I was catching up on some blog reading this past weekend (this is what happens when you get a full-time job and can’t keep up on all your favorite blogs!) when I came across this one by Pamela over at Something Wagging This Way Comes. Thought-provoking, insightful, and a great message about the kindness of strangers – in this case, the stranger would be Pamela.
It really got me to thinking about how I can improve my personal approach in situations where the dog owner is treating their dog in a way that I believe is harmful. I’m not very tactful when it comes to situations like this. I pretty much say what is on my mind. But that doesn’t really help the situation does it? In fact, it might even make things worse, especially for the dog.
Pamela’s approach, and Vicky’s comments (see the comment section) made me realize that there is still so much I have to learn about working with people. I have no problem with dogs, that comes naturally to me, but humans? That’s a whole different ball game.
I am more apt to give a dog the benefit of the doubt than a person. I watch their behavior and often wonder at the root cause. What caused them to act this way? What triggered it? What past experience led to the behavior? How can I communicate to this dog in such a way that I can help them get beyond where they are now? These are the things I think when working with a dog.
And yet, when it comes to people I often go right to judgement. I forget that every person has a story, a tragedy, a personal experience; all of which makes up the person before me. I don’t know their story. I don’t know what makes them tick. I certainly don’t know why they react the way they do – with people or dogs. Perhaps if I took the time to speak with them, to learn a little more, to better understand who they are, and where they are coming from, then maybe my contribution to the world would be a better one. Certainly more dogs would be the better for it.
I have a lot to learn in this world, but I think the lesson I take away from Pamela’s post is that I need to treat people more like I treat dogs. Seek to understand and then influence positively. Maybe it’s time to practice what I preach.