TLC Thanksgiving Blog – The Three Crowns According to My Dog Posted on November 22nd, 2022 by

I’m not a huge dog fan. You have to feed them, let them out, pick up their poop, listen to them
howl or bark at things that pose no danger, and then watch them sit silently when an actual
threat appears. They are like babies that never grow up. So, not a huge fan.

Until Dobby came along nine years ago.            

He is all the things listed above. But somehow, the little guy wiggled his way into my heart. I think because he is an indefatigable example of the Three Crowns.

Positive Attitude. His mantra seems to be “What a day! What a day! What a day!” Even though his entire day consists of eating twice, sleeping, and pooping in the yard. “What a day! What a day! What a day! I wonder what’s going to happen next???”

Full Effort. “I got this! I got this! I got this!” Even when it is apparent, he doesn’t.

And Good Sportsmanship. “How are you? How are you? How are you? I believe in you! I
believe in you! I believe in you!” Even when I’m cranky and distracted.

He can be irritating. You can want him to go away sometimes. But he is persistent and will
break you down. “What a day! I got this! How are you? I believe in you!”

Which is why you must know that if one never gives up, there is always a chance.

This is about a 2 nd Crown triumph I never saw coming that renewed my faith again in the Three

One thing, in all his nine years, Dobby has never been able to figure out, is how to get up on the
bed the first try. For nine years, he has thrown himself at our bed every morning,
miscalculating the height. He takes running leaps. Crash. Standing long jump. Crash. Look
sideways and pretend the bed will somehow lower itself if he doesn’t look. Crash. It takes him
anywhere from two to five times of crashing, but he never, ever, ever gives up. And he does
not want help.

Every time he crashes he looks surprised, like, “How did that happen???” Like it’s the very first

I’ve tried to help him, train him, coach him, cheer him on, all to no avail. But he never gives up.

Then a funny thing happened this fall. He realized if he got a running start from the living room
there is a straight shot to our bed. I saw his tiny brain calculating this Evel Knievel daredevil
move, and I saw the moment he decided to go for it. I thought, oh, this is not going to end well.

And then, he took off running from the far end of the living room for the bed, gained speed,
reached the bedroom rug where he got traction, leaped for the bed, flew through the air over
the dozens of cars below, and landed safely on the bed top. He looked shocked. He turned and
looked at me like, “Seriously, how did that happen???” And I looked at him and said, “You’re
asking the wrong guy.”

He had done it. After NINE YEARS of failure.

The next day he did it again. And the next. And the next. Seven days in a row.

This dog finally has figured out how to get up on the bed without suffering a concussion.

And he continues his daily mantra. “What a day! I got this! How are you? I believe in you!”
And so, I believe back.

This Thanksgiving, never give up, people. Do not give up on those you love. Do not give up on
obstacles in your way. Do not give up on your enemies’ potential to change. Do not give up on
your own potential to change. Do not give up when you’re down 6-0 5-0 40-Love. You never
know when you’re going to land on the bed.

Just ask Dobby.

Here’s hoping you have soft landings, too. Happy Thanksgiving, all, from TLC.


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  1. Anne Noonan says:

    I enjoyed this, Neal (a little behind on reading Thanksgiving-themed messages!). Don’t give up on yourself, on forgiving, on things that drive you nuts…no matter how long or how many tries it takes, don’t give up. Keep trying keep trying keep trying…because one of those zillionth times, it just may work! A crash becomes a “crush(ed)” it!” Thanks for the inspiring and fun read!

  2. Barbara Wilkinson says:


    Great blog! One has to admire Dobby and his persistence. (Or does it say something about his IQ?) His attitude is admirable, though. But, ….why didn’t you lower the bed?

    I want to stand up for cats. They teach you humility because they are the masters. I feel accepted when the little feline chooses to draw figure eights around my ankles or elects me to sit on my lap because she is in charge.

    I hope you all had a happy Thanksgiving,

  3. Adriane says:

    Neal it won’t let me post a part of your post “What a day! “My new mantra! Love love this. Your new follower, Adriane 💕💕

  4. Adriane says:

    What a day! My new mantra! Love love this. Your new follower, Adriane 💕💕

  5. Bebe says:

    A great message after a few bumpy years for all of us collectively and many of us personally!

  6. Harry Piper says:

    Wonderful Neal, we gotta love those furry family members, they teach us so much!

  7. David C Sommer says:

    Then there’s cats. Positive attitude? “Too much trouble.” Full effort? “Only for food.” Sportsmanship? “Play with me and I’ll cheat.”

  8. Beth Fridinger says:

    Awesome message today!! Way to go Dobby!

    Grateful for you, Neal, and TLC! Wishing you and your family a happy and healthy Thanksgiving!

    The Fridinger’s 🙂

  9. John Whitmer says:

    Yes, as several have said here, this is one of your best (not exactly a low bar). And yes, dogs often seem to have a better understanding of the three crowns than many of us. One can learn a lot from one’s dog.

    • Neal Hagberg says:

      Thank you John for your kind words. And Happy Thanksgiving! Now I hear Dobby scratching at the food door so time to go feed, lol.

  10. Jim Donehower says:

    Love this! (And I will remember it.)

    Thanks, Neal.

  11. Christine Nickels says:

    What a delightful and inspiring read. Thank you, Neal!

  12. Dave Van Hattum says:

    If Dobby can fly over the cars below, I can increase my patience with the 8th graders I’m teaching. Thanks for the inspiration and Happy Thanksgiving to your family and the TLC family everywhere!

    I’m not giving up!

  13. Martha Larson says:

    Hello from Madison, WI! I always enjoy your posts Neal and this one made me laugh out loud! I am hoping to someday bring my 5 year old grandson to TLC although he shows no interest in tennis at present. Channeling Dobby, I won’t give up! Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family!

  14. Lindsey says:

    Love this and you all so much! Happy Thanksgiving Neal, Leandra, Madeline, and Dobby!

  15. David Wareham says:

    Great story AND message. Much appreciative for all you – and those at TLC – do for your players and for the great game of tennis. I’m grateful. Keep it up.

  16. Rozan Anderson says:

    This is one of your very best, Neal! I’m laughing – and teary! Wishing you all soft landings!

    • Neal Hagberg says:

      Well, dogs are gonna make you cry if you don’t laugh, lol. Thanks, Rozan, see you this summer!

  17. Penny Greer says:

    This is one of the best blogs you have ever written, Neal!!

    I will keep it nearby for regular encouragement!

    Happy T day to you and all those dear!

    One of your Nebraska fans, Penny Greer