Tell Your Pets
And Your Friends

Randy Pausch said in his Last Lecture that it is important to tell people what you like about them. There are two reasons for that simple act of kindness. The first is that the other person needs to know one of his or her strengths. It helps them to continue to grow and enjoy life. The other reason is obvious to Pausch and to those of us that have done the dance with death. Someday, you won’t be around to tell them, because your clock no longer is ticking.

Having done the dance twice in the past decade, Pausch’s point resonates with me. I have always been good at expressing my thanks, but after my two dances and watching The Last Lecture, the past pales in comparison to the present. I’ll thank people for things that they did for me, which are minor events. In some cases, I’ll have to remind them what they said or did.

However, it is fascinating to watch Ginger, my two-year-old, 78-pound, hyperactive Irish Setter, respond to being praised when she chases off the geese from the vacant lots around the lake. She will scare away a hundred or more geese that have stopped in my subdivision on their way south in the late fall. When she returns to me, I praise Ginger which absolutely revitalizes her. She lives for that praise.

Whenever, she does something around the house and I praise her, she will quickly get one of her toys and gives it to me as her expression of love and gratitude.

It amazes me that she needs to hear the praise even though it is obvious to me that she already knows that I love her. Nevertheless, I act. Why? It is because I love her and someday, it will be too late…either she or I won’t be around.

However, this has been about Ginger. If you have a pet, remember to tell them that you love and appreciate them. Additionally, Ti Ti, who is the oldest of my grandchildren in Myanmar, is helping with my web page. In the past several months, we have emailed each other about her assistance. Ti Ti is the hardest working person at her age that I know. Her parents have taught her well. When I thank her for help, she seems relieved at my approval.

In the five years of knowing Ti Ti, I haven’t let a moment go by without praising her. She is the link that brought my family and hers together. Trust me. I’ll write things to her even though I know that she has heard those comments many, many times before. Despite that, Ti Ti is happy that she meets with my approval.

Interestingly, I have a private section on my website where I can post videos to Ti Ti, her two younger sisters, and her parents. It is my way to personalize my communication with them. It always surprises me when they thank me expressing my feelings about my family in Myanmar. I posted one to the family on Thanksgiving. Moh Moh wrote me an email, “As for your last video, words can't express our thanks to you about kindness for us.”

It is strange that even with close and loving feelings between us that I am caught off guard with the way she, Ko Ko, and Ti Ti feel. They know that I love them.

In conclusion, it is apparent to me that expressions of appreciation are necessary. Both the receiver and the giver need to hear appreciation from the other person. And that includes pets like my Ginger.