If you can’t find loyalty in a person, get a dog

Dear readers,

I have come to the conclusion, if you say you have worked as hard as a dog; you really have not worked hard. In my humble opinion, most dogs observed, sleep all day!!

In a few past articles, I introduced you to Teddy Bear, my long hair, Chihuahua. Teddy is nine years old (63 in dog years) and is as feisty as they come. He is small, cute, smart, fast, filled with energy, but not friendly. In fact, he only likes three people; my two daughters and me. Don’t let his size fool you; my little David has successfully taken down many Goliaths, with his fearless personality. Teddy is stubborn, responds when he desires and can throw an attitude in a hot minute. There is, however, one redeeming quality that Teddy possesses; he is loyal. This warms my heart.

They say a dog is good to whoever feeds him. I don’t know if this is true, but I feed Teddy twice daily and take him for walks every morning and evening. Whenever we leave him alone in the house, he rebels by pulling his feeding bowls into the middle of the floor and covering them with whatever he can find. When we return, however, he runs to greet us, gets up on two paws and gives up ‘hi fives.’ It is always obvious that he is delighted to see us.

However, when everyone is at home, Teddy hangs out with me. He has moved his bed into my room; follows me around and can be found at my feet, no matter where I decide to perch. He exercises with me in the mornings and even wakes me if I oversleep. He jumps at me when he wants something, murmurs when he is not getting his way, or his needs met, and begs me when I eat. Teddy has even been known to accompany me into the bathroom (uninvited off course). He has witnessed my praise and tears and has seen me at my worst. What a faithful pal!!

It is amazing that people are not always this faithful; there in good and bad times and truly concerned about your well-being. Perhaps this is due to the people with whom we choose to surround ourselves, or our inability to know what we need and deserve, and how to demand it. Being able to have a great level of commitment on our side is not only pleasurable, but healthy as well.

Last night, my younger daughter asked me who is my best friend. I told her, I only have friends. Although I know what she wanted to hear, I wanted her to hear what she needed to know. I explained to her, that to be called a friend, in my circle, one would have been tried and proven. Friends are people who are always there. They argue and disagree with you, become annoyed and angry at you. Friends listen to you and yell at you. They hold you accountable and confront you; but friends are always there. It does not matter the situation, you can count on them to make time for you.

Point of caution; friends may not always be found among siblings!! Friends laugh at your corny jokes and cry alongside you; your friends’ siblings and parents become yours. Their children call you aunt and uncle. A friend is like a soap opera, you do not have to watch it every day, but whenever you do, the story continues without skipping a beat. A fiend is loyal, like Teddy Bear.

Loyal is not a trite term; it is defined by words such as firm, constant, unwavering, support, and allegiance; leaving no room for unsteadiness, occasional, slack or unfaithful. Loyalty symbolizes itself with dependability, care and unconditional positive regards. If you can’t get loyalty from a person; get a dog.

~ Dr. Pam

Point to Ponder: I have friends because I am friendly.

• Ask Doctor Pam is an advice column that is featured every week in this journal. Your letters and comments are encouraged. You may e-mail them to askdoctorpam@yahoo.com. Dr. Pam is a Clinical Psychologist trained in all areas of mental health.

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