Sunday, 14 December 2008

Award and Teaching Dogs New Tricks


Many thanks to Debs for this wonderful award – I love the little fellow scribbling away. It reminds me of an Edward Ardizzone picture. But because I'm in a hurry – have to do a job in Bodmin with Himself first thing, please take this, all you bloggers and in particular all us Novel Racers out there, because we are ALL superior scribblers! And won't we show 'em....

Something happened this morning that really made me stop and think. It happened like this. We usually walk Moll on the beach at about 8am most mornings and there is a group of us dog walkers who form a close knit community. We laugh and talk and sometimes walk together, share sorrows, jokes and joys and generally look after each other, if not each other's dogs.

On Friday, one of our lot said that a fellow who walks his two black labradors every morning had lost one of them. He'd died suddenly.

“Oh,” cried Isobel. “I wondered what was the matter – I saw him yesterday and he looked so SAD. But we've all been there – it's such a difficult time.”

This morning we were on the beach – and my God, it was cold. Three degrees, which is COLD for Cornwall. Even the sand was frozen, to say nothing of the tip of my nose.

We were walking, fast, along the beach, when I said, “Look. There's the fellow who's lost his black lab.” We continued walking and I wondered whether to say something. I felt I should, but also felt that Himself would probably say, “No, don't. He's unhappy. Leave him alone.”

So I battled with my thoughts and as we grew nearer, I was astonished when Himself walked up to the fellow and said, “I'm so sorry to hear about your dog.”

He turned to look at us, and his round face was empty with grief. He could hardly speak, but muttered something. And a bit more. Then he started talking, about how the dogs were only 7; brother and sister, and it was such a shock. I looked at his kind face and couldn't speak; tears burnt my eyes.

He looked at me with a glimmer of a smile and said that they'd probably get a puppy in the spring. I patted his arm, and said, “I'm so glad,” in a choked sort of voice, and we talked a bit more and then said goodbye.

As Himself and I walked off, I said, “Well done darling. I didn't think you'd want to say anything.”

“No,” he said firmly. “I think it's important to show that you care. I'd like someone to say something if it was us.”

I nodded in agreement, still stunned. And part of me thought, he wouldn't have said that a few years ago. He would have told me not to interfere. To 'keep our heads down'.

So it just goes to show that you really CAN teach an old dog new tricks.

Pardon the pun.

16 comments:

Debs said...

I agree it's important to show you care, though sometimes it's hard to know quite what to say. Poor man, how dreadful for him.

Lane said...

Poor man. He must have really appreciated that and well done to Himself for speaking. It takes guts.

rosiero said...

Your dog-walking crowd sound just like mine in the park - we all watch out for one another. I expect the man was glad to talk to you about it. My grandmother lost 2 children to pneumonia when they were babies and I always remember her saying that people would sooner cross the road to get away from her than meet her and talk about it. She WANTED to talk about it but other people were embarrassed. So I think you did the best thing, even if it was distressing.

Akelamalu said...

Lots of people don't say anything because they don't know what to say but I think that is more hurtful - like they don't care. Well done to himself for taking the time to care, and say so. :)

ChrisH said...

Well done, that was brave and kind of you.

JJ said...

I'm so glad you did say something; I really do think it's the best thing to do in midst grief.

And I'm very glad to hear that they'll get a puppy in the spring - it really does help. It doesn't ever replace but it does fill the gap a bit.

Vermont Designs said...

He's a good man, my bro. Not to play favorites, they both are in their own way. much love, gulp, SIL.

Pat Posner said...

I know from experience how much it helps (even though it hurts) when someone sympathises.
So, yes, well done to Himself and you.
I hope the black lab who lost a sibling doesn't pine too much; that is so hard to cope with.

Flowerpot said...

Debs - it can be incredibly difficult to know what to say I think.

Lane - that's what I thought.

Rosiero - yes it can be really difficult to know what to say especially when, like me, you cry so easily...

Flowerpot said...

Ak - you're quite right, it is more hurtful to say nothing. Note for future reference to self - never just think - DO...

ChrisH - thanks.

JJ - and I agree about hte puppy. They can never replace but boy can it help ease the grief.

the rotten correspondent said...

Good for him. That wasn't an easy thing to do.

Flowerpot said...

thanks RC - it wasn't was it?

Crystal Jigsaw said...

That was lovely of Himself, I'm sure the man would have appreciated his thoughtfulness. You're right, I would like people to come up to me too.

CJ xx

Flowerpot said...

CJ - yes I'd appreciate it too. Just a little thought can make all the difference.

Mid-lifer said...

Oooh I'm impressed with the live activity feed - I was stunned to see my home town on your blog, then realised it was meeee!

Flowerpot said...

Mid-lifer - It looks good doesnt it? And welcome - good to see yourself so to speak!