Listening, as never before

What I learned from an eager beagle

I WAS IN ONE of those transition times. I wanted a more challenging job but hadn't a clue what it would be or where to find it.

Then, on a visit to my parents' house, I noticed the dog. Putter, our family beagle, was waiting by the back door for my little sister to get home from school. But the dog wasn't just lying there. Putter was on the floor right next to the door with her nose pressed at the corner. She was actively listening for my sister's footsteps. Her whole body was crouched toward the opening, with even her tail pointed toward the door, and her long, floppy ears flat on the floor, ready to hear that first faint footstep. Putter put everything she had into listening for my sister's homecoming. And, of course, because she was listening so devotedly, she was always the first to hear even the faintest footstep and to receive my sister's greeting.

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