Greetings! If you are reading this blog you know that I LOVE animals, almost more then most people but, I have to admit that I am little surprised when strangers greet my dog and not me.
I have had perfect strangers go by walking, running, or on their bikes who say “hello” to my dog in childish little voices. Most don’t even look my way. Some have said ” hello pretty lady” and I ask myself ” do they mean me or her.” When I look up and see them looking toward the ground I know they are talking to my Tess.
I’ve had people say ” what a pretty dog”, ” isn’t he a good boy ( she’s a girl)”,” I like your dog,” and ” what a lovely lady”, who have never even greeted me! I’ve wanted to reply back to them ” what about me.” but hold back so as not to antagonize them.
People are so funny when it comes to animals. I am a great example if you look at the hundreds of pictures I have taken of the squirrel colony in my own backyard. It strikes me funny though when they will greet my dog but ignore me.
I suppose that I light up to when I see a beautiful dog coming my way, and barely acknowledge it’s owner. Most of us are attracted to a stunning animal on a leash. I know I am very impressed when a well mannered pup marches right past me. I too want to have that well behaved champion.
Actually, I do most days. Tess loves to walk and has learned to ignore the people walking and/or riding on bikes. Her downfall are the rabbits. She hops like a giant grasshopper into the brush when she senses a rabbit near by. Several times I have almost been taken into the brush with her she was so quick. It’s the one task we are still working on. I will give her a little leeway as it is pure instinct to want to hunt and catch her prey. But, I hope to conquer this soon.
So, back to the people on the trails. How can you look at my dog, greet her lovingly, and ignore me. I mean I am attached to the other end of that leash. Sometimes when I look up at them they are scowling at me. Most times I am watching the walk so I don’t stumble and fall. That has happened in the past so now I have a little bit of PTSD while walking. I don’t bounce like I use to, I broke a rib last October. So when I look up and see their dark looks I want to scowl back. I don’t, but I want to.
How many times have you walked past someone and never even seen who or what lays before you? How often do we ignore the other person? I say it is a lost opportunity to offer someone a kind smile to brighten their day. Who knows, they might be having the worst day of their life, and we have just added to that pile by ignoring them.
Now, I am not an overly friendly person. I think you get that. It is a flaw that I am working on, so I will admit that I need to heed my own advise too. I know sometimes my own personal judgement has gotten in the way of my being a kinder person. I judge first, act later, and miss an opportunity to make or tighten a new friendship. Bad….
Animals can and do open doors. Most people will approach a person who is tagging along with their pet. It can be a good experience, or in some cases a not so good experience. You be the judge, and be cautious. Always cautious in this day and age. Just be aware that if you are out walking a pet it can cause others to step into your space where perhaps that is not what you had wanted at all. When approaching a stranger walking their dog be sure it is okay with them to come forward.
I know when I am walking Tess I don’t allow people to stop her or pet her. I want her focused on the walk. I also don’t want her getting too friendly with strangers as I may need her reluctance some day. Not all strangers are safe, most will hesitate if a dog is the unfriendly type. This can be a good thing most days.
My word of advise today is when out and about look around you. Smile at those that pass your way. You don’t have to grin like a buffoon, but a small smile of friendship can go a long way to making someone’s day a little better. It does me. It also reminds me that I should be just as nice too. After all it does feel good.
So for today have a great day, and offer someone your kind smile as well.