Accept Others For Who They Are – Good for the Dog; Good for You

Chihuahua mix house guest

Chico’s favorite view.

Words often formed in my head: “Why does he always do that? Doesn’t he know how crazy it makes me?”

But Honey has learned to accept the quirks of others. I need to learn from her.

Visitor Dog

Saturday night I got a message. A friend’s grandmother had died and she needed someone to watch her dog while they traveled out-of-state for the funeral.

Chico had stayed with us before. A dignified, elderly gentleman, he looks like he was born of a union between a chihuahua and rugby ball. Chico is no-nonsense. Or at least, no Honey-nonsense.

Chico is wary when he first comes into the house. He allows a discrete butt sniff but that’s it.

And for the time he is with us, I expect only peaceful co-existence. No play. No snuggling on the couch. No games of chase in the yard.

Luckily, Honey understands.

While she loves entertaining a playful puppy, Honey respects Chico’s boundaries. And she doesn’t ask for anything he’s unwilling to give.

Honey accepts Chico for who he is.

The Spouse You Got

I heard an interesting story on This American Life yesterday about a couple facing conflict in their marriage.

Kristen Finch, a speech therapist, joked with her co-workers about how similar their husbands were to the children with Asperger’s they worked with. Their husbands had trouble listening, could only focus on what was important to them, and didn’t have empathy.

But Kristen began to wonder. And after taking an online quiz on her suggestion, Kristen’s husband David went to a doctor where he was diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome.

Amazingly, the diagnosis helped their marriage.

For Kristen, realizing that her husband’s missed social cues were part of how his brain was wired made her more patient. And David, realizing that he wasn’t acting like other people, was able to imitate appropriate social behavior even if it didn’t come naturally to him.

David’s diagnosis made it easier for Kristen to accept his quirks.

Honey the Golden Retriever poses on Cayuga Lake in Ithaca, NY.

Why so serious? It’s a beautiful day on the lake. Oh well, I guess I’ll just accept it.

Quirky People; Quirky Dogs

We have some quirky people in our house.

My husband is mercurial, flowing from hyperactive and silly to gloomy and despairing overnight. He’s stubborn. And he only accepts advice I give him if he hears it from someone else as well.

I have a meltdown if the plans I’ve had for the day change unexpectedly. I worry too much about what other people think about me. And I feel criticized when my husband is just trying to help me.

It’s easy to get frustrated with each other.

After 24 years of marriage and a 5-year friendship before that, you think I’d say of Mike, “Well, that’s just the way he is.”

But I’m afraid I’m not always as accepting of my husband’s quirks as Honey is of Chico’s.

Which is sad. Because it’s the irritating, amusing, and just plain odd things about my husband that make him a wonderful partner and enjoyable friend. And I’d never want to live without the quirks if it meant I didn’t get to spend my life with my best friend.

So I’ll take another lesson from Honey (minus the discreet butt sniff):

Accept others for who they are. If it’s good enough for dogs, it’s good enough for me.



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  1. A simple lesson, but the hardest one to put into action. There are so many of us who could obtain immeasurable peace from accepting our loved ones ‘as they are’. The loving way you describe your husband tells me you must be pretty good at acceptance :) A wonderful and thought-provoking read, thank you.

  2. Sue at The Golden Life says:

    In order to accept others as they are, we must first accept ourselves. And because we have the capacity to analyze ourselves and others — rightly or wrongly — it is sometimes difficult for us humans to just accept each other’s quirks. Oh, to be a dog sometimes! My hubby’s quirks drive me nuts, too, but like you, I wouldn’t trade them for anyone else’s quirks. No matter how many arguments we may have, the fact remains that we are each other’s best friend. When I was a teenager, I once asked my Mom why one of my aunts and uncles argued so much (my Dad’s older sister and her hubby). Mom said “because they care enough to get their disagreements out in the open and resolved.” I thought for a moment and then said “but you and Dad don’t argue that much.” Mom smiled and said “oh yes we do, we just don’t do it in front of you and your brother. We agreed a long time ago, before your brother was born, that we would keep our disagreements between us.” Before Sam & I got married, we made the same agreement as my parents had made nearly 50 years earlier.

  3. We can’t be what we are not and we certainly never have or never will try to be anything but honest to ourselves. Wise words as if it is good enough for dogs it is good enough for us. Have a marvellous Monday.
    Best wishes Molly

  4. Great post, and the best advice. We need that for all the people in our lives.

  5. I hear you! How true.

  6. I think there is some truth to the adage that women marry men hoping to change them and men marry women hoping they will never change. And both are disappointed.

  7. “And I’d never want to live without the quirks if it meant I didn’t get to spend my life with my best friend.” That is just lovely!

  8. It does indeed make things easier for ourselves if we can just accept people for who they are. But, darn it, some people make it so difficult! I’m kidding, but I’m not. We can learn a lot from our dogs. Accept people for who they are and find joy in the simplest things.

  9. If only humans could learn to be as accepting of themselves and as tolerant of others as our dogs…Giz was so ugly as a puppy (scrawny, hairless and ugly like only a doting pet mom could love) yet he never spent a moment worrying about his looks and greeted the world with total confidence…Wouldn’t that be wonderful?

  10. What a great lesson! Happy Monday – we’ve nominated you for a Versatile Blogger Award!

  11. Thank you for learning so much from Honey, and then sharing it with us. After 24 years of marriage myself, it’s a good lesson for me to learn too. :)

  12. A nice post. If we can learn from our dogs, the world would be a lot better. Dogs forgive. Dogs live in the moment. Dogs are loyal. Dogs love you for everything you are and everything you are not.
    I’m going to get BJ and hug him. I will also let him sniff all he wants on our walks.

  13. What a perfect post and such excellent advice. Love them with all of their quirks – it’s what makes them who they are!! ♥

  14. Another post full of wisdom – what we come to expect from you – or at least I do. A bit more serious than the sex column of last week, but just as informative!

  15. So very very true!

  16. Lovely post and yet another brilliant example of how much we could learn from dogs if we only paid attention.

  17. Oh, I dunno, sounds like you’re on the right path to me. :-)

  18. I need to work on learning from Honey on this one too!