Fiona IS my Best Friend
I never realized that I did not know how to love and how to put others ahead of myself. I'm always reading that mothers don't think of themselves and need to love and take care of themselves "also" but I' m not sure that's true and it certainly was not true for me, though I did not know it.
Fiona, my Best Friend, is a miniature (oversized) poodle. When I had her only a few weeks I was sitting at the dog park with another dog owner sitting next to me. Fiona jummped up and put her head in my lap and my neighbor said "she loves you". So I began to take notice. It was obvious Fiona was always protecting me. Sometimes she protected me too loudly but she is always concerned about my welfare.
Little by little I began to open my heart to her. As I did that I realized it had not really done that for others who needed it. Oddly as a teacher I was very empathetic and attuned to my student's needs. As a wife and mother, not so much.
Fiona knows when I am sad and when I am happy. Dogs seem to have a sense about people, and often (not always) know who to trust and who to not trust.
You can learn a lot from a kindly dog.