1. Not to bark at strangers
2. To shake hands
3. To share
4. To eat "like a lady"
5. To go to my place when I'm told
6. To be home before dark
and so much more. But along with having a pet in my home - I sort of forgot about going to the gym. AHEM. Yes I've gained 5 lbs or so, but hey - it's been worth it.
Before Panda, I didn't have a curfew, a sense of home-life, and I certainly was not a good cook. But I've learned a lot since having Panda here with me. First and foremost there's a second opinion in the room (and one that's often more important than my own). I know where my food is coming from and often times I'm OK to skip a meal. She on the other hand - only knows that I feed her and where her food dish is, and she is VERY much on a clock and knows when it's time to eat. And she doesn't even wear a watch.
She also knows that when my alarm goes off in the morning - it's time for her to get up and go out (whether I need to or not). And when we come back in, she expects a carrot or her morning food.
Fortunately I've raised a healthy and happy girl and she gets lots of carrots which are good for her I'm sure and she loves movie night with me. I have an old leather chair that I've often thought of tossing but that's her "perch place" and she can see the whole house from that spot (on the ottoman). Many times when Im' asleep in the bed, she likes to go sleep on the ottoman and guard me and the door at the same time. She's very protective, bossy, silly, and super smart. Truly, she's the love of my life.
At 6 months I thought I had made a mistake. At 1 year I was ready to shoot myself. At 2 years I almost had it figured out. By year 3 there were fewer accidents (on my part), and after year 4 - it just doesn't matter. She's mine and I'm hers. A bark here and there means she loves me or someone's at the door. I've learned to interpret the difference. A sniff in the kitchen means I need to take the trash out before she gets into something. I've had more to learn than she has and I've learned more about myself by having her than I ever thought possible.
There's a reason to come home at night, and a reason to get up in the morning - and life is more than just ME.
To my Panda - I love you forever. I'm a better man for having and loving you - and being loved BY you (endlessly). Now I HAVE to figure out a way to get back to a fitness routine sine I've become a home body. ;-)