Thump, thump, thump, thump, thump is all I hear as I walk up to my back door when I get home from work. There, on the other side of the glass, is Toby – wagging his tail in that full body wag that only happens when he is excited beyond control. If I were going to demonstrate it for you, I’m sure I would look ridiculous, but every part of my body would be swinging back and forth, and I would have the biggest most contagious smile on my face. Then, when you came through the door, I would jump up and down and try to lick your face while I told you how much I missed you all day long.
That’s what dogs do. They are man’s and woman’s best friends. I think they can teach us a lot about friendship and love. Toby has taught me all about these things, and I want to share them with you today.
1. True friends know how you’re feeling and act appropriately.
Dogs, like the wise friends they are, always can tell where our emotions are at. Remember the last time you got excited around your four legged friend? He probably started jumping up and down and running around. He just wants to share your excitement and support you right in that very moment. That’s what good friends do.
Remember last time you were upset or cried? Your dog does. He came up and laid his head on your leg and looked up with those deep understanding eyes. He didn’t say anything, he was just there. He sniffed your face, licked away those tears, and then settled down right next to you. He was there to ride out whatever bad day you’d had, and he didn’t care that you were upset. He was just there.
2. True friends never ignore you.
When was the last time you got home and your dog ignored you? The second the faintest sounds of your car pulling in the driveway are heard, she’s there, running back and forth, barking and so incredibly happy that you’ve made it home safe and sound. She comes up and licks your face, and runs around in circles, demonstrating to you how much she’s missed you, and letting you know about all the big plans she has for your night together.
A good friend won’t ignore you, or blow you off. They are there to champion your successes and comfort you when you’re down. They are always excited to see you no matter what.
3. True friends will come along even when it’s not their thing.
I remember years ago when I lived in Parkman and each weekend I would drive to Chardon to do my shopping and laundry at the laundromat in the Marc’s parking lot. I was single then, but Toby was with me, When I would bring him to the grocery store or the laundromat to do my laundry with me, he was totally satisfied with waiting in the car for me. Each time I came out to check on him, he would happily get up and wag his tail back and forth as he danced around in the front seat of my old Buick Regal. It was as if he was saying, “How’s it going, Gabe? Do you need anything? I’m here to help you, and I’m so excited that we are spending time together!” He was always happy to come along, no matter what we were up to. Even if it wasn’t something fun for him, he still came and made it a point to make it a good experience for me. That’s what a true friend does.
4. True friends can listen and don’t feel like they have to respond.
I know you’ve heard it before, but it is definitely true. Dogs are the best listeners. I have had many conversations with Toby, and I know that he understands every word I say. He just sits and listens and soaks it all into those deep blue eyes. Once in a while he’ll sign in agreement and sometimes he just looks back at me, and his facial expressions seem to say, “I’m listening, Gabe, and I care and understand.”
Toby knows he doesn’t have to respond. He just listens. Sometimes the greatest thing a friend can do is just listen and not respond, and Toby is great at that. When I’m done talking, he just curls up next to me, and we just hang out. He keeps me company, and he seems to always understand me. A good friend always listens.
These are just a few of the very important lessons that Toby has taught me about friendship. What do you think? I know I am going to try and be a better friend going forward. I have such a faithful example in my furry little friend.
How do you think dogs demonstrate friendship? Share your thoughts in the comments below.