I have conversations with my dog. Others in my family talk with our dog, too. My daughter says our dog is the heart of the family… sort of a (family) community connector!
I’m not sure what talking to your dog says about one’s state-of-mind. Maybe having a “conversation” with your dog is something done by all people who live with a dog?
My dog’s name is Snowy. He was named after Snowy, the dog, in The Adventures of Tintin books. And like Tintin’s Snowy, he’s a friend I can count on. Here’s Snowy, in relax mode:
My dog, the communicator
Why do I talk with my dog? Here’s a few observations I believe help explain why:
- He in tune with how I’m feeling; am I in a playful mood, a scolding mood or do I just want a sounding board at the end of a worrisome day. He is tolerant of all my moods!
- He is appreciative; he welcomes my return to the house with spontaneous joy. Does he know that appreciation is a human’s greatest psychological need?
- He is curious; he listens to understand if he’s not sure about what I’m saying, he’ll cock his head, trying to understand. I feel like I’m being listened to.
- He puts me at-ease; the combination of touch and talk with Snowy seems to have a calming effect on me, not to mention that taking him for walks has other benefits; when we are at ease, things flow better (which helps explain the many roles of dogs, e.g., dogs who listen to (facilitate) kids reading, or dogs in therapy roles)
- He lets me know how he is feeling; time for a walk? a dog bisket? a cuddle? (he’s a small dog). Its always good to let others know about your needs.
- He lives in the present; a reminder that each day, each moment, is new and to be respected.
- Above all, he is, without judgement.
Being without judgement
I like being around people who share Snowy’s attributes; non-judgemental, awareness, appreciative, curious and I expect you do, too.
We can be quick to judge. We’re wired to judge. Just a quick look and we size up other people – friend, foe, neutral – what’s their value to us, we’re asking. And what’s more, we’re quick to blame, to lay a judgement on.
Judgement blocks compassion and empathy. It kills silence, creative thinking and what can be.
On the other hand when we keep judgement at bay, are mindful, check out assumptions, appreciate our diversity, and respond appropriately to what’s in front of us, we are on the right track.
As mediators and facilitators we need to be reminded that it’s not so much differences that divide people, it’s their judgements that do. By promoting curiosity and good listening we can bring people back together.
Snowy is one of my best reminders.
What have your pets taught you? Who reminds you to let go of judgement?