Opinion

Man’s best friend? How about man’s best teacher!

Tom Llewellyn is one of six reader columnists for The News Tribune in 2017.
Tom Llewellyn is one of six reader columnists for The News Tribune in 2017. Courtesy photo

My name is Tom. I am a corporate worker. I work in marketing. My intelligence is slightly below average.

My dog’s name is Viggo. He doesn’t work, and he is better looking than me. His intelligence is slightly below average, too.

Viggo has three great talents:

▪ Sleeping on the couch.

▪ Shedding.

▪ Teaching life skills to corporate workers. Like me!

Here are the ten lessons Viggo has taught me that help me survive (and thrive!) in my corporate workplace.

1. Smell everything! Viggo lets his nose lead him. He values all information equally. When I say he smells everything, I mean everything. Viggo knows that knowledge is power. Even smelly knowledge.

2. Keep begging until someone feeds you! Viggo is persistent. If he wants something, he asks for it. If you tell him no and send him away, he walks in a small circle and comes right back. He knows persistence pays off. Viggo gets what he wants.

3. Mark your territory! Viggo is shameless in his self-promotion. When he goes for a walk, he pees on every bush, every telephone pole and every fence. It makes for a slow walk, but every other dog knows Viggo has been there.

4. Only do tricks for food! With Viggo, nothing comes for free. He is happy to sit and shake, but he demands compensation. If there are no snacks, there are no tricks. There’s not even eye contact. When Viggo performs, Viggo gets paid.

5. Poop in the corner! Sometimes Viggo is stuck inside too long. He is forced to do a shameful thing. But when he does, he keeps it quiet and out of sight. Viggo knows there’s no point advertising his mistakes.

6. Whoever doesn’t bite you is your best friend! Viggo doesn’t mind when another dog barks, especially if the dog is behind a fence. A little growling doesn’t bother him. No bite, no foul. Viggo holds no grudges.

7. Sleep when you can! Viggo runs hard. Then he sleeps hard so that he’s ready to run hard again. But mostly, he sleeps hard. Viggo likes to sleep. Especially on the couch. Viggo maintains a healthy work/life balance.

8. Run away! All work and no play makes Viggo a dull dog. Viggo knows that sometimes the best thing to do is to sneak outside and run and run and run, no matter how much someone chases him and begs him to come back. Viggo knows the value of escaping, so please don’t leave the door open.

9. When you’re tired of walking, just lay down! Viggo goes as far as he wants to, and not a step further. When Viggo is done, he is done, no matter how hard anyone pulls on the leash.

10. Every day is the best day ever! Viggo shows up every day with a positive attitude. Are we going for a walk? Then it’s a good day! No walk, but treats? Then it’s a good day! No treats, but a couch? Then it’s a good day! Viggo likes couches.

Tom Llewellyn of Tacoma is a content marketing director and children’s novelist. He is one of six reader columnists who write for this page. Reach him at tom@tommyllew.com

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