Won’t You be my Neighbor?

“Let love and faithfulness never leave you; bind them around your neck and write them on the tablet of your heart.”- Proverbs 3:3 

You know that person, a co-worker, neighbor, or relative whom you want to get to know and love.  You’ve reached out, yet they remain elusive.  Sometimes they receive your offer of friendship and other times they rebuff it.  That was the status between our lab and kitten during her first weeks in our home. 

From the day our kitten arrived, Adi desperately wanted to befriend her.  Yet, Reeses, who had spent the first 6 months of her life fending for herself in the wild, wasn’t sure what to make of the big creature whose wet, black nose intently sniffed everything.  At times she would slink away and hide, watching Adi’s every move with wide golden eyes.  Other times she would lie still and allow Adi to lick her head, purring contentedly.

I learned a couple of things while watching our lab make overtures of friendship to our cautious kitten.   For one, Adi maintained the same “I love you” attitude with each encounter.    She didn’t get offended by a paw pop on the nose or a kitten who took one look at her and dove into a hiding spot.  Rather, she quietly watched for Reeses, patiently waiting for that moment when her unwavering love would be accepted.  Secondly, Adi learned how to love a cat without compromising herself.  In loving Reeses the only way she knew how, she realized that licks, tail wags, and companionable proximity are better received than nose nudges and shoe gifts. 

As each day passed, Reeses retreated from Adi less and received more labby love.  In time, Reeses began to seek out Adi’s companionship. Although our kitten may never fully understand our dog, I know she’s come to accept and enjoy Adi for the loving, licky lab she is.

  “Love your neighbor as yourself.” – Matthew 22:39

“Let us not become weary in doing good [loving others], for at the proper time we will reap a harvest [of friendship] if we do not give up.” – Galatians 6:9

© 2019, Lessons from a Lab, Beth Alisan.  All Rights Reserved.

5 thoughts on “Won’t You be my Neighbor?

    1. Oh, I’m so glad that you read this lesson, knowing your love of cats. It never ceases to amaze me the love and acceptance Adi & Reeses have for each other. Reeses doesn’t mind getting Labby licked everyday, and Adi doesn’t mind Reeses hiding behind furniture and ambushing her when she walks by. We are so pleased that Reeses quickly accepted our puppy and has already shown a gentle tolerance of Summer’s puppy ways.


    1. Our Labby girl has an endless supply of love. Adi’s sister Nova is over the moon for Reeses but my brother’s family is like yours. Everyone is allergic which was hard for my animal loving niece and will keep Nova from ever having her own feline companion.


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