You meant cats, right Pam? It’s cats who are independent and aloof. It’s cats that hurt our feelings.
Nope, I suspect dogs hurt our feelings more often.
We Expect The World From Dogs
Every week I read another story about a loving dog.
One rescues his family from a house on fire. Another follows a child who wanders into the desert and keeps him safe overnight. A third refuses to leave the coffin of her beloved person.
Dogs get a lot of press for being loving, faithful, and loyal to their people.
But sometimes our dogs are just stinkers. And when they are, they can hurt our feelings.
I’ve seen it happen a few times.
Dogs Hurt Our Feelings #1
When I was living with my first two dogs, Agatha and Christie, my sister was dating a really great guy. We liked him from the first time we met him.
And by we, I mean all the humans.
Agatha and Christie? Not so much.
In fact, every time he came to the house they would bark.
No, not just when he came to the door. But when he came inside. And every time he moved. Until finally he and my sister left together.
It really hurt his feelings that these two dogs just didn’t like him one bit.
So you can imagine how overjoyed he felt the day Agatha and Christie stopped barking quickly and went to nuzzle him. He took advantage of the quiet to pet them under the chin and enjoyed the attention.
It was only later that he realized he had the remains of a salami sandwich in his coat pocket. And it was the smell of lunch that won Agatha and Christie over, not his personal charm and friendly intentions.
Luckily, my sister’s boyfriend didn’t hold Agatha and Christie’s behavior against all dogs. Because my sister married him and now he’s Honey’s “Uncle Bob.”
Dogs Hurt Our Feelings #2
Those of you who have been reading Something Wagging from the beginning know how seriously I take Honey’s training, starting with the first day she came home with us as a puppy.
I took a lot of pride in how quickly she became house trained, her ability to walk nicely by my side, and her excellent recall. At least I did feel proud—until the day Honey humiliated me.
Honey and I were waiting on the front porch for the arrival of our trainer, Russ. I had a pocket full of treats and rewarded Honey for sitting nicely by my side.
Russ pulled up in his truck across the street and Honey started to get excited. Her butt started wiggling. And I increased the frequency of my treats. Until Honey bolted.
She ran off the porch and out into the street to greet Russ while I called hopelessly after her.
It was a major training fail.
And on this light traffic day, I was very thankful that the only thing hurt was my pride.
Dogs Hurt Our Feelings #3
Honey gets a lot of attention when we travel with her.
Someone always wants to say hello or give her a quick cuddle.
On the waterfront deck of a restaurant, it was a waitress. As soon as she saw Honey, she came rushing over to meet her.
The waitress started by petting Honey’s chest and then she cupped Honey’s head in her hands, bent her face close, and said “Give me a kiss.”
Honey does not give “kisses.” She didn’t when she was a puppy. She doesn’t do it now.
Perhaps if you smeared your face with peanut butter she might give a few half-hearted licks. But it’s just not her style.
Honey was obviously uncomfortable.
You’ll be glad to know I didn’t let this go on too long. But the waitress looked like her world had ended. Just because Honey refused to lick her face.
Yes, even our sweet girl Honey, who loves everyone, can hurt the feelings of a stranger.
I’m Glad Dogs Hurt Our Feelings
Of course I’m a sucker for a faithful dog story. But I also love it when our dogs hurt our feelings.
Because it shows that they’re also self-serving and independent creatures who do what they want. Just like humans do.
I love having a dog who loves to be with me and who is eager to please. But wouldn’t it be boring if Honey always acted like Lassie?
It’s the quirky and just plain obnoxious things our dogs do that endear them to us as much as the wonderful things they do.
I have a pet theory about successful, romantic relationships. We don’t form successful partnerships with people because of their good traits. After all, everyone likes someone with a good sense of humor or a kind heart.
No, we partner with people whose faults we can tolerate better than other people can. And who tolerate—or even learn to love—our faults as well.
Maybe it’s the same with dogs. The universe matches us with the dog whose quirks we can indulge, maybe even love.
Even if it means that sometimes they hurt our feelings.
Your Turn: Do your dogs ever hurt your feelings?