Lessons from Marvin

You can love him, or you can hate him; but you just can’t ignore him. He is all over the place; in our roads and in our homes. Interestingly, for most people the world over, he is in their hearts. This is precisely what I learnt during my one week’s stay at my sister’s place last summer. Among the family members was their pet ‘Marvin,’ a two-year old Labrador.


For someone like me, not particularly a lover of pets, he was initially a menace. However, I dared not voice my opinion, as I understood from day one that he was the blue-eyed boy of all at home. He was well-fed, nurtured, cared for and thoroughly pampered. Such was his blissful life that once a friend visiting my sister jokingly remarked that he would love to be born as Marvin in his next birth!

As we laughed, I contemplated the truth behind the reality. It dawned on me that all this affection and attention that Marvin received did not come to him on a platter. Rather, I was convinced that he earned every bit it. His show of affection for my sister’s family was beyond any human comparison. First thing every morning, he would greet us with a spontaneous wagging of his elegantly long tail. He was very protective of the house and its members. Whenever he spotted an unfamiliar face at the door, he would hasten to warn us. Every waking hour his energy was spent in displaying his affection, even as he made the people around him the centre of his life. Watching him helped me comprehend why dogs are the greatest winner of friends the world has ever known.

At the end of one week it was time for me to leave. I said goodbyes with the same trepidation that such partings bring. I bid farewell to all, including dear Marvin. As I patted him, he sprang to his feet with barks imploring me to stay. All too soon, I realised why Marvin was a true member of the family.

That summer I learnt these from Marvin — how to love children, how to be robust, how to take delight in games, how to be a friend, how to express pleasure when treated well, how to guard faithfully the interests of those who care for you and lastly how to express loyalty through small gestures. Kudos to man’s best friend!

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