Saturday, August 13, 2011

Dogs and Disabilities

I've been so busy barking at the dog across the street I've forgotten to tell you about an experience I had the other day. There is a small park across the street from my office. On short breaks the human will run me across the street so I can sniff, meet the public, and do some other business in the bushes.

The other week I met a dog that was busy hiding between her human's legs. I barely noticed her poking her nose out from under the human's skirt! The human was a little wary. This small auburn colored curly haired dog looked a little scared and had it's back arched up. I wasn't hesitant at all so despite my human's complaints, I went right up to the dog.

I circled around a few times like any well mannered dog does. We sniffed as we got closer. The dog came out of hiding and we ended up spending a few minutes nose to nose sniffing.

It was at that point, as our noses were touching, that my human started talking to the other dog's human. It turns out my new friend was 16 years old, deaf, and blind.

The human thought it was pretty amazing that my new friend and I knew exactly how to approach either other. He found it particularly interesting that I somehow knew to reign in my usual exuberant greeting for this senior dog. I was slower and more gentle than usual, but I really didn't appear to care that there was something different about this dog.

If only the humans could figure this out so easily. Encounter difference perhaps a little slower, a little gentler, but approach nonetheless, and do so with an open mind, wagging tail, and gentle smile.

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