Adopt puppy, get empathy free

  • Thursday, November 29, 2012

Charlie, reporter Tyler Heffernan's puppy, is a miniature dachshund. He currently weighs about eight pounds. Both his parents weigh around 10, so he's not expected to get much bigger.

There’s a popular saying that everyone should have a job in the food industry at some point in their lives to gain sympathy for others.
In a CareerBuilder.com article titled “Four jobs everyone should have,” a title as server was ranked No. 1. “A job in food service teaches you empathy,” it reads. “Not only for the server, but for people in general.
“After all, not everything is as it seems. Think about that the next time you want to leave a next-to-nothing tip.”
Here’s something new I recommend people do during their lifetimes: raise a puppy.
Sure, there are exceptions. Don’t adopt any animal if you don’t plan on making the fluffy guy or gal a real part of your family.
But, if you have a soul and want to become a better person, adopt a puppy. Train him or her right, and you’ll gain a best friend – one that will stick by you through a difficult day riddled with shouts of “no!” and easier days filled with mid-day naps in the sun.
In early October, I welcomed a miniature dachshund into my home. My fantastic Eye of the Tyler loyalists have seen a picture of the little fella named Charlie in the Home & Garden special section published a few weeks ago and videos of him picking high school football playoff games.
He’s eaten a hot dog specially prepared by a cook at Johnny’s in Mount Pleasant, scampered from a raising tide at the Isle of Palms, drank from a straw at Daniel Island Grille and walked Middle Street in Sullivan’s Island. Charlie is doing his best to become a local celebrity.
I admit, though, that it’s not always been that easy. On occasions, he’s chosen carpet over a nice patch of grass for a bathroom and munched on my finger instead of a bone. And, he tends to try to chat with the neighborhood dogs through indoor shouting matches.
Ya know, things puppies do.
But, I’ve gotten better with patience and gained a little bit of that empathy folks over at CareerBuilder.com preach.
An accident on the carpet or a nibble from those razor-sharp puppy teeth pales in comparison to watching the little guy run around with his squeaking basketball toy. Oh, I’m such a sucker.
By no means am I bragging about mastering puppy training. Charlie is only four months old, and as I write, he’s probably sharpening his teeth for the bite-the-hand-that-feeds-you game.
Regretfully, I admit I thought of the life I had before making lunch-break trips back home to let him out of his cage a few times during those difficult days. I saved some gas and didn’t worry about irritating the neighbors every time Charlie barked.
Now, I can’t imagine life without my four-legged buddy.
I’ll gladly accept buying more paper towels in the process than not having my Air Bud in training. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’d like to take Charlie and my empathy for a walk.

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