Recognizing your weaknesses. Acknowledging your prejudices. Knowing your limits.
Every Thursday throughout the summer we have Lunch on the Square, where a local musician plays music, the food trucks descend and people fill the square and enjoy lunch al fresco. We also bring a couple of adoptable dogs from the SPCA to strut their adoptable stuff and hopefully find a home. After one
near fiasco with a dog who didn’t do well in crowds, we stuck to the best of the best, so to speak. We brought some true ambassadors for the shelter and by that same token, heard some valuable feedback. People sought us out to see the star of the week and we heard more than one surprised person say that they had no idea such awesome dogs were available. Too often the public’s perception is that of the broken and abused dog who will need so much work. People don’t realize pets make their way to the shelter for a multitude of reasons and some of the most wonderful companions are waiting for their second or third chance.
Recently during some extreme heat, I decided to sign up at the last minute for a Lunch date and showed up to collect my date. I knew it was probably a bad idea because of the heat. I knew there were several dogs that I wanted to spend some time with and if I went to Lunch I would forego their company.
I was paired with a long haired small dog who pancakes when being taken out of the kennel but is a happy little wiggle butt when outside. I had my doubts. I felt apprehensive. This dog walked in swirly little circles in front of me. This dog jumped at noises.
We arrived at a parking garage and had to park on the uppermost level. This dog doesn’t do stairs or elevators so we walked down the ramp to the street level. She sat for a few pets then hid under the park bench and quivered so I knew that since neither of us were having fun, we should head back.
I felt horrible because this dog is literally one of the sweetest little gals ever, but in my breed specific prejudice, she started out with a strike, in my mind. The hot day and my disappointment at not being with one of my big-heads made me small and mean spirited, but also taught me a little bit more about myself. I knew this wasn’t a good idea with the heat and a slightly hesitant dog, so I should have felt confident enough to express myself. I should have acknowledged that staying close to the shelter and going for short walks would have been the best option for all involved.
A lesson learned.