After a long, long day running from meeting to meeting, I came home from work the other night and, if you had never set foot in our house before, you would have thought I had been away for decades.
I opened the front door and our dog, Nittany, a five-year-old Bichon Frise – Shih Tzu greeted me, jumping up and down, and racing around the room. She couldn’t have been happier, jumping up on my leg and wagging her tail a-mile-a-minute. She continued on nonstop.
Finally, I acknowledged her by rubbing her ears. You would have thought I had just given her a 10-ounce sirloin to gnaw at in her bowl. I felt glad to make her happy. Nittany has been a better friend than some people. I’ve learned a lot from her over these past five years. The lessons have been so impactful that I’ve been putting them down on paper. Some of the lessons include:
—The power of a good walk. Nittany is a small dog, but she loves to go for a walk. She loves getting out and seeing what nature has in store. I used to get frustrated with Nittany because she inevitably wanted to stop when I wanted to keep walking or running. Finally, I let Nittany win. I started to stop with her and I found the wisdom in her actions. When I go for a walk with her, a real walk where I stop and look around and take everything in, I find that the walk always does me good. I’m calmer, I’m more patient. I see the good in life.
—How to greet a friend. I may never be a star athlete or rock star, but thanks to Nittany I know what it’s like to be greeted everyday by an adoring fan. She greets me with licks and excitement each time I come home from a long day. It helps that Shih Tzu’s have a reputation for being a loyal and protective breed, but I don’t care, the excitement always makes me feel like I’m loved.
—How to forgive and move on. I was getting ready for work the other day and I accidentally stepped on a small sliver of Nittany’s tail. She yelped and quickly stepped away. I felt horrible for hurting her, but she came running back to me, like she was worried about me. I’m sure it was just a natural reaction, but she knows how to make you feel wanted and appreciated. The end of the day, no matter how the day has gone, Nittany always finishes her day lying next to me. My loyal friend.
—How to chill and just be. I want Nittany’s life. She sleeps, she eats, plays with the family. She doesn’t have a concern in the world. No worries. No fears. Who wouldn’t want that life?
—How to love. Through it all Nittany is loyal to everyone in our family. She’s our pet, but she’s also a best friend.
I’m sure I could come up with other lessons, but these jump to the head of the line, sort of the same way Nittany jumps up and down and makes a fuss over me when I come home from work.