Baxter, my 4 month old Maltese graduated yesterday from puppy school! He was the smallest puppy there, but he did it! After 8 weeks of dedicated hard work he received his puppy diploma! It was one of the most rewarding days of my life, especially since I have spent endless hours teaching him tricks, potty training him, bathing him, feeding him, and making sure that he learns the “rules of the house.” And although watching him grow into his personality has been rewarding, it has been even more rewarding to have embraced the lessons that this 5lb 7oz creature has taught me.
Baxter, my precious puppy has, in many ways, taught me lessons that no amount of materialistic things could ever teach me. He has taught me the value of loving everyone – period. My puppy loves people. He barks for attention, he drizzles from excitement, and jumps up and down until he gets held. And, I think we could all learn a lot from this behavior. People are naturally selfish and become closed off to the people around them, but dogs aren’t like that. They love no matter what. Could you imagine what the world would be like if we were all Baxters? It would be absolute bliss.
My fluffy marshmallow also gives me daily reminders of the innocence that I’ve lost. My puppy is so easily satisfied by the little things. I watch him play with same toys everyday and witness his satisfaction with just the love that he receives from my family. I’ve forgotten about the significance of the little things in life. I think our lives are so consumed with routines and valued norms that we forget to be thankful for the things that we already have, the daily blessings that we receive, and the love and support from the people you see everyday. And finally, the most important lesson of all, Baxter has taught me patience.
I am not talking about just tolerating the inevitable wait, but simply waiting. The type of patience that is practiced when life gets tough and your days slow down. The type of patience that you genuinely make the best of the time spent waiting. The type of patience that enables you to enjoy your favorite radio station while stuck in traffic, or developing hobbies while you are eagerly waiting to find a job in this economic turmoil. You see, I genuinely enjoyed the days that I was woken up multiple times in the night by Baxter because he had to go tinkle, or cleaning up his “oopsies”repeatedly. And before I knew it, patience paid off. In the end he was more than potty trained. He became part of my family, he graduated from puppy school, and he has given me invaluable life lessons. You’ve heard the saying “when one door closes, a window will open?” Well, patience is kind of like that; the window doesn’t automatically open as the door closes, you have to wait for the window to open. The wait is inevitable, might as well make the best of it. Waiting isn’t permanent; it is temporary and there is always an end to the wait. I know it seems pretty silly that I learned all of this from a creature no bigger than my Coach purse, but I’m glad I learned it somewhere; otherwise the days would have been long and rainy since I’ve returned to the Pacific Northwest. In fact, I look forward to more lesson from Professor Baxter, after all he is a puppy graduate now!