When Honey wants a snack, she drools on my leg. When she needs to go outside, she stares directly into my eyes. When she’s tired and wants to go to bed, she barks.
Despite being a dog who doesn’t speak a word of English, Honey tells me exactly what she wants and needs, without hesitating or apologizing.
She’s good at speaking up for herself.
Do you know any women who need to learn that lesson from their dogs?
The Selfless Women Hall Of Fame
Most women I know are so unlikely to ask for what they need you’d think they were competing for a spot in the Selfless Women Hall of Fame. And no, it doesn’t exist. So just stop it.
I can think of dozens of example where I or the women I know have failed to speak up when we’ve needed help.
There’s my sister, who earned the nickname “One Trip Mel” for her amazing ability to carry dozens of heavy items while opening doors with her nose just so she didn’t have to ask for help.
And I worked in a company where the man whose department was doing less work than ever kept asking to hire help while the woman whose department was setting records for new business just figured out how to manage with her same meager staff.
Sometimes failing to ask for something we need doesn’t even make sense. Like in my case, where I feel terrible asking to get dinner out instead of cooking even though eating out is my husband’s favorite thing in the whole world. Well, second favorite thing.
Why would I hesitate to ask for something I need that would make my husband ecstatic?
Do We Hate Our Dogs For Being Demanding
Sure, sometimes we want our dogs to run away on a grand adventure so we can get a few minute’s peace. But for the most part, we don’t hate our dogs for being demanding.
In fact, we usually find it cute.
Don’t you love it when your dog brings you his favorite ball (at least the first 100 times)? When she rolls on her back and gives you that look you recognize as saying “rub my belly, now!” And when they start wrestling on the couch while you’re working to signal that they are definitely ready to go outside to play?
In truth, I think most of us feel relief that our dogs communicate their needs so clearly.
I’m sure I’m not the only one who worries like a crazy person when Honey is lethargic and she won’t tell me what’s going on.
When Honey tells me what she wants, I know she’s healthy. And I know how to keep her happy because she’s telling me.
And that’s a wonderful gift our dogs give us.
Maybe it’s time we share the same gift with people who love us.
Ask For What You Need
There is nothing more frustrating than caring for someone you know needs something but they can’t articulate it.
Okay, someone in a coma or who has laryngitis or who is mired in a dark and hopeless depression has an excuse.
But what about the rest of us?
Don’t you want the people who care for you to have the gift of knowing what you need? And wouldn’t you like them to give you the same gift in return?
Let’s give it a try. Let’s all try to channel our dogs. Let’s pick one thing that we need and ask someone else to help us with it. Just like our dogs would.
And men, all six of you who read Something Wagging, this goes for you too. Because although you may not get the same cultural messages telling you to be selfless, I know you are told to be silent and strong without relying on anyone else. You need to channel your dogs too.
So the next time your dog brings you his favorite tug toy or stares determinedly at the cupboard where you keep the cookies, take it as permission to ask for things yourself. And know that you’re as cute as a Pomeranian when you’re doing it.
Your Turn: Do you find it hard to ask others for things you need? How do you think your life would be different if you were as willing to ask for things as your dog?
We’re Looking For Pictures Of You And Your Dog
At the end of the month, I’m running a little experiment to see if strangers can match you with your dog based on pictures. Want to join the fun?
Send your pictures in.
Click on the image to get the full story. And I can’t wait to see your pictures in my inbox.