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I get so excited when someone struggling improves.

I have a neighbor, someone I think of as one of my surrogate kids.

He's an ISFP. I met him about a year and a half ago, when he was 15.

He trusted me as soon as I introduced myself to him; it was his eyes, they went "soft," even though he was and is very quiet, reserved.

It was always the same, the warmth in his eyes, whenever we see each other. One day he was in the passenger side of his Mom's SUV and waved to get my attention, which for him is demonstrative. xD

So fast-forward to today--we've visited several times over the year and a half, talking about music, books, God, animals, subjects he enjoys in high school, friendship, you name it..

Now, he's working part-time at the local university where if he goes full-time, he can take classes for free. I asked him what he plans to major in, because I knew he'd go full-time when he turns 18 or sooner if possible, and he smiled, said, "Veterinarian assistant."

I got so happy for him, and relieved for the animals he'll help treat, because he's smart, gentle, kind, even-keeled, and loves animals.

He has a bearded dragon, "Baby" that he clearly adores and takes excellent care of.

He grew up with cats and two Rottweilers which as we both agree, "get a bad rap," as they are awesome animals if they are trained well, early, not to bite, because guarding is in their blood.

I used to have a Rottie, a rescue. I named him Bosco. He was an old boy and loved me from the minute he came up to me and put his arms on my shoulders and his face up to my own.

I told him, "You've changed so much since I met you--from someone often down to someone with more confidence..."

We were sitting outside his flat, in the sun. He stopped stroking Baby, looked up and over at me, with that slow smile, and in his quiet voice, said, "Yeah?"

I said, "Yes. You're becoming the kind of man it's an honor to know. And when you become a vet assistant, it makes me feel good for all the animals who will be in your care."

I let him know if he ever doubts himself, not to hesitate, call me and I'll give him a heart-felt boost, because he's made to be a vet assistant.

I didn't say what else I thought: "You could be a vet." I don't want to spook him, but if his confidence keeps growing, he just may find that "assistant" isn't aiming high enough.

I also said, "If we're still here and so are you, don't turn 18 and get your own place without making sure I know where you're heading."

I have his cell and he has mine, so I want him to know he's got someone older, trustworthy, in his corner.

I won't give the "telling" personal information--I need and respect this kind of privacy, so I'll just say he's had it rough in a lot of ways.

It is a pleasure to see his life turning around because everything hard in his life was put there by others, adults that children need to go to but often cannot, for the basics, and not just food, but for guidance, for assurance that they're loved, for positive role modeling.

Some of us start out in the hole, and some of us never get out.

Well, this young man is on his way up and more than out. He's on his way to success. \ (•◡•) /
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