An Unlikely Teacher: Lessons From Oliver

Hello there, friends! I hope this week is going well thus far, as we’ve already made it to mid-week! A couple days ago, after I retrieved the mail, I noticed a seasonal catalog from Hallmark. Now anyone who knows me, is aware that I am quite a big fan of Hallmark stores, in general. I’ve been known to spend significant amounts of time perusing the aisles, reading cards (in particular, the sentimental, meaningful “Between You & Me” line), and simply enjoying the ambiance of the store. To me, Hallmark stores often feel like a comforting blanket, filled with trinkets, beautiful words and an aura of a homelike comfort. When I’m in Hallmark, I am at peace, similar to the sentiments I experience while in a bookstore or library.


Perhaps I am overly enthusiastic about Hallmark, but in particular, as I leafed through this catalog, something just so happened to catch my eye, but more importantly, heart. For as long as I can remember, I’ve always been fond of quotes. Many of them speak to me and I’ll often reread the quotes I’ve pinned on my Pinterest page (@Stylinstar53 is my name on there, for those of you who might have similar interests, or are curious as about what I’ve pinned). Many of them are comprised of thoughts I could never imagine conjuring myself and often provide me with hope, strength, courage and comfort, knowing that tomorrow can be filled with promise and triumph and that there is always an upside to situations which seem unsolvable. I’d like to share with you a quote I stumbled across in the catalog which is available for purchase on a large canvas:

Taken from the Hallmark Catalog:

My dog taught me everything I need to know. It’s okay sometimes to just eat and sleep. When you fall down, get back up, shake it off, forget about it and go on. Be very brave no matter your size. Make your own fun. Unleash your talents. Learn new tricks no matter your age. Make new friends. Sniff out opportunities. Chase after your dreams. When loved ones come home, always run to greet them. At the end of the day, it is best to snuggle no matter what has happened. Everyday is a brand new day, just be happy!”

As I read this quote, I felt a kaleidoscope of emotions. A part of me wanted to shed a tear, while the other part of me wanted to smile and hold Oliver, my dog and friend tight and relish in his carefree nature. Reading this, I realized, I owe a lot to Oliver. He truly has taught me life lessons I know I’ll never forget, or take for granted. Saying this, I realize sometimes I do take him for granted. Too many times, I’ve taken my frustrations out on him, shooing him away when all he wanted was love, or to play. Often times, I am too distracted by my own disappointments or frustrations within myself to take the time to stop, pet him and simply enjoy his warm body snuggled against me as I watch TV or read. He has taught me resilience when all hope seems to have been lost. What he experienced just over a year ago, fighting for his life with all the courage and strength he could summon, given the surgical error on part of the veterinarian, was something many other dogs and humans could never have successfully weathered. Though, Oliver on the other hand, rebounded. He battled through the pain, discomfort, and emotions and triumphed. He shows me that anything is possible with the right mindset and willpower. Even when I feel discouraged and fixated on my appearance, believing I am inadequate, still he rushes over to greet me, tail wagging and eager to play. It doesn’t matter if my hair is knotted, my lip is cut, or if a blemish has erupted on my chin, to Oliver, I’m just me, Melissa, someone to play with and share meals, laughs and love. He teaches me to accept others for who they are, no matter their appearance, no matter if they don’t always say the things I’d like them to. Oliver has helped me understand that everybody has different ways of both giving and receiving love.

Oliver sofa

Sometimes the greatest lessons we learn are not those taught in a classroom or a book, but by the unlikeliest creatures or canines, for that matter. I’m thankful for Oliver and all that he is, all that he does. Each day upon my awakening, I look for him, trusting he will be there, silently teaching me lessons each day, letting me love him the way I can and receiving his love in countless ways.

Oliver alone

Thank you, Hallmark for reminding me of all I have to be grateful for, even when I get distracted by all that seems to be missing in my life. There is always a lesson to be learned and someone/something to be appreciated and thankful for.