Dogs make us better. It’s an undeniable truth.
For one reason or another dogs bring out the best of the human spirit. Maybe it’s because they see the essence and goodness of humanity more deeply than we do; their eyes are clear, not clouded by judgment, and they aren't deterred by our flaws or our pride. Maybe it’s because we know exactly how happy they are to be with us, their emotions rattle around inside and are too big to hold in, and come out as flapping ears, wiggling bodies and wagging tails.
And it just feels good, doesn’t it? To feel loved and adored, to feel acknowledged and seen, no matter what we look like. To feel welcomed, regardless of who we are or how much money we have or don’t have. No matter what failings or shortcomings or celebrations or victories may come our way. The consistent nature of their love and admiration builds us up. It makes us better.
Dogs make us better.
There’s an old quote, that when we dig into it, should inspire us. Maybe even transform us.
“I wish I could be just half the person my dog thinks I am.”
It’s humbling, isn’t it? Our dogs think we’re the greatest. But we know who the truly great ones are. Instead of trying to be the person our dogs think we are, perhaps we should try to be more like our dogs.
Humble. Kind. Enthusiastic. Loving. Comforting. Loyal. Present. Welcoming. Perhaps we should be like Allie.
Allie is a good dog. Some even might say the best.
Every day for eight years, this 14-year-old chocolate Lab has trotted through the doors of the Alys Beach Sales Center with her owner Robbie Roberts, ready for another day of work. She takes her job very seriously, and many would agree, she’s one of the most valuable team members.
Her day starts with a warm greeting as she pops by each office to check in on her friends and say hello. Once she’s made her rounds and gathered a few treats along the way, she finds a sunny spot for a nap, her warm body curled up in a big ball of love. She’ll rest up, because she knows she has clients to see. This, perhaps, is the best part of her day.
From the moment a person enters the sales center, Allie puts them at ease. Her enthusiasm is uplifting, and it’s almost certain that if she could, she’d tell you, “We are so glad you’re here.”
Her sweet demeanor softens the space, and her golden-brown eyes are a calming presence. With Allie, you are seen. You are welcome. You are cared for.
She’s the perfect hostess, the president of the welcome wagon, and let’s not forget, the ultimate charmer. She’s been known to put on a show, leaping up onto the tables at Fonville Press to the applause of many and chasing sea gulls in the surf with Alys Beach guests. She’s an entertainer and a clown, she’s a babysitter and a best friend. And at the end of the day, as she leans her body into yours, it's as if all stresses and cares of the day are absorbed by her goodness.
She makes us better. She’s a good dog. But she’s even more than that. She’s a presence. A force. A spirit.
And that’s the thing about dogs. Their spirit is what lasts. The way they make us feel, that’s real. That’s meaningful. That’s lasting.
Allie is getting older. Her chocolate coat is streaked with gray, her trot a little slower. She has received a lot of love, and she’s given even more. And for as long as she’s able, she’ll be right there by Robbie’s side, an example of how to live a life. It is inevitable, however, that one day Allie will move on, to a better place. It happens to all dogs, just like it happens to all humans. But perhaps Will Rogers said it best: “If there are no dogs in heaven, then when I die I want to go where they go."