When the dogs first came up to me I froze. I was scared and I didn’t know what they wanted or why they were surrounding me.
I did, however, know what I wanted. I wanted the dogs to leave. I wanted to go home. I wanted to cry.
You could say I’m a simple kind of gal.
And then the mean dog took his first bite.
My immediate reaction?
I asked the dog a question.
“WHY are you biting me????”
I did not yell at him. I did not get mad at him. No, that would be rude of me!
Instead, I wanted to know what was going on his head, what was the source of all this pent up aggression, what were his outside behaviors trying to tell me about his inner being. “Tell me about your mother,” kind of crap.
Are you effing serious, Marie?
My unnecessary concern about the mean dog’s emotional state left me unable to properly do anything about my own needs: the dogs leaving, me getting home, and crying.
As I backed away from the dogs I wondered out loud, “Why are you so mad at me? Please leave me alone, please?”
More questions!!! What the hell was wrong with me?
Why wasn’t I even a leetle bit angry that these dogs were being blatant boundary breakers??? How could I not see that maybe, just maybe, this was one of those times where sticking up for myself in a significant manner would not be misconstrued as me being ‘mean’, ‘pushy’, ‘insensitive’, or ‘selfish’? That this was one of those times where I had to put myself first!
Instead, I immediately start cowering, hoping the dog would realize I wasn’t going to harm him, come to his senses, and maybe he’d send flowers saying sorry.
But the dog didn’t care about me! The dog only cared about him, and for whatever reason he wanted to bite me. And until I gave him a reason not to bite me he was going to continue to do so.
And to be honest, who could really blame him? Unless the dog read minds, or had a therapist’s ‘third ear’, it would be really hard to tell that I wanted the dogs gone. All my questions would lead any rational mammal to believe I wanted to sit down and talk!
Then Mark comes out and simply demands what he wants. He wants the dogs gone, and he says as much. And wouldn’t you know it, the dogs left! They didn’t argue, they didn’t bite him. They saw that their needs (to be mean, viscious four legged animals) did not jive with Mark’s stated needs (“Git out of here NOW!”), and they ran away. Simple. as. that.
It sounds so harsh to my ears and to my heart, but people, like the dogs, aren’t always concerned about what’s best for the people around them. Lots of the time, people are concerned about what makes them happy, and are not taking your feelings and needs into consideration, especially when you are not expressing your needs. And this is a good thing, it’s a good way to exist. I’ve always thought that the passage in the Bible that talks about pulling the log out of your own eye before you worry about the speck in your brother’s had more meanings than simply “don’t be judgmental”. Divine permission to take care of your needs first on the road to caring for others. Divine commandment to be responsible for yourself.
Other than a crash course on how to properly clean and dress wounds, the biggest lesson I’ve taken away from this experience is that it is good, healthy, appropriate, and God-approved to make my needs known and act responsibly towards getting them met.
And we now conclude the week long special of “When Dogs Attack: How to squeeze five days of blog fodder out of a two-minute long experience”.