This is part of our Saturday Editorial Series. Normally, we let our dogs do all the talking on our daily dog blog. Join rescue dogs Peanut Butter Brickle and Digby Pancake every weekday at 2TravelingDogs.com and a million social media fans on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
Camping full time gives you perspective. Simplicity has a way of doing that. Rescuing dogs also has a way of giving you perspective. Anything that we do in our lives which takes effort may give us great rewards…or it may not. But it certainly will make us better people in the process. Our dogs absolutely do that.
Camping in places which put us close to others proves to be a challenge for our family sometimes. Brickle is very protective of our campsite. Where we park is home, whether that’s in Florida or in Texas. Whether it’s a backroad location or an RV resort, well, if there is a picnic table or a tree for his leash, that’s his spot.
So when others approach our campsite quickly, too close or rudely walk thru it, he barks. He growls. He is downright frightening. If other dogs walk by, well, with Digby and Brickle both, it’s a roll of the dice. Will they bark? Will they ignore them? Will they try to play? I. Just. Don’t. Know. And that’s that.
When we first started camping, I was stressed about all of this, because I simply was inexperienced on traveling with dogs and the challenges. But now I know how to deal with the challenges. And it goes the same way on anything I have had to work with my dogs on. You learn, you adapt. I love them. I know them more than probably any family member. But others do not. And I often get irritated or hurt at how they react to my dogs. I really do.
When Brickle barks, I am fairly confident he won’t act out physically. When I say “fairly”, I know he is a dog. It’s my job to protect him from himself sometimes in our environment…which we put him in. But others don’t know his personality. And so when they act shocked or scared, it hurts me. For them to think he is mean, I just can’t take it!
When Digby howls…and he has scared old men into throwing their walking canes in the air, they have become upset. And yet, they don’t know he is scared of hats. And canes. And people that walk slow. They might not appreciate the howl.
So how do others see my dogs? Definitely not the way I do. And how do we react to others and their dogs? Do we realize dogs have bad days like us? Do we realize that every dog has a story, has triggers and has people that love them? Do we realize the people trying to help and love them have their own challenges? Or do we just judge automatically? I’ve done it. I’m trying not to do that.
I used to care so much about how others saw my dogs because I’ve always been concerned if others liked me. But what happens when you care too much? You try to please too much. Sorry, campers. Brickle is going to bark at you from afar because he loves to be outside. I’m not putting him in. Sorry everyone who wears a hat. Digby will be walked and that’s just that.
No one is going to see your dog the way that you do. Because no one loves your dog the way that you do. Don’t be hurt when others judge your dog. Don’t take it personal. Just don’t take it at all. If you choose to explain and you feel it’s worth your energy, do that. But don’t expect to change the world. Just change the world for your dog. And tell your dog your relationship is special. Because it is.