This is another excerpt from 50 things that really matter.

My husband, Matt, wanted to get a dog for years, but I always resisted. “We’ll be chained down.” I said. “Think of the dog hair!” I whined. Then a neighbor put up a sign advertising her litter of yellow labs. I relented, baby Lulu came home with us, and she started teaching me lessons about life — one lick at a time.

Within 24 hours of her arrival, I was reduced to human dust mop, shimmying around the floor, gripping plastic toys and squeaking, “Oh, what a sweet little girl! Give Mommy a kiss!” (Lulu Lesson #1: When you’re really enjoying play, you don’t care how foolish you look.)

Soon, Matt and I both were hooked. We’d fret over her whining. We would buy books on how to socialize her. We fed her by hand. Against all good judgment and advice, we’d let her sleep with us. She repaid us — with poops on the carpet. (Lulu Lesson #2: Parenting can make you more neurotic than you’ve ever dreamed possible.)

Before Lulu arrived, I’d sleep until 8:30 a.m. one day; the next I’d be up at dawn. Now Lulu will be standing on my chest by the time the sun crests the horizon, demanding to get out the door within the next 15 minutes. (Lulu Lesson #3: Ritual is the glue that holds love together.)

Although I used to stay at work late, I now can’t wait to get home t night. When I arrive, Lulu will be standing on a chair, peeking out the window. And the moment I cross the threshold, I’ll be rewarded with what feels like the kind of welcome normally reserved for pro athletes and legendary rock stars. A few licks, and I can forget the petty details of the day. (Lulu Lesson #4: Unconditional love is a renewable resource.)

We’ve learned to read her body signals: the cocked head of curiosity; the ears pressed back with excitement and adoration; the sigh that comes from deep within a warm, rubbed belly. Even one of her looks almost knocks me off my feet: “You’re a dog,” I’ll think. “But what great conversations we’ve been having!” (Lulu Lesson #5: True communication is only possible when we don’t rely upon language.)

By Mariska vanAalst, 50 things that really matter, Rodale Press for Hallmark

Ah, puppies. The frustration. The fun. The bonding.

I’ve been a dog person all my life, although I assume the same bond exists with cats as well.

Mariska learned some real life lessons through Lulu. I learned them through Jet and Snoopy and Harrigan and Mandi and Patches and Tag and Tess. The biggest lesson (Lulu Lesson #4) is unconditional love is a renewable resource. The more you love your puppy, the more they will love you back. It’s empowering.

She didn’t touch on companionship … especially in an empty house. After Karen died, it was the puppies that brought me back into the house. They needed me … and I, quite frankly, needed them. Many a time, I sobbed into a ball of white fur without any hesitation on Tess’ part. And a little lick here or a little lick there would snap me out of my funk.

Tess and Tag were also traveling companions. I took them with me on road trips from Maine to the Jersey shore to Ohio and Illinois. Tag was the restless one in the car, jumping from front seat to back seat and back. Tess, a couple of miles into a trip {probably to make sure we weren’t going to the vets} would lay down and curl into a ball until we reached our destination. People got used to seeing their faces poking out the window as we tooled around town.

Puppies. Dogs. Cats. Unconditional friends … and just another thing that really matters.

THOUGHT TO REMEMBER: Nobody ever got his mind dirty doing hard work.

About wisdomfromafather

I'm just an ordinary guy walking along the journey of life.
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5 Responses to Puppies

  1. TamrahJo says:

    Every dog that has come into my house since I’ve been an adult has always been “for the boys” – but for some reason, they always end up being “my dog” – Not sure what I did to deserve these loving friends, but man, am I glad they chose me!


  2. Deanna says:

    I wish I shared your love of dogs…ugh!


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