We all have flaws and while we don’t all always see our own image as clear as possible in the mirror, we have to hope for some semblance of self awareness and also that this self awareness will result in growth. Maybe “flaw” is a strong word. At work we talk about strengths and opportunities, so maybe that is a better characterization. When it comes to my dogs first and pit bull type dogs in general, I know that my strength and opportunity lie in the fact that the propensity for them to be unfairly judged for anything is real and abiding and yet I know that I will go to any length to defend them, thus nearly every reaction stems from how it may affect me or my dogs. It also tends to make me more unforgiving towards other dogs.
Recently we were at a fundraiser which was held at a local bar with a “paw friendly” patio. The fundraiser was for a cause very dear to me and while the weather was hot, the evening promised to be chock-full of fun. As dog lovers filtered through the outdoor patio with their pooches in tow the evening seemed to be headed for one of laid-back joy and fun. As I stood just inside the gate listening to the speech, welcoming us and explaining the mission of Pet Promises for whom the fundraiser was benefiting, a lady walked in to stand just behind and beside me with her little red cattle dog. The man sitting behind me immediately engaged this woman in conversation as he apparently owned a blue heeler, who was, of course, “the best dog in the world.”
I glanced at them a couple of times throughout the speech that was being given as they weren’t quiet and were certainly drowning out some of the speech, at least for me. As often tends to happen during speeches, people are acknowledged and others applaud. As I was trying to balance a drink in one hand and do my best to offer more than just a golf clap, I soon, adjusted my arms and at the appropriate time offered up some applause. At that exact moment, the little red cattle dog sprang from her sitting position nearly 5 feet away and nipped my arm, but good.
The woman was horrified and immediately regained control of her dog, apologizing the entire time but to be honest, the numerous emotions and thoughts that coursed through my heart and head would have none of it. The very first thought through my head (besides “ow”) was “If my dog did that to anyone, they’d be screaming about a Pit Bull attack.” My skin wasn’t broken but it was certainly bruised for several days and while I know that the lady was “sorry” and upset, I couldn’t bring myself to utter words of forgiveness or consolation. Less than 10 minutes later she and her dog were leaving and I knew in my heart that while it wasn’t anyone’s fault and that she must have been feeling horrified, I could not, would not offer any clemency by word or deed. I could not forgive her or her dog for an act that, had it been done by one of my dogs would have been magnified tenfold. (Note: not by those who know and advocate for my guys but just in general.)
So to you, I ask, what do you say when someone says “I’m sorry” to you and the last thing you could possibly utter is, “That’s ok.”