Wednesday, September 17, 2014
My Thick Skin
When we first brought Barry home I had the hardest time understanding why some people would react in certain ways toward Barry (jump into the road away from us, turn the other direction, cross the street, eyes wide, etc.). It would make me so mad. I'd give those people the look. On the other hand I was also quite shocked at how many more people stopped us to pet Barry or to ask about him.
All of those things still happen. I just don't care anymore. I revel in the ones that want to pet Barry or comment about how pretty, or cute, or gorgeous, or awesome he is. The rest don't deserve to be in Barry's presence.
I also take it differently now when someone asks if he's friendly, or if he bites. I used to be offended by that thinking, Well, just LOOK at him! Of course he's friendly! Now, I get it. They mean no harm or offense. They are simply asking a basic question. Not all dogs should be approached. The ones that actually ask that question want to pet Barry but they are being polite, in a way, by asking before petting. Now, in Barry's case, anyone can come right up to him and start loving on him. He doesn't mind and he'll probably lick your face, and hands, and feet, and search your purse or bag for treats.
We still have the issue with Barry not understanding personal space. We are working with Barry to not jump up on us or others. He doesn't do it as much as he used to. He still does it, though. The absolute worst is when someone has their small dog tucked under their arm or the person walking their small dog quickly picks up their dog when we come near. Barry finds this irresistible! I'm not exactly sure what he's thinking but I'll bet he wants the dog to come down and play. He jumps up at the dog (and the person since the person is holding the dog) and oh boy. Typically the situation is easily controlled. The times that it's not are the worst. For example, Barry and I were coming back to our condo building from a walk. I like to go in through the back of the building out of convenience. As I was just about to open the back door I dropped my keys. I had to lean down to get the keys while holding Barry's leash. As I was grabbing my keys the door swung open (not hitting me or anything, it's a very heavy door) and a dog popped out. The small dog was on a flexi-leash and ran right up to Barry. I did not have Barry sitting in that moment because it all happened so fast. I was expecting to just walk right in with Barry. Barry sticks his huge head under the dog's belly for a meet and greet (the dog is only slightly bigger than Barry's head) and the guy still holding the door to let us in decides he needs to grab his dog since the leashes were about to get tangled. I grabbed the door to go in, tug on the leash at Barry a bit to move away and the guy picks his dog up. I had to maneuver around the guy with the dog and Barry immediately jumps up at the dog about two times. Ugh... I apologized to the guy but he was clearly not okay with Barry jumping at his dog, and I get it. The whole scene took place in a matter of 10-15 seconds.
I look back and I just don't think I could have done anything differently. The small confined space, the quick encounter. Shit just happens. That's right. I said it. It's the truth. Anyone who has been on this earth long enough knows it's true. The word perfection is meant for the description of food, art, a sunset, a movie ending, but not a dog. Barry will never be perfect. I don't care. I don't expect him to be perfect either. I've said it before; I'm not perfect myself so I cannot ask Barry to be perfect either. These instances that happen can be considered learning experiences, sure, but mostly it's just helping me to see that not everything is perfect. I have to move on from it and not let it get to me like it used to. I'm appreciating the thick skin that has come over these months. I imagine I'll need it when shit happens.