I’ll confess; I’m a terribly judgmental person. It’s not a tendency I like in myself. It’s not something that is reflected in the way I vote, or the way I live my life. I try to keep it out of my conversations. But my internal dialogue is filled with critical observations about the people around me.
It’s amazing to me how much having the dog helps me work on it. These days, while I still criticize other dog owners in my head, nine times out of ten I automatically think of my own equivalent “failure.”
Thursday in PetSmart someone let their little Yorkie run right up to me. It was on an unlocked retractable leash, and the owner was on the phone trying to get the right dog food. I thought, “Idiot. What if I’d had my dog with me?” Then I thought, “Oh, yeah. My dog can’t come to PetSmart.” (He’s actually okay in the store, but not great. I try not to take him with me unless I have to.)
Friday at the park we met an off-leash dog. I’ve never had any trouble with off-leash dogs at this particular park; that’s the main reason we go there. Silas did fantastic–he was on his long line, so I gave him plenty of slack. We had a nice, polite mutual bottom sniffing, then I called Silas to “go this way!” and he came right along. Once the “crisis” was past, I was getting all self-righteous about leashes and how that owner wasn’t paying attention to her dog. Then I thought, “Well, my dog is on his leash because otherwise he would be who knows where. At least her dog was perfectly well behaved.”
Dogs: excellent servers of humble pie.