Love and a Lab Named Levi

I grew up going to church every Sunday and memorized lots of scripture. Who would think Levi, my daughter’s Lab, would refresh my understanding of God’s love for me? Here they are a few years ago–Katie and Levi.

We kept him over the weekend. He stayed at my heels, and sat under my desk while I worked. He’s so sweet, but he missed Katie and wouldn’t eat.

“Levi, please eat.” I held the bowl near his face. “Yummy. Don’t you want some?”

Years ago, I worked for a vet. I knew the rule. If a dog doesn’t eat, take the food away. He’ll eat when he’s hungry. 

Looking into his chocolate-brown eyes, I just couldn’t do it. I decided to try another method.

Unconditional love.

I sat down beside him on the kitchen floor. Petted him. Talked to him. “If I stay down here with you, will you eat?”

No matter how he responded, I’d still love him.

He looked at me. But I miss Katie.

Love flooded me. “I know you do, buddy. And I won’t leave you. I promise. Come on. You can do it.”

Slowly, he put his face near the bowl, sniffed his food, and began eating. 🙂

“Oh, you’re such a good boy! I’m so proud of you.” He smiled at me and finished all his food.

Putting his empty bowl away, I sensed the Still Small Voice.

That’s how I love youGod seemed to say.

My love isn’t measured by how well you perform. 

Nothing you do or don’t do will change my love for you.

Swallowing the lump in my throat, I hugged Levi. Thank you, sweet boy!

God loves me. He loves us. He really, really loves us! He’s a gentle Master.




  1. God loves me no matter what. Oh, how I needed to hear that this morning. I stumbled onto your blog through the Guideposts site and before it even pinged into my email inbox. God knew I needed it first thing and, of course, it being about Levi made it all the better! What a sweet, compassionate, loving dog mommy you are to sit with him and urge him to eat. To stay with him, like God does with us, through the tough times of fear and uncertainty. You knew Katie would be back. God knows things always get better. Levi trusted you. And we must trust God.
    Love you.

    • B.J., B.J., how do you ALWAYS know the right things to say! Loved reading your precious thoughts. I thought about you as I wrote this knowing your heart of love for people AND animals. Love you. Thank you, my heart-friend, encourager, cheerleader.

  2. I love it. I’m feeling less-than right now so this post has impact for me.
    and I love that you were so kind to Levi…kindness counts, no matter who it’s directed at

    • Oh, how true, Robin. Kindness counts, no matter who it’s directed at. Such a beautiful takeaway. You’re never less-than in my eyes. You’re always more-than. XO

  3. Janette says:

    Loved this story of sweet Levi and God’s unconditional love!

    • Thank you, Janette! Always, always makes me smile to find out people read my words…my heart, really. XOXOXO

  4. Beautiful post. Thank you. God’s love forever and ever. Katie is going to be so happy with her Momma!
    Kathleen ~ Missouri

    • Hi, Kathleen in Missouri. Thank you so much for reading and writing me. You’re soooo right. Katie was thrilled with this blog. She shared it on Facebook. Blessings to you!

  5. Awwww, this is so sweet Julie. Thank you for sharing.

  6. Hey, Lisa. And thank you, thank you for your spirit–for His Spirit living in you.

    So much love, my friend!

  7. Sandra Walker says:

    Thanks, Julie!!! I know He loves me even though I am still being Chicken Little!

  8. Amen, Sandra!!!!!!! He loves us…even though….No matter what…. He loves us. He loves us. He loves us. Thank you for letting me know that my writing connects to your heart. xoxoxo Means a lot!

  9. Colleen says:

    Julie, this one was perfect! How beautiful the evidence of God’s love is as shown in our pets, and how we show it back to them. I have a black longhaired lab and there is no better companion to show God’s love.


    • So glad you get it, Colleen! And you and I are both Lab lovers. We’ve always had one or two. Give yours a hug from me today. Thank you, thank you for reading and understanding. XOXOXO

  10. God touches our hearts in little ways. Sometimes, I feel my pups are His special messengers. What a sweet, touching post for those of us who are dog lovers!

    • That’s so true, Jane. He speaks so softly, if I’m not careful, I’ll miss His voice. He never shouts or demands, but uses the sweetest tone. Thank you. Your comment means so much. I LOVE hearing that my words make their way into my friends’ hearts.

  11. Dolores E. Green says:


    I so needed this today. I am in tears here..thank you so very much..

    Dolores ♥

    • Oh, sweet Delores. I’m tearing up just thinking about you. May His Sweet Spirit hover close to you. May He cover you with His unfailing love. XOXOXOXOXO

  12. Shelley Elaine says:

    Julie-what a sweet thought! God has used the unconditional love of my dog many times to remind me of His love. GREAT post!

  13. Thank you, Shelley! So glad our hearts connected with this post~God’s love for us, and our love for our sweet dogs. Blessings to you, and so glad you wrote to me!! xoxo

  14. Oh Julie this is sweet. I just love your compassion for and understanding of Levi. Knowing that he missed his mom. And knowing how hard it was for him to eat. Thank you for sitting with him and keeping him company and helping him. Your instinct are telling you the right thing. Old dog training methods used to be dominance, authority, teach the dog you’re the pack leader and correct him for any misstep. Get him to obey through fear and domination. Today the trend is moving toward softer, gentler methods. Help the dog to understand what you want. Encourage. Reward for positive behaviors. No pain. No choking, shocking, etc. Love is best! I’m also touched how you felt God in this. It reminded me of my little lamb story in Guideposts. The one that got me into the first workshop. Remember, my mom fed that rejected lamb and took care of it, and she heard that still small voice too say the same thing. “As much as you love that little lamb, I love you even more.” Wow. Thank you God!

  15. Such a sweet comment, Peggy. I’m smiling—I love it that Levi responded to love instead of the other technique. 🙂

    And your Little Lamb story–one of my favorites!!!!! Yes, yes, He works through Labradors and lambs.

  16. Love this….pets surely reflect PURE love without selfish motive!


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