Having my Chihuahua, Gizmo, for 15 years has taught me many lessons throughout my short 19 years. Below I have highlighted some of the most influential.

1. Each moment we get to be together is truly a gift.

Walking out of the room for five minutes, going on a trip for two weeks, or running errands for 3 hours, our reunion is one of the best things that could happen that day. My dog's eyes light up like fireworks on the fourth of July as soon as he sees me. It's important to take joy in each one of these encounters because unfortunately one day, we will no longer have these moments. My dog will turn 16 years old this February, so I often remind myself of this.

2. If my dog doesn't approve of you, I shouldn't either.

It is truly amazing to me that a ten pound little dog has a better judge of character than most people in my life. He can sense character and vibes faster than I can. Most people that have been toxic in my life, my dog has not been fond of. I have learned to always stand guard and not take people at face value. Not everyone is as they seem which in turn means not everyone deserves a place in your life. After all, my best friend does not have to have only two legs.

3. Happiness can be found in the simplest of things.

Walking around the block can feel like Christmas morning; being social with the neighbors, getting fresh air, and being active. Cuddles on the couch is truly refreshing for the soul. Chasing each other around the couch could be enough exercise for the week. My dog has taught me that simplicity is okay. That life does not have to be grand to be amazing.

4. Forgiveness is essential.

No matter how ornery or aggravating my dog can be, I can never stay upset with him. In order to make anything in life successful you have to be willing to forgive. We all have flaws and fall short in various ways but with forgiveness we are able to overcome these obstacles.

5. Love can be unconditional.

No matter how long I am gone, the mistakes I have made, or the lack of attention I have gave; my dog does not care. He loves me the same every single day. I have found this to be very true to life, if someone means enough to you, you should be able to look past their flaws and simply appreciate their presence in your life.