This morning I went for a walk, early enough so I thought I’d not share trails with other people/dogs. I have two small dogs; one is shy the other is friendly, maybe too friendly because he just walks on up to strangers and completely ignores me calling to him, which then irritates me. I get nervous walking on trails because, technically, we are supposed to have our dogs on leashes but almost no one does (unless they know their dog is uncontrollable and not friendly) so I will keep one on and one off and alternate depending on how well they behave and stay with me. I had let them both off near the end of the hike (I put them both on before I get to traffic or parking lots) and was approaching where I’d normally hook them up when I hear a voice up ahead and dogs start barking. It was a man with two bigger dogs, both on leashes, and he was pulling them off-trail trying to keep them controlled. Well, INTERNALLY I said, “FUCK” and my heart beats a little faster because I ASSUME I know what’s coming: he’s going to be angry because my dogs aren’t leashed and let me have it, launch into a lecture and I’m going to feel embarrassed and cover it with anger then feel frustrated just because. Anyway, my stupid male just keeps on walking up to the group whereas my female is staying close. I reach down and hook her all the while calling to him – but he isn’t listening. The other dogs are going nuts growling and foaming at the mouth and my nitwit just keeps on approaching with tail wagging and a big grin on his face, the idiot. I finally get close enough to bend down and grab him by the harness (not collar) and “toss” him (as much as I can for 20lbs and I can barely move out of a bent-down-hunch) further down the trail (past the commotion). That’s when the guy yells at me to treat my dog better and that (the situation) is my fault not the dogs. All the while I’m saying, “just calm down, calm down” (that’s progress for me, I’ve been growing a set in the last few years).
I continued down the path but after a few yards I stop because in my head I’ve quickly calculated the whole scenario:
I don’t have my dogs on leash as I should so I feel frantic. ~ His dogs are on leash, so I feel he’s justified and I’m guilty. ~ My dog doesn’t obey and that frustrates me. ~ He yells at me (even if he is ‘right’) and that pisses me off so I counter but more ‘nicely’. ~ I’m feeling all that partly because the situation as I’ve outlined but also partly because of my history and our current climate of anger and intolerance.
I’ve been ‘working on’ being a better person, elevating my thoughts and intentions. What transpired was because my dogs were not on leashes AND I get flustered in these types of situations (in the woods, alone, other people, other dogs).
I turned around thinking he’d be out of sight but he was at the same place, I think praising and treating his dogs. I called out:
Hey! … he ignores me.
Hey! … again, nothing.
Hello!! … He looks at me.
I want to say something to you. … He’s still looking.
Are you listening? …. ‘I’m listening,’ he said.
I want to tell you that I appreciate what you said and I’ll do better in the future.
… ‘okay,’ he said.
I was bothered by the whole thing the rest of the way to the car, in the car on the way home unable to focus on my podcast, in the shower. I finally decided I’d try to write it out of my system. I obsess (internally) about events such as this; uncomfortable situations where even I recognize that I am partially to blame but I certainly do not deserve nor do I easily tolerate other people over-stepping boundaries. I wish I had thought to say something like, you know, you could work on your delivery; we ALL can do better. But, I DID better and that was good for me and I hope good for him too.
Daily Prompt: frantic