Losing Your Best Furry Friend

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Current events often inspire me to share my thoughts in Learning Life's Lessons. This past week my family and I suffered the loss of our twelve year old dog who was truly a faithful friend to all of us. As a child I never had a pet dog and as I matured through life it never really dawned on me that someday I would become so attached to a furry little friend, who could impact my life in so many ways.

Here's my story. Twelve years ago, my wife and I purchased our pet dog as a surprise gift for our boys. This cute little puppy was so love-able from the first day he entered our home. Withstanding all the mistakes and accidents dogs make in a home, the last twelve years of his unconditional love and affection for our family was unparalleled to any love I have experienced. He was truly the celebrity of our family and received just as much love and affection from each of my family members as he offered to each of us individually. He helped my children to understand what it meant to be affectionate and caring, and taught us all how to forgive and forget when he made an innocent mistake.

As a tribute to my furry friend, I would like to share how this little guy influenced my life during his memorable years with us. From a puppy, my dog loved to be outdoors and thoroughly enjoyed walking. After the novelty of walking our new dog wore off rather quickly with my kids, good old Dad became the designated walker each day. Keep in mind that for the first 44 years of my life, I never particularly enjoyed walking - however my dog's enthusiasm forced me out the door every single day. He was so excited about walking that any words we mentioned that sounded like the word walk, would have him hopping all over us to take him out. Little did I realize that his passion to walk would be contagious as it inspired me to create a healthy, daily discipline!

Soon after we formed a habit of walking daily, I began keeping score of our miles traveled and within the first year set a rather lofty goal to walk 24,901 miles, or the distance around the world in 25 years. All of this began innocently with my first walk around the block with my furry little friend, and with his inspiration we managed to walk a thousand miles a year together.

Our routine of walking set in motion a second habit for me, of listening to educational books and seminars on audio cassettes and later CD's. After attending seminars of speakers such as Jim Rohn, Denis Waitley and Brian Tracy, I developed a passion for listening and learning every day while I walked my dog. These were perhaps the two best disciplines I ever initiated. I not only listened to audio books while I walked my dog but also during my commutes to work and anytime I was in my car driving to and from meetings. My audio library grew monthly and the knowledge I gained from listening to audio books inspired me to sign up for more seminars and workshops as well as subscribe to numerous magazines.

This whole renaissance of learning in my life can all be attributed to my best furry friend who inspired me to take him out for his daily walks. Little did he know that every day he helped me to grow intellectually by walking with him and listening to thousands of hours of educational audio! Little did he know that he forced me out the door when I was tired and not in the mood to walk! Little did he know that I would never think of walking alone on cold, windy, miserable winter nights without him! Little did he know that the ideas I learned while we were walking together would help me to expand my business and earn a good living! And little did he know that walking all those miles would promote my health more than any other routine in my life.

As you might conclude from my story, there's a great lesson to learn about the influence a furry little friend can have on someone's life. This little friend brought a level of joy and happiness to my family that was unconditional and special. He comforted us when we were sick or sad and always was a companion if we were lonely. He was so intuitive and seemed to know exactly what was going on in our household at all times. He touched the lives of my wife and children as well as the lives of our entire extended family and friends. He was a happy, loving dog who made everyone around him happy. Being small and cute and furry, he always looked like a puppy and up until his last few months of life acted like one. He was full of energy and always ready to go anywhere we would take him. He was a seasoned traveler and enjoyed hotels and new surroundings.

As you might guess, losing this furry little friend has been quite devastating for all of us. Our home has lost his friendly presence and all the affection and love he brought into our lives. However we are all grateful that we were able to experience the many wonderful years this little guy shared with us. His fond memories will be with us forever!