it was Jake’s relationship with someone else that ended up giving me the confidence I needed.

About a year ago, we decided to take advantage of our pet friendly apartment by adopting a rescue dog, Marley. I must admit that I assumed I’d be the favourite parent because I’m the more affectionate, motherly type. But as soon Marley set eyes on Jake, he was absolutely besotted.  No matter how many treats I tried to bribe him with or how many hugs I offered, the way he looked at Jake was something I just couldn’t compete with. At first, Jake just played it cool and didn’t seem to show much attachment, but as the first few weeks went by, a bromance began to blossom.

I knew their bond was really starting to get serious when I’d come home from work, to find them snoring, snuggled up on the couch together.  In the evenings I’d walk into our bedroom to find Jake missing, only to discover him carefully tucking Marley into his bed in the living room.

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One stormy weekend, Marley was very scared of lightning. We tried everything to help calm him down, but nothing seemed to help. Jake discovered that the bathroom was quieter than other parts of the house, so he carefully made Marley’s bed in there. I woke up in the middle of the night to a loud lightning bolt and noticed Jake wasn’t in bed. I went searching for him and found both him and Marley, curled up next to each other on the bathroom floor.

To my amusement, things only escalated from there. On Valentines Day, I received a phone call from Jake saying he was about to buy something special. I quickly interrupted to say the standard “oh you really don’t have to”, before he continued with, “Actually, I’m at the pet store and I was going to buy Marley a new bone”. Luckily, he came home with some flowers and a cheeky grin, so he was quickly forgiven.

Unfortunately, the treat he bought Marley that day ended up causing some health issues. Jake was utterly devastated and took a few days off work just to make sure Marley received the medical treatment he needed. The appointments were expensive, but not once did he complain about it, he was only concerned about making sure Marley felt better.

I’ve always loved Jake the way he is, but the truth is that until we adopted Marley, I didn’t realise how lucky I was. While Jake is never going to be made for rom-coms when it comes to our relationship, adopting Marley has helped me realise that what he does have to offer is far more precious.  Over the past few months, Jake’s love and dedication to caring for Marley made me realise that he would do absolutely anything to protect his family. Nothing can beat the feeling of knowing you’re loved unconditionally and I’m grateful to Marley for helping me see it.

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