Dear Lola: Six Things My Dog Has Taught Me About Myself

by | Nov 16, 2012

When I first saw her, with her little curly black tail and immensely cute floppy brown ears, I knew she was my dog.

Not because she was adorable. That was a given. But because she had this spunky attitude and a strut that said, “look at me! I’m fabulous.”

Her name is Lola and she doesn’t know just how fabulous she really is.

Right now, she’s curled up by my feet and her warm doggy breath is heating my toes.
I’ve only had her for three months but I feel like I’ve known her a lifetime. In that time I have seen her grow from a small, timid puppy, into a boisterous, lovely, protective, perfect dog. Over the¬†months, I’ve taught her how to sit, to walk on a leash, and to be house-trained.

But much more than what she’s learned from me, I can’t help but reflect on what I’ve learned from her.

1. Who Cares Where the Tail Came From?

The details of Lola’s puppyhood are a mystery. From what I hear she was found wandering the streets of Fort Lauderdale. She was then picked up by a lady who helped rescue dogs, but Lola needed much more attention than the lady was able to give. Next, a young high schooler adopted Lola, he wanted to give her as a gift to his girlfriend. Unfortunately, these young lovers did not understand the complexities of raising a puppy and so, poor Lola, was abandoned yet again.


No one really knows what breed she is. Some say Daschund, some say Jack Russell, some say Chihuahua, but her breed remains unknown. And where did that curly tail come from? A pug?

But Lola has taught me: who cares where the tail came from?

Why are we so caught up in breeds? Races? Differences?

The truth is, she’s a loveable, ball of energy. And I wouldn’t care if she were a Great Dane or a Yorkie, she is a great dog and that’s all that matters.

2. Stop and Smell the Roses…or Pee


I never realized how much walking really does soothe the soul. And who knew it would take a tiny, crazy dog to get me out there in nature? Every morning, just before the sun comes up, I feel a little hot water bottle moving up from my toes up to my face. Covering me in sloppy kisses, she wakes me up for her morning walk.

And on this morning walk we stop at every block so Lola can stop and smell the pee. Now, while pee is not my fort√©, all Lola’s stopping has encouraged me to stop, breathe,
look at my surroundings and just enjoy every day as something new.

3. Patience is a Virtue

Oh patience.

Lola has chewed, peed, pooped, thrown up on, and eaten anything that was ever remotely important to me. She chases (and tries to kill) ducks, she escapes and she runs away. She gets into compost heaps and rolls around in duck poop. She barks at the walls, she eats electrical chords, and is just a general menace.

We call her the terrier-ist.

Watch out! The terrierist has struck again!


But dealing with such a neurotic pup has taught me patience. I’m not a very patient person, and most of the time I blow up at the littlest thing, but your heart can’t help but melt when you see those big brown eyes looking up at you. And she is a puppy so what does she know? So I thank her for teaching me to be patient, with her and with the world.

4. Material Possessions are Great (for Chewing), But Do They Define You?

Five expensive Victoria Secret bras and underwear (only the good ones), my wedding shoes, my Juicy Couture eye glasses, and anything she can get her little paws and jaws on, have been destroyed!

I would cry if I could just stop the fumes from coming out of my ears.

But possessions don’t define you and one of the hardest lessons I’ve had to learn is that things – no matter how pretty they are – are just things at the end of the day.

You can’t take them with you when you leave this world. And yes, I remind myself that every time Lola destroys yet another pair of my heels.

5. If You Fall Down, Just Get Right Back Up and Act Like Nothing Happened


The number of times I have seen Lola fall off the couch, jump and land on her head, slip and land on her chin, or fall while jumping from couch to couch…well, it’s just too many times to count.

Any every time, with a cheesy grin on her face, she gets up and keeps that tail wagging. I think we can all learn from that! Brush it off and keep going with your life. Things will work out fine. If you fall just remember you can always get up and keep going like nothing happened.

6. Everything is Better When You Have Someone to Snuggle With


Lola is my snuggle hound.

I don’t even remember what it’s was like to not have my little Banana Leaf draped across my feet. We call her Banana Leaf because her ears look like banana leaves and she also likes to eat and tear banana leaves from the tree.

Her little heartbeat is always reassuring against my feet.

I love her with all my heart.

And I always will.


Thank you Lola, for teaching me so much about myself.



  1. Pamela Spiro Wagner

    Lovely post. I am going to send a link to my mother, a dog adorer like you, who will very much appreciate all your sentiments. So much so that she even has a pillow that reads, “My goal in life is to be the person my dog believes I am.”

    • sookton

      I’m glad you liked it! Lola has been such a blessing in my life. She is currently curled up by my feet keeping them warm. I love her more every day.

  2. gatheringmossblog

    Aaawww Lola! I truly think the world would be a better place if everyone had a dog. Patience. lol. Yes patience. My dog has taught me forgiveness. I’ve learned to forgive myself for not always being the best dog mommy. I have fucked up. But she never holds a grudge and is always willing to cuddle and forgive.

    • sookton

      Yes forgiveness is a big thing too. Lola holds a grudge but only for a day lol.

  3. Deborah

    I’ve been trying to figure out what breed my dog is and your dog is the closest to what my dog looks like. The body shape of your dog is exactly like mine! It is small with floppy ears and curly tail. They look almost alike, but the only thing that’s different is the coat. The black area of Lola’s coat is a little more brown and less black fur on my dog’s (named her Chichi) coat. Plus, she also loves to cuddle just like Lola. Sometimes Chichi would even rub her self around me like a cat. I found her wandering around the neighborhood for 3 days looking for food and it seemed like no one wanted her. I even tried looking for lost dog signs, but there wasn’t any that had her picture on. So I brought her into the family. Since then, I tried to figure out what breed she is. Your blog was worth reading. I guess I should just not care so much about finding the breed of my dog because no matter what, they will always be so loving.

    If you do have have any new information about the breed of your dog, please feel free to email me:

  4. Linda Hunt

    This post as truely brought a smile to my face today. Upon my interesting day of events, I just got home and my Lola greets me at the door like always. I was just messing around on my phone and find it amusing that I can talk to it so as Lola and I lay across the Ottoman I ask my phone is Lola my dog for no reason intended, just wanted to see if it’s really that smart. Then your article comes up and I had to read it. This is amazing especially when you talk about being patient since Lola was some sport when she was a puppy. Oh the days I would come home and have to clean it all up and find another book or charger chewed up. My Lola is now about to be 3 and I wouldn’t trade her for the world because no matter what trouble she was, which I call the terrible 2 stage, always there for me. The joy of coming home to my fur baby and waking up to her and playing with her are all a blessing to me.

    • Sookton

      Aww so nice to hear from another fur momma with a Lola! Would love to see a pic of your Lola. Tweet me @sooktonsays or email me on my contact page


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