Last night, I was driving home after spending time with friends, and started thinking about what constitutes a true friend. I thought through my life of all the true friends I have had and what I could learn from each of them. One such friend that came to my mind last night was my old dog, Snoopy. My family and I adopted Snoopy from an animal shelter in 1999 and named him after Charlie Brown’s dog in the comic strip. I learned many lessons from him on what constitutes a true friend.
One evening in 1999, I was jumping on the trampoline in the backyard. Somehow, I leapt off the trampoline and twisted my right foot when landing on the cement patio. As I laid there on the patio crying, I tried to get the attention of my parents but they were unable to hear me. Less than ten seconds after my fall, there was Snoopy, quietly walking to me from the back of the patio. He started licking me as if he were saying, “Zach, it is okay. I am right here. I’m not leaving you.” Snoopy sat right next to me, quietly watching over me. After a few minutes, I got up and limped back inside. Snoopy even escorted me to the sliding glass door to make sure I got in safely.
In all the time we had Snoopy I never saw or heard of him hurting anyone. He loved being around people and hated being left out of the fun. Snoopy was incredibly patient–especially on walks. As we walked, I enjoyed talking with my neighbors. Sometimes these conversations lasted up to two hours. Snoopy would patiently lay on the sidewalk and not tug on the leash while I listened to talkative neighbors. One of the last times I spent time with him was in April of 2009. My girlfriend at the time had flown in to see me before I left for the South for two years to do my voluntary mission service and we went on a long walk together with Snoopy. Snoopy didn’t mind how long the duration was and was fine with taking breaks when we sat down to catch our breath.
I was living in South Carolina in July of 2009 when I got a card from my mom informing me of Snoopy’s death. He had been energetic and happy all the way to the end and had died peacefully in our backyard. Even though Snoopy is gone, he continues to inspire me today.
As I drove on the freeway, thinking of Snoopy, it got me thinking of what kind of a friend I am and what types of friends I should seek to be with. I personally feel that true friends are those that are constantly there for you constantly and love you for who you are. They never tear you down but seek to build you up. They never betray you or abandon you when you need them most. There is much more to write than one paragraph as to what defines a true friend, but think about the people you spend time with. Are they true friends? Lastly, are you a true friend to them?
An unknown author said, “Many people will walk in and out of your life, but only true friends will leave footprints in your heart.” Snoopy left paw prints on my heart before he died. I will never forget him and look forward to seeing him in heaven again one day. I hope each one of us can be unforgettable friends like my dog, Snoopy. Let’s continue Snoopy’s work and be the type of friend he was to everyone!