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Tribute to Mona, our French Bulldog Landscaper

Some days I feel like the luckiest guy in the world, doing what I love, working outdoors, sharing that excitement with our clients and being appreciated in return. But part of why I'm so lucky and grateful is because I got to take my little girl to work.

Mona didn't demand time-off, show up at the wrong job site or heaven forbid, take a one hour lunch break. She was content to excavate, as if her sole mission was to unearth her long lost bone in a pile of triple mix.

...then nap where she excavated;

...talk shop at Home Depot (orange buggies weren't her colour, she'd later admit);

...fiercy guarded every project site with her deep dark eyes and ferocious underbite;

...then rush back to the F250 (aka Mona's truck) for yet another nap.

She had a gaze that left a permanent mark in my heart. But onsite, she was all business. As I rounded the corner, she'd give me that look, "no really...are we going now?"

She came into our lives as a rescue. Her transformation from the unwanted, unhealthy and unloved past proved a difficult journey as old habits die hard. Her behavioural issues were a cocktail mix of mistrusting men, aggression towards other dogs and intense separation anxiety - having been tossed from one home to another. Yet, one look into her big round dark eyes, was a little puppy longing to have a purpose. It was not long before she knew how to be a landscaper. Maybe not by choice but the perfect fit to release all her wildly inhibitions. She belonged.

Soon after emergency surgery to save her life, she gained the confidence and prounced around sales call to job sites, supplier yard (safety precautions taken) to dog-friendly retail establishments. Though she rarely barked, her quietness often spoke loudly through her eyes. Thus, seeing Mona usually and almost instantly brought attention wherever you went. She handled it like a pro. (too much like a pro, if you ask me)

She taught me something I still strive for everyday - that is, in order to become an effective leader, communicator, boss and lifelong learner, try doing so without even uttering a word. Take a moment to observe the world around you.

Learn to listen and, listen well.

...not just in business, but in life. Not just with your mind but with your heart. And listening well with kind, emotive and understanding eyes.

Today, 6 years ago, on a Friday, the 13th of April was when we plucked her out of that horrid Toronto condo. I've since forgiven the people who never wanted her for also, we never would have known how grateful a blessing it was to care and love her. Our time with her was short-lived but the memory of her precious love remains forever.

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