When the vet lifted the restriction on Ginny playing, I sighed with relief. It was hard to keep her from jumping on Honey. And I knew I was expecting a lot from Honey to expect her not to play back when Ginny pulled on her tail or nipped at her ankles.
Luckily, Honey knows how to make allowances for others. So their play sessions are vigorous enough to help Ginny strengthen her injured leg while not overdoing it.
If only we humans could do as well.
People Forget to Make Allowances
I lurk on a list serve of animal lovers.
Everyone who participates dedicates themselves to giving homeless dogs and cats the best second chance in life. They’re incredibly compassionate people. Except when they’re dealing with each other.
It could be worse. They’re not terribly nasty or hurling curses and death threats at each other. In the online world, this list serve is quite civil.
But it’s obvious that its members don’t make the same allowances for other people that they do for the animals they care for.
I try to imagine the same people who criticize the actions of other list serve members coming upon a dog who had an accident on the floor and chewed up his bed. I don’t think they’d say in a harsh tone, “What were you thinking? Don’t you know you’re not supposed to poop on the floor or chew up your bed? I’m going to talk to someone about this to make sure it never happens again.”
No, I bet they’d make allowances for the dog being in a stressful situation, clean up the mess, and look for solutions that will improve things in the future.
I wonder how much more we could do if we addressed human failings (or what we think are human failings) the same way?
What would change if we humans could make allowances for others as well as Honey does for her injured foster sister?
Honey Makes Allowances in Play
I have some video footage of Honey and Ginny wrestling. I hope I can get past some technical incompatibilities to show it sometime. It’s adorable.
Ginny usually starts by walking under Honey and staging an attack from below. Honey replies by “booping” Ginny’s shoulder. Then Honey lies down on the ground so she’s the same height as Ginny. She allows Ginny to climb all over her while responding with gentle mouthing.
It looks nothing like when Honey plays with her friend Mr. Handsome—fast chases, daring leaps, and rough wrestling all over the ground.
Honey makes allowances for Ginny’s smaller size and weakened hind leg. I have no doubt that if they met six months from now, when Ginny has regained all the strength in her back leg, that their play style would be more aggressive. But not crazy-like. Because Ginny will still be a fraction of Honey’s size.
Honey intuitively understands Ginny’s vulnerabilities. And she’ll always make allowances for them.
Make Allowances for People’s Vulnerabilities
The animal lovers on the list serve are vulnerable. Why? Because they have tender, compassionate hearts.
The same openness that calls them to volunteer and work with homeless animals makes them vulnerable to bruising by an unkind word, although it’s offered with the best intentions. And even when it’s not laced with swearing and the bad behavior we see elsewhere online.
You know it’s true. What happens with someone criticizes a jerk? The selfish jerk assumes everyone else is in the wrong. But the tender-hearted person always looks inside and wonders if the criticism is right and what they need to be an even better helper in the future.
I never make as many allowances for other people as I do for animals. But I resolve to do better, looking to Honey as my example. After all, if it’s good for the dog, it’s probably good for me too.
Your Turn: Am I right? Do animal lovers make more allowances for critters than we do for people? Or am I just not making enough allowances for them myself?