Nancy Roman

My New Role Model

In my last post, “Slow Down,” I wrote:

Is it fun? Then why am I not doing it?

Yes, I want to have more fun. And no, this is not exactly an original idea.

I stole it.

I stole it from Theo.


Yes, my dog is my new role model.

I’ve observed over the last 8 months that he’s pretty happy. So why not do more of what he does?

And PLAY is definitely on the top of his playlist.

If it’s fun, Theo wants to do it. All the time. He can play fetch with his bunny a zillion times a day, and guess what? The next day it’s still fun.


And sometimes he will have fun that he is not supposed to have. We have done our best to train him to be good boy. And last week he even graduated from Obedience School – but let’s just say he did not exactly make the honor roll.

As much as we scold him, there are many times when the temptation far outweighs the cost.

Getting dirty, for instance.


To Theo, going into the muddy bog to play with frogs was definitely worth the bath later. I need to remind myself that getting dirty and sweaty can be fun. And just because someone tells you “no” doesn’t mean that you can’t try it anyway.

Being scolded isn’t so terrible. I can see from my puppy that the best way to handle it is to listen courteously…



Then do what you want.

I’ve also seen that you have to try stuff. Being brave can give you access to wonderful pleasures. The stairs may be really scary, but once you’ve mastered them, you can sleep on the bed – (if no one is looking.)


On the other hand, Theo has also taught me that it is okay to be timid once in a while. There’s no shame in being afraid. When we go to the dog park, he’s very cautious around the other dogs. Just yesterday, I reminded him that he doesn’t have to be afraid of a dog with a name like Sweetie, for God’s sake. But I also understand that no one should force you into anything you’re not comfortable with. Trust your instincts. Sweetie could be a nine-and-a-half pound biter.

Pay attention. You never know when an opportunity may come your way. You have to be ready to seize the moment.



Take joy in simple things. You don’t need expensive toys. Just taking a walk feels really nice. And if you want to bring something with you, it doesn’t have to be a monogrammed designer bone. You could take a toilet paper roll, for example.



But by far, the most important lesson I have learned from my dog is:


Be generous with your forgiveness. Make your forgiveness complete. Let go of your anger as quickly as you can. Don’t nurse your grievances. Don’t hold a grudge.

I’m not talking about how easily I forgive Theo when he has been a bad boy.


I’m talking about how easily Theo forgives me.

I haven’t had a dog for a very long time. I’m not good at raising a puppy. I’m set in my ways. I get aggravated quickly. I lose my temper at least once a day… sometimes once an hour. I scold. I holler. Sometimes I cry.

There are moments when Theo must think that I am a total lunatic.

And yet.

The next moment there he is. Ready to cuddle. Giving his whole heart to his lunatic mom.

I want to be more like Theo.

I’m sure he can teach me.






  1. When my kids were little I always considered it a good visit to Grandma’s
    if they came home in the spare set of clothes that I had sent. That meant they had fun in the garden, the kitchen, the water hose, something along those lines. Theo is right!


    • That’s a pretty good measure! Kids and dogs should get dirty once in a while!


  2. What a FACE!

    Liked by 1 person

    • As I said to a friend who called him adorable – “Yes, he’s adorable. That’s his weapon.”

      Liked by 2 people

  3. I so love this! Theo looks like he’ll be a great teacher… now go out and get dirty!


    • Thanks. He’s teaching me to take dirt in stride. … muddy floors, sandy sheets, and nose prints on the window. And paw prints on my jeans.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. What a fantastic take on freedom to enjoy life more. ❤ 🙂
    Adorable Theo has a distant relative who lives with my daughter's family. Max is beige.


    • Is Max a lagotto? Some labradoodles have a similar look too, though they are bigger.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I can’t say more than he was dropped off at a sanctuary at cost because he wasn’t perfect. He had a little discoloration in in coat so he couldn’t show. I could cry writing this. He is such a sweet boy—this coming from a cat woman. ❤ ❤ XX


  5. BTW, fabulous new picture. You look m.a.r.v.e.l.o.u.s.! 😀


  6. Theo is right. And I honestly believe that nobody is really a good doggy mom or dad. They try our patients a million times a day. But nobody loves us so much. And nobody brings such unbridled joy into our lives!


    • I’ve never loved such a monster so much.


      • I know just what you mean! It’s lucky they’re so damn cute.


  7. LindaLuNC

    I tell mine all the time – “it’s a good thing you’re cute!”


    • Oh, yeah! He gets away with murder because of that face!


  8. OMG, Theo is a wise role model in an adorable body. What a combination! What breed is he?


    • He’s a Lagotto Romagnolo. It’s an ancient Italian breed… a water dog that is the ancestor of the Standard Poodle and the Portuguese and Spanish Water dogs. (smaller than those though… tops out at about 35 lbs) He was bred in Italy and his mother was brought here by the breeder. It’s a fairly popular breed in Europe, especially because they are natural truffle hunters. But they are still relatively rare in the US… less than 1,000 I think. But they were shown at Westminster for the first time this year, so I think their numbers will grow.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Looked like he has some poodle characteristics. We had a small standard poodle when I was growing up and he was a wonderful companion. Cute, smart and very forgiving (like Theo).

        Liked by 1 person

  9. An inspired blog. Wish I had reason to write it!


    • Do you want a dog? I don’t regret it at all…. (most days, anyway….)


  10. Yes I can see why your dog is a role model they can teach us many things as dogs are usually pretty laid back


    • They live life looking for love and giving it. Their lives are all about joy.


  11. Sweet post! Love that first photo especially. And the one of you two just screams ‘HAPPY’!


    • Thanks! I also love the first photo. That smile!


  12. Victoria Block

    Thanks for your humility in sharing what a great teacher Theo is. Happy learning!


    • He is really showing me how to be a better person because he is teaching me simple joy and generous forgiveness.


  13. What a lovely post yet again!!! Theo is adorable beyond measure… And it’s lovely that you are learning from him… Dogs and kids are the most uninhibited souls around and they have so much to teach by just being… Themselves!!! 🙂


  14. He’s gorgeous. Dogs don’t understand ‘tomorrow’, and each time they wake up from a nap or a good night’s sleep, it’s a new day to them. They don’t hold a grudge, and love unconditionally. I found Maggie great therapy after a stressful day in the office. Yeah, dogs can teach us a lot.


  15. I have a dog too (he’s nine and a half pounds and does get a little aggressive when confronted by a bigger than him furry friend) and I love the way you described life’s lessons through his eyes. Loved this post!


    • Thanks. I think Theo is more intimidated by the little dogs than the big ones. The little ones really know how to put on a fierce act!


  16. I too want to be more like my dog. Good reminder.

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Theo reminds me so much of my Fionny. Lately, we’re finding that we need to keep him up to date on his obedience training or he’ll take advantage and begin taking over. That can get ugly.


    • Everyone tells me that obedience training is ONGOING. I believe he. He tests his limits (and the limits of our patience) all the time.


  18. This post made me want a Theo, too!! Love!! MJ


    • There are lots of times (lots of times EVERY DAY) that I just want to strangle him. But oh… I love him so much!

      Liked by 1 person

  19. Nice post! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  20. In the photos where he listens to a scolding and checks out the meat he is VERY like my bestia, not by looks but by demeanour. In agreement with all the lessons. And he even forgives me that I look into the screen so much. ❤


    • My Theo sometimes gets really annoyed when I am looking at the screen and not at lovable him.

      Liked by 1 person


  1. Amalgamation: June 4,2016 – Zouxzoux

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