Louie’s relationship with my granddaughters is indescribable. The words, “Sissy’s coming,” barely pass my lips when he high tails it to the kitchen window and whines as he waits for his two “sissys” to make their appearances.
To say he loves them is an understatement. He adores them, and I think he feels responsible for their safety. Sometime ago, after the big welcome with hugs around his neck and sloppy dog kisses, we were in for a very fun evening at Nonna’s!
A few minutes into our time together, I received a text from my daughter letting me know she had forgotten to send the monitor. My youngest granddaughter was much younger and we still used a monitor in her room. I replied, “No worries. Louie will be the hall monitor tonight.” I’m sure my daughter shook her head and smiled at the thought of Louie “monitoring” Mea and Evi.
There was a time when Louie had to stay in a pen so he would not rush the girls when they would “sneak” into my bedroom for our morning snuggles. Now, he sleeps on a nice, cushy bed on the floor next to mine. On this particular night, I decided to try something different. I kept the doors open so he could wander into their room and sleep. I even put his first floor bed next to their beds, just in case.
As we enjoyed movies and popcorn, Louie decided to quietly slink upstairs and crawl into his own bed in my room. He was fast asleep by the time the girls settled into their beds. After we read several books and exchanged hugs and kisses, I finally declared, “Time for everyone, Nonna included, to go to bed.” Sometime during the night, I woke up and looked over the edge of my bed to see that Louie was no longer in his sleeping area. Typically, he is not a roamer—once he goes to bed, he stays in bed—so I knew exactly where he was. I tiptoed down the hallway to the girls’ room and there was my little buddy, sound asleep on his bed on the floor, right by Mea and Evi’s beds. They were sound asleep, no doubt feeling safe in Nonna’s home with their faithful watch dog, Louie! I fell back to sleep until morning when all three little bodies entered my room, ready for their morning snuggles.
It wasn’t that long ago that Louie needed reassurance that my home was a safe place. Now, he ensures it is a safe place for his girls. Besides the need to be known and loved, feeling safe is one of our greatest needs. This holds true in all areas of life. One of the greatest responsibilities leaders have is creating a safe environment where trust is cultivated, people respect each other, and boundaries are honored. When people feel safe, they are free to let their guard down. They work harder and are more productive.
Sadly, some leaders are more concerned with their images and what people think of them than they are about creating an environment of safety. This creates an unstable environment where people are guarded. Typically, employees don’t stay long in such a place.
Ask yourself: Am I a safe leader? You might consider conducting a “safety inventory” of your organization and your relationships. Ask your colleagues, employees and friends if they consider you and your environment safe.
Louie’s role is to enjoy the safety of his home and to make sure his girls are safe when they are there. His peaceful demeanor indicates the need for safety was high on his list, right next to his need for love. And he gets plenty of that in our home!