What I've Learned From My (Faculty) Dog

It's National Dog Day and to help us celebrate Head of the Upper School Peter Quagliaroli, Head of the Learning Village Shannon Montague, and Director of the Pre-School Kathy Carpenter are here to tell us what they have learned from their own dogs!


Mr. Quagliaroli & Toblerone (“Toby”)

Routine is good, but remember to meet every day with an attitude of endless possibility.
Toby rises at the same time every day, and patiently sits outside our bedroom door. I can hear his tail excitedly sweeping the floor as he waits for the handle to turn. “It’s a new day!” he seems to say. “I know what breakfast will taste like, but let’s go see what’s out there!”

Travel! It’s an endless, fascinating world and you’ll be happier when you come home.
Toby has always been a wanderer. He takes any door left even slightly ajar as an invitation to explore far and wide. He’s often gone for many hours, visiting neighbors’ pets and old friends in other neighborhoods, sometimes encouraging other dogs to join him on the trip. He always finds ponds and rivers, mud and slime, and occasionally, a porcupine or two. When he finally returns home, he’s filthy, smelly, tired and sore, but as happy as can be.

Be loyal, and let the people you love know it.
Whenever we get home at the end of a long day, Toby always rises from his bed, his old legs tired and creaky, to let us know how happy he is that we’re together again. If any of us are sad, Toby nuzzles in and makes us pet him. If we’re under the weather, he sleeps at our side and follows us when we rise. If we get excited, he’ll give a bark a bit and go grab his favorite toy. And if it is time to read by the fire, he likes to sleep on our feet. There are perhaps no greater lessons that a good dog can teach any of us. 


Ms. Montague & Cece

Ms. Montague with her dog.

Memory is fleeting and faulty.
No matter how guilty I feel after leaving her for a School event or for a long stint on the weekend, she is happy to see me again as though it's only been five minutes since I left. I often need to be reminded of this when I harp on my own inadequacies in my interactions with adults and students. I can be much harder on myself than I need to be.

Everything can be fixed.
I made a mistake early on when Cece was far too young to be left alone to roam the house to leave her alone and let her roam the house. I thought that everything was fine until I noted that she was literally eating my walls. Yes, multiple corners of my home were being chewed or scratched by a sensory-seeking Cece. To say I was upset is putting it lightly, but I also took a deep breath, called someone and paid for the repair. Because no matter the mistake, things can always be fixed . . . for a price . . . 

“No” is a really good word. 
Cece and I are still working on our training! Sometimes saying no can feel harsh or punitive, but sometimes saying no is exactly what is needed at the moment. It can be hard in our own lives to say no to things that aren't good for us – that extra event or duty or task. But without the word "no," goodness knows what Cece would have ingested by now! Sometimes it's ok to say no and redirect.


Mrs. Kathy Carpenter & Gin and Otis

Ms. Carpenter with her dogs.

Look up from the road you are on.
I often find myself walking head down getting through a walk and suddenly the dogs jerk to a stop to explore.  Impatiently I look up while I wait and realize that there was an incredible sunrise or a magnificent tree blossoming right next to me  I would have missed if I hadn’t been delayed – just take the time to look around you now and then!

Remember to receive those in your life with enthusiasm and joy. 
To my pups, I am literally the best thing ever when I  come home. They are always overjoyed to see me. It reminds me to treat others with at least a smidgeon of that appreciation.

Your heart has an infinite amount of love.  
When you don’t think you could stand the pain of losing your best friend, suddenly you see another little (or big) fellow that needs to be rescued and soon you can’t imagine your life without him. Open your heart for all in need and your heart will continue to grow.   

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