I had a rather thought provoking walk with my friend Newton last week. We are having some work done at our house and my being away in the middle of the day to walk wasn’t conducive to the decisions that needed to be made with where to put a niche in the shower, the spacing for my pendant lights and all the other minute details. Thankfully I have wonderfully flexible clients that allowed me to bring my girl friend to my house for the day…that way we got our walk, she had her lunch and pee breaks and the bonus of buddies to hang with during the day and the contractors got their questions answered when the need arose. My daughter was also part of the equation to facilitate my plans for the day, she was good enough to get up fifteen minutes earlier so she could give me a ride before she had to make her forty-five minute commute to work so I could collect my charge. On the ride over, I suggested instead of being driven all the way back home, that she could drop us off part way up the road, since Newton and I needed a morning walk anyway. My lovely child was insistent we didn’t need to walk home, but it didn’t make sense to take her ten minutes out of her way when we could enjoy a nice stroll through the quiet streets that we were going to take anyways.
As we neared the juncture that made sense for us to take our leave, my daughter pulled over. I jumped out of the front seat, opened the back door and grabbed the leash. Newton came willingly, but looked rather confused when my daughter drove off without us. As we walked up the hill in the direction of home my girl friend kept pausing, looking up at me with a puzzled expression. I realized that her tail was between her legs and she was acting rather timid. I was chatting away to her as per usual, but she just wasn’t her typical happy go lucky self. After some thought, it occurred to me that my canine companion had misread the situation….I believe she felt that we were expelled from the car, abandoned at the side of the road by someone whom she considered her friend. Like some scene out of a movie where the driver is angered by their passenger and pulls over to the side of the road and says “GET OUT…” That wasn’t the case, but I think things happened so fast and unexpectedly, that is what Newton thought. Perception is an interesting thing, we humans believe we have the market cornered on misinterpreting a moment…but we do not! Dogs and cats are very used to our habits and the usual dynamics of the group, when we deviate from the normal routine it can give them pause to wonder what is going on. It wasn’t until we reached my front door that my four legged friend seemed more at ease, her tail began to wag and she was excited by the idea that she was going to see Lucas and Romeo. It was like she had an “ah ha” moment, and was now understanding what we were doing.
The next morning we went and grabbed Newton, as we neared the spot where we were going to get out to walk the remainder of the way I suggested that my daughter give her a little kiss on the head and say good bye. It was interesting, this time my friend didn’t seem reluctant or offended by being left at the side of the road. It gave me pause to evaluate that it is important for me to remember to be mindful of the feelings of my four legged companions. Helping them to go with the busy ebb and flow of our human world is an important thing to be mindful of. As one can see from the picture I snapped of her later that afternoon, Newton was quite happy to relax and go with the flow!