Relationships...Thanksgiving Day and Every Day

Anyone who has lived with a Labrador retriever knows these dogs are easy to train and eager to please. So when my yellow lab companion of seven years began to ignore me I wondered what was going on.

"Sunny. Here, girl." Instead of galloping to the back door this summer, she stood in the driveway and stared me down. Her big brown eyes said "Why?".

On our daily walks, I began to dread the appearance of other dog walkers. Not because Sunny wanted to fight. Sunny wanted to say hello! She would pull, and pull, and pull, until she was nose to nose with the newcomer. Visitors to our home were subjected to seventy-five pounds of jumping dog and multiple tongue swipes.

Something had to be done.

A search of the internet turned up a local kennel club class called SOS - Social Obedience Training. Lucky for me, the class started the following Monday.

I wasn't sure how Sunny would behave in a roomful of dogs and owners.

She loved it!

Class started with the basic commands and lots of treats. Sit, down, stay, leave it. Sunny and I had practiced these commands when she was a puppy, but we hadn't reviewed them for a long time.

Accustomed to having her around the house and usually working on the computer, I hadn't been throwing the ball or even talking to her very much. But after each class she became more and more responsive. Monday nights she seemed to know where we were going and eagerly jumped into the car. When I saw how happily she responded to the training and attention, I realized something. I had been ignoring my dog!

Often while apologizing to company for my jumping dog, I would joke she doesn't get any attention, because that is indeed how she acted. After seeing how she perked up in class, I'm afraid I was on to something.

I realized something else, too. The same thing applies to all relationships. Spouses or significant others, parents and children, old friends and new...every human being craves attention and praise. Like a Christmas poinsettia we forget to water after the holidays, our relationships can wither, too.

The upcoming holidays provide us with an opportunity to put this theory into action. Maybe you're not a fan of Aunt Zoe's fruitcake, but acknowledging the time and skill that went in to making it with a hearty "Thanks, Aunt Zoe!" goes a long way to reinforcing your familial ties. It's the human version of  Good Dog!.

Couples with small children often arrange a regular date night for a chance to focus on each other without the demands of the little ones. With Thanksgiving two days away, we have the perfect opportunity to focus on strengthening our relationships.

Sunny is back to her old chasing-the-ball, tail-wagging self. She is much better behaved on our walks and at the door. She just wanted some attention and praise for doing a good job.

And really, isn't that what we all want?

As always, enjoy the read and Happy Thanksgiving! 🦃🦃🦃🦃🦃


  1. Thanks, T.R., for this sweet reminder. So glad Sunny is her old self again. Happy Thanksgiving!

  2. A very sweet post, T.R. and your connection to humans is an important reminder, esp. at this time of year when we celebrate family and friends.

  3. Thank you for reminding all of us. I'm glad Sunny is back to her happy doggie self. Writers can get reclusive so it's a helpful tip for everyone.

  4. Just goes to show we can even learn from our pets :)

  5. Thank you so much for this great reminder and it is so true! Sometimes just a little attention is all that is needed. :)

  6. Very touching post. I still miss my Sparky after having to let him go in March. When I get another pup, I'm going to remember your advice.

    1. Sunny seemed to appreciate being around the other dogs at class too, even though they weren't allowed to play. I think it was stimulating to her. If I ever got another puppy, I'd take the puppy class for socialization.

  7. I can only imagine what must've run through Sunny's head, as she tried to communicate how she felt and needed. A great story!

  8. Sunny sounds like a sweetheart. Good for you for recognizing that she needed more attention, and you're right, everyone does. Thanks for a great post.

  9. Thanks for this post--such a sweet dog! I'm grateful for all of you and all the adventures ahead for all of us.

  10. Such a sweet story and a sweet puppy. So glad you 'got' the message. lol We all need individual attention sometimes.

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