I own a white Jack Russell named Rainbow and a brown Miniature Pinscher christened Joy. Their personalities are as different as their coat colours. Rainbow is the equivalent of a canine dolphin who gets along with anybody and is fiercely loyal. On the other hand, Joy is more of a sour puss who is fiercely loyal to being a bitch.
But I love them both just the same because under Rainbow’s friendliness beguiles a disboedient streak while Joy’s aloofness is compensated by her tenderness, a side she rarely shows but when she does, she makes you feel like the most important person in the world.
Actually, I’ve learnt a lot about love from them. Through Joy, I’ve learnt to love imperfection. Other than her princessy ways, one of her eyes is cloudy from cataract, her breath stinks to hell no matter how much we brush her teeth, and she has a chronic skin condition that not only causes regular spotting on her body, but also made the vet very rich.
Yet despite her unlovableness, every time she looks at me with her one good eye left, my heart melts and time stops. I cannot explain my affections for her. I guess that’s the power of love. It defies logic.
The other thing I learnt about love, I realised it through Rainbow. And that is that love is conditional. Herein lies an irony. Didn’t I just learn unconditional love with Joy? How then is it that love now comes with the caveat of “terms and conditions apply”?
Rainbow has what I would call the Jekyll and Hyde syndrome. When at home, she is like a magnet that sticks to me all the time and always begging to be touched and caressed. But when I take her for walks, the docile angel turns into a winged devil who neither walked close nor heeded my calls to come to me. I can call after her till I’m Rod Stewart but that furball will just buak bodoh. She also constantly pick fights with other dogs.
Because Joy always “bullies” Rainbow at home, I sometimes call her a gangster. Little did I know, Rainbow is mafia.
It’s the reverse with Joy. She walks close and always respond to my call. It’s as if they switched souls, which led me to think that love is circumstantial. Bring a lover to a scary movie and that person will depend on you more; bring that person to an arena that is their element and you become a sideshow.
So how does the unconditional and circumstantial co-exist in the realm of love? In my reductionist view, unconditional comes when the person who loves us has limited or no choice and is acting out a repression in some way. And when a person has many choices and we are only one of them, his / her love would be circumstantial depending on who gets his /her attention at the moment and distraction is usually swift.
But the most important lesson I learnt from Joy and Rainbow is just let our true colours show, for the two dogs never mask their emotions and are always themselves, and hope that someone can love us for being white or brown, and all the shades in between!