Monday, January 31, 2011

Loving the Hard to Love

Here's Foster rolling in the sand at Sunset Beach.

When we go to the dog beach, Foster either sniffs around or considers bullying another dog. Other dogs pretty much don't know what to do about him except leave him alone.

Last week, I was in two places that involved groups of more than ten other people. In each place, a person acted a bit peculiar. The one person simply wouldn't stop talking and it was driving me crazy. I noticed how I stared at the ground, not making eye contact, and looking at the time, etc. Basically, I was giving this person the social cues that they were not fitting in. I glanced up and others were doing the same thing. Nonverbally, we were sending her the "we don't like this" message.

Later however, it became clear that this person is involved in some pretty painful stuff and she needs the group. She needs to be accepted. She needs love. And there I was, not allowing for any of it. I felt terrible.

Lately, Tilly sticks closer to Foster, trying to draw him out to play and have fun. With his diminishing eyesight, she has her work cut out. Foster needs her, even if he's reluctant and his behavior isn't accepted by other dogs.

Sometimes reaching out to the socially awkward requires "manual overdrive." Yet, the attempts to do so is a gift we can give to another. Giving doesn't cost us anything except convenience.