This a story taken from a book titled Let Me Tell You a Story by Rob Parsons. We hope you’ll enjoy it as much as we have!
When my son Lloyd was fourteen, he asked me if he could have a dog. I wasn’t sure this was a good idea. We’d never had one before and all of my friends’ dogs seemed to be slightly mad, but somebody told me a dog is good for a boy. Perhaps they were right. Lloyd assured me that if we bought him a dog he would be devoted to the creature. In fact, he would spend so much time walking it and generally seeing to its welfare that he wouldn’t have time to go out with his mates or spend hours on the phone.
We bought him a dog. When he was nineteen, I told him the dog was still alive. But perhaps it wasn’t all lost on Lloyd. Robert Benchley said, “A boy can learn a lot from a dog: obedience, loyalty, and the importance of turning around three times before lying down.” Here are some other things you can learn from a dog.
- When loved ones come home, always run to greet them.
- When it’s in your best interest, practise obedience.
- Let others know when they’ve invaded your territory.
- Run, romp, and play daily.
- Be loyal.
- Never pretend to be something you’re not.
- If what you want lies buried, dig until you find it.
- When someone is having a bad day, sit close by and nuzzle them gently.
- Thrive on attention.
- Avoid biting when a simple growl will do.
- When you’re happy, dance around and wag your entire body.
- No matter how often you’re scolded, don’t buy into the guilt thing and pout…run right back and make friends.
- Delight in the simple joy of a long walk.
Jezz turned out to be the epitome of all that we had hated in other people’s dogs. He barked a lot, he jumped up on you when you came in, and he cocked his leg against anything that stayed still for over five seconds (a compelling incentive for house-guests to keep on the move).
When I was leaving for a trip to Africa once, I was about to get in the taxi that was parked outside my home when I suddenly asked the driver to wait a moment. I rushed back into the house and looked for Jezz. I found him lolling in the corner of a room – he hadn’t been well for a week. I rubbed his head and said, “See you, Jezz.”
By the time I got back, he had died. I don’t expect everybody to understand this, but it affected me deeply. I felt I could still hear him…see him, even. I cried a lot. I was grateful I’d taken a little time just before I left to show him I cared. But I was grateful for more than that because there are people in my life I love a whole lot more than Jezz, and it was a reminder that I would be wise not to take them for granted. It’s not enough to love; we have to take time to show we love – to demonstrate it. It’s just one more thing I learnt from a dog.