Monday, 22 February 2016

Why I want to find a human like my dog... and shouldn't

My dogs drive me crazy.  One is neurotic and an attention-hound (pun very definitely intended) and the other is a spoiled brat with species confusion (bottle-raised from birth so she's imprinted on people and thinks she is one).  The brat, otherwise known as Hazel is too tall for her own good on her hind legs and has an eating problem.  The problem is, she eats everything from everywhere!  Crumbs that fall off the counter while I'm cooking, forgotten tidbits on the end table, goodies pushed back on the counter, the chicken in the center of the kitchen table.

Wait, what?

Yup, if the chairs are pulled back, I've found that 70 pound ball of fluff with all four paws, standing on the dining room table, swallowing as fast as she can.  She's never mad when you catch her or take it away, her thought seems to be, "Darn, I should have swallowed faster!"

And Belle, the seemingly innocent one is the culprit for chewing up favored books and toys (Tinkertoys were the first casualties years ago, now it's large Lego pieces) and the classic homework eater.

But... as you've heard a hundred times before, the benefits outweigh the irritations.

They are happy to see me every time I walk in the door, no matter if I was gone for 45 seconds to get the mail or 2 days and someone had to watch them.  They are cheerful and ready to play any time I am but are always primed for a nap, too.  They make no demands besides a reminder when it's feeding time (and the calls for attention like "Hazel!  Get down").  And when I'm feeling particularly down, I can hold Hazel and cry into her fur and she's just there.  She snuggles up to me at night (only in the winter, the little chunker gets too hot in the summer to get close) and shares her valuable body heat with me, the heat sink, when I need it most.

Belle and Hazel are there to make sure I never talk to myself... I talk to them.

But it's not really the same as having a real, live, human friend.  Now, don't mistake me, I have friends, one or two close ones (although, no matter how hard you try, geography does make a difference and the everyday urgency of those friendships have waned) my family who have to fill the bill more often than not, and quite a few acquaintances. And, despite my flamboyance in some public settings, I don't make friends very easily. My actual personality seems to be overwhelming for many people so I rein it in until I think people are ready for it.  That's exhausting so I tend to be a homebody and only inflict myself on my nearest and dearest.  So it would be wonderful to have a friend that is always ready when I need them no matter what time of day.  Excited to snuggle and watch a movie, hold hands and just share some physical space with no self-consciousness (I mean, Belle and Hazel don't care if I have bad breath) and to fall asleep next to at night knowing that you can do no wrong but also have conversations with two participants.  And the person should be leashed trained to make sure we go for walks together (theatrical wink).

But, even a hopeless romantic like me can see that even if I want it, this is not the best thing for me. Because, before you don't ask why, oftentimes the thing we most want is not the thing that's best for us.  I've told my kids this before but it's true and applies to me, too.

What are the dangers inherent in having a friend around who only agrees with you and never challenges you?  For one, the conversations could be pretty boring.  For another, fresh perspectives and new ideas make you think in different ways. And too much agreement can lead you to believe that you are always right, even if you're not. I've known too many people like that to want to be... we'll use the nicest term possible: insufferable.

Additionally, if I have someone around who thinks like I do all the time and only wants me to be happy in that moment... I'd never get out for those walks.

I'd lose all sense of compassion because I would expect that my needs are the only ones that are necessary to be met.

That sounds like it's starting to describe someone I don't want to be; I don't want to fall into that trap.

I guess I'll let my dogs be dogs and my people be people and I'll muddle along being myself.  I'll enjoy the comfort of Hazel and Belle and value the challenges offered by the multitude of people I see every week.  And make an effort to be the kind of person I'd like to have for myself.
Hazel and Belle

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for this....from Meshach too ;-) As one of those geographically waned I look forward to seeing you in the summer. You are, indeed, the kind of people that is valued well beyond our furry friends. Love you lots!