Three things to learn from my dog

Nora Smith, Opinions Editor

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Niko the dog looks into a philosophical reading while contemplating life’s meaning. He does this in his free time while he is not chasing squirrels or deciding what is wrong with mankind. Photo Illustration by Nora Smith

1. Forgiveness. After leaving my dog home alone all day, I walk through the door and the giant furball bounds towards me. My thighs are whacked by a tail, my clothes are instantly coated in fur and I’m drenched in slimy-yet-loving kisses. As soon as he sees me, he forgives me for leaving him bored enough to tear down some window blinds and etch claw marks into the front door. If people could be even half as forgiving as Niko is, our community would be able to cultivate healthier and stronger relationships. We could build off of these relationships as opposed to letting them fall apart after mistakes are made.

2. Accountability. One night after dinner, Niko trudged into the family room, head hanging, tail between his legs, ears back and body close to the ground. He crawled over and laid at my mom’s feet, his big brown eyes begging for mercy. “What did you do?” My mom scolded him, knowing he was guilty of something. She stood up, and he led us into the kitchen where the carcass of a rotisserie chicken lay almost unrecognizable on the ground. By this point he’s crying loudly, and the guilt pooling in his eyes screams out his apologies. Niko knew where he’d gone wrong, and he immediately found us in an attempt to fix it. Although it’s easy to get caught up in wanting to be right, we need to be like Niko and recognize where we’ve gone wrong so we can fix our mistakes. If we don’t, then the chicken will rot on the floor forever.

3. Individuality. Niko has to be one of the quirkiest dogs on the planet. And he owns it. He takes only one piece of food out of his massive bowl and drops it on the doormat in our laundry room before eating it. My family questions it constantly, but he doesn’t seem to mind our curious gazes at all. Even during thunderstorms when he firmly believes he’s a lap dog and climbs into my lap, crushing my legs, I know I wouldn’t want him any other way. Niko’s a perfect example of how eccentricities and individualities are often the parts of people (and animals) we fall in love with. Without them, we wouldn’t have personalities or differentiating characteristics, and that would be unbearably boring. It saddens me that people feel the need to conform to society’s standards and blend in as opposed to running with what they’ve got. Running is so much more fun.

Dogs might not be great philosophers or scientists or even people, but they make pretty good teachers. If we can all learn to become a little more like Niko, our relationships will be stronger and more genuine. Take Niko’s advice for a walk and see how far it gets you.

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Three things to learn from my dog