I’ve never really considered myself a “dog person.” There were a couple of times, probably when I was under the age of 10, that my family had dogs. But most of my adolescent years were spent sans dog. My dog fixes were relegated to indulging the stories and pictures of my friends’ dogs.

A couple of years ago, my family adopted Rinny, an almost three-year-old Staffordshire Bull Terrier. We had to take her back to the adoption shelter after two biting incidents involving my 10-year-old daughter. Rinny was a part of our home and family for just three months, but she made a big impression in that time.

Surround Yourself With Life

Quickly I realized just how important she was — not just Rinny, not just a dog. What I realized was the importance of being surrounded by life. The importance of living, breathing, moving, activation … all of these things and what they bring to a space.

That space could be your home or bedroom. It could be a park or an office cubicle. When we surround ourselves with living objects, we feed off that energy. It’s why there is music when you walk into the grocery store. It’s why random sculptures and art pieces are installed into public spaces. It’s the reason those feng shui books tell us to put a plant in a specific spot in our homes.

At the time we adopted Rinny, I had been working from home for nearly 15 months. She quickly found her way into our hearts. But she also was cramping our schedule, mine in particular. It was like having a toddler in the house all over again. Being away from home for more than a couple hours was out of the question.

The summer we had her, I worked only from home, no longer a nomad at coffee shops around town. If I was working in my home office, Rinny was there. When I moved to my DJ station in another part of the house, Rinny followed and would listen to music with me. When I needed to work in the garage, there she was, sprawled out on the concrete floor.

While I enjoyed her company, I also missed leaving the comforts of home to work elsewhere. It was my way of being around other people and being around their energy. That energy also included the sounds of the milk frother; the beeps of credit card machines; the hum of the music in the restaurant creeping past my earbuds and mixing in with the music in my ears.

With Rinny, I had her energy while I was at home. But more importantly, returning home to her I found an energy that I never knew was missing.

We knew returning home would always be an adventure. First, there was her excitement of seeing us. Then it was looking around to see what she may have chewed on. There was the inevitable fixing of couch pillows and area rugs that were tossed around. There was sweeping and cleaning of any small messes that she made.

We were no longer just walking in the door and plopping down on the couch. We didn’t have to “wake” up the house — open windows, doors, curtains, etc. Rinny was there the whole time keeping the house alive and warm.

I even noticed how much more alive the house was when my wife, Sheila, would return home from work. Rinny was, of course, excited to see her, but so was Sheila. And she would prepare to take her for an evening walk, which followed with refreshing her water and food bowls.

During the weeks after we had to give Rinny back, I remember the strange feeling of walking in the door to complete silence. For me, I had lost my shadow, the living, breathing thing that was giving me energy.

Rinny was never a barker. But it was especially quiet when she was not around.

That silence was almost unbearable, so of course, we brought a new dog into our life about a year later. And the energy was back!

While we are not all in a position to bring a pet into our home, I still can’t stress enough how important it is to surround yourself with life.

My advice, at the very least … consider getting a plant.

Featured Photo by Jf Brou on Unsplash
Photo by sarandy westfall on Unsplash


Rinny the dog didn't live with the Kanoya family long, but she made a big impact. She taught Justin how important it is to surround yourself with life.