Some dogs understand when you’re not feeling well. They lie down by your side and relax.
Honey is not one of those dogs.
If she doesn’t get her morning walk, she gets pissy. She won’t settle down. She barks for seemingly no reason.
In other words, sometimes dogs are jerks. Honey is no better or worse than I am.
A Jerk is Not the Worst Thing to Be
Yep, I’ve been a jerk too.
I’ve blamed other people for things that were my fault. I’ve failed to answer phone calls and emails. And I’ve forgotten more birthdays than I’ve remembered (Honey’s was yesterday and it completely slipped my mind until I got an email from her breeder).
Sometimes being a jerk is entirely appropriate. Like when a parent dropping her kid off at the downtown school pulls out blindly into the traffic lane right in front of my bike. Or when a rude person takes no responsibility for his off-leash dog acting obnoxious.
And sometimes being a jerk is just a side effect of being human (or canine).
Forgive the Jerks
Honey is such a wonderful dog.
She never complains about the string of foster dogs that come into our house just long enough to steal her toys and slow down her walks. She’s a great traveling companion. And she never snatches food off the counters.
I think she’s earned the right to be irritating sometimes. Like we all have.
I forgive Honey for being a jerk. Like I am working to be more forgiving of the human jerks around me. After all, we all make mistakes, get tired, or just lose our brains.
But I struggle with forgiving myself for being a jerk.
I’ve allowed friendships to whither because I felt ashamed for not responding to an email or some other jerky behavior I’m prone to. And then I felt even worse that my shame over being a jerk made the other person think I was even more of a jerk, compounding my bad feelings and ensuring I’d never repair that friendship.
Maybe it’s time to accept jerkdom–both others and my own.
Sometimes Dogs are Jerks
One of the things I love most about dogs is how similar they are to humans. They can be noble and self-sacrificing. But they are also opportunistic and self-serving. They, like humans, are amazingly complex, with desires, needs, and cares of their own.
This complexity means that sometimes dogs are jerks. Sometimes humans are too. And it’s just something we need to accept, work around, and forgive. Because it’s not going to change any time soon.
Your Turn: Do you agree that dogs sometimes act like jerks? Or do you think dogs behave better than humans? And who do you find it easier to forgive for being a jerk: dogs, other humans, or yourself?