There have been several people with prominent impacts on my life, but why focus only on the people who have influenced me? Let us broaden the scope to include all worldly matter. Then I make no hesitation in stating that my canine companion, Toby, has been my greatest influence.
Toby, a vivacious miniature schnauzer, is at a well-ripened age of eleven. He is not the same dog he was when he was younger. He sleeps about 18 hours a day and it is impractical to take a nap on the couch with him, because his snoring is loud enough to be fooled with the reverberation of my dad after a long day of golf. However, just before 5 o’clock in the afternoon, only the gray hairs scattering Toby’s black coat give away his old age. It is around this time every day that Toby begins his racket of letting you know that it is getting “close” to his dinnertime of 6 o’clock. Toby’s daily reminders guide me to take a stand against the common adolescent breakfast fast. They are also a source of accountability in my quest to keep a positive outlook on all things that I encounter in my life.
While Toby may be an ordinary dog, he and I share something that I have never had with another human. Toby and I communicate better than any two humans do. To a third party, it seems as though I am carrying on a conversation with a non-responsive dog therefore essentially speaking back and forth to myself. However, I assure you that Toby responds back in his own way. What makes our communication so superior is Toby’s masterful ability to express himself non-verbally. This allows me to open up to him and not have to worry about him responding with insensitive or uninsightful utterances. I have learned through Toby that when a person goes to another human to talk they would rather that the person speak less and listen more.
I have also found my canine companion to be dependable. He is at my feet when I need him on a cold night to do the job my comforter is supposed to do. After having one of “those” days I can count on him to be there when I walk through the door and not running to the corner. I use this example of dependability and apply it to my daily life by being there for others as Toby has been there for me.
It may, to some, be a bit silly to consider a dog influential, but these people must not have had the privilege of owning one of man’s very own best friends. I like to think that if our world had more children with dogs like my Toby, it would also have more children learning the core values that aid in responsibility and kindness.