Thursday, March 18, 2010

No mean people allowed (or, a Dog Meeting for Olivia, Rose, Maxine and Elijah)

Here is one of my favorite photos of our Meg, which we call "Sitting Meg", because she actually does sit this way. Tonight is about dogs, and about being polite and about kindness. As I may have mentioned, Ms. Moon is a frequent source of inspiration at Eat Here. So is Gatorbone Studios, so is Blogging is for Dorks...don't get me started on Your Aunt Becky. So are you ALL, every single one of you, dear readers. You are, as Aunt Becky points out, a community I've come to value, respect, share inspiration with and treasure FAR more than I have words to tell you. But tonight I have to talk to four BIG small people, and you can read along if you like. The people are Elijah, Maxine Jane, Olivia and Rose and they had a generally BAD day recently. This post is to try and make up for part of it in a tiny way.

So Rose, Olivia, Elijah, Max: you saw a lady walking with 2 big dogs and you guys wanted to meet them. And this lady not only did not stop and let you meet her dogs, but continued along without even exchanging a smile or a wave. Well, please meet Meg, who is happy to meet you. The lady might have had a reason for walking on, maybe a good reason: her dogs might be learning to be helping dogs, or learning to walk on leashes, or learning to be nice to kids. She might have needed to keep them in forward motion, for some reason. But she could have smiled and called out to you: "Hi! Sorry, in training, hope to meet you again when the dogs can visit..." It would have been easy to shout as she approached, and could have trailed it over her shoulder. As someone who believes in rescuing animals and serves as a foster parent for Boxers in trouble this makes me crazy. One day, I hope one of you will save the life of a dog (or a cat or bird, or maybe even a person) and I believe we can learn ALOT about being good, kind people by doing this.

Back to meeting Meg: If I'd been the lady walking past you with Meg, I know Meg would have ducked and pulled away and tried to hide from you because she is desparately afraid of strangers. Something happened to her as a puppy - we don't know what - and it makes her very shy. I would have stopped and held her leash, with her struggling to run away, and explained it to you quickly; it's part of my job to help Meg learn that she doesn't have to be scared of everyone. And it would have been generous of you to help me teach her that lesson. I would have told you she is a Boxer, she only knows one trick and it's really, really dumb and you would have laughed. (Her trick is that she can hop up and stand on narrow things like balance beams. She is VERY proud of this accomplishment, and puts her nubby tail high in the air and waits to be admired. Well, I told you it was dumb.) This is what she looks like close up, and you can see that she has a very silly face, which we laugh about all the time. And if you came to our house, and she got used to you for half an hour or so, she would sit in your laps and lick your faces and wiggle her little tail, and you would all love each other.

Here is Calvin. You can't tell from his photo, but he is a FAT Boxer. He has a trick of losing 20 pounds in every photo (I have no idea how he does it) but you'd laugh at the way he kind of waddles, and his stubby tail is actually kind of fat, and he has a big smiley dog face. If I walked him past you, he would stop and visit with you, lick your faces and fingers, ask you in dog language if you didn't have something nice to eat. You would ask me how he got the big scars on his back. I would tell you that the rescue group I work with thinks, sadly, that he might have been used as a fighting dog, but that he's been rescued from that and will have a happy, safe life, finishing up everyone else's food forever. We'd have stopped to chat about it, though. Calvin is too friendly to let me just pass by without a word. "Look!" he would have said to me in the unspoken language animals use if you listen closely enough. Not barking or making any sound at all, but easy to understand if you pay attention. "Look! Kids! I LOVE kids! We have to stop!" We would have stopped and you would all have gotten Boxer kisses from top to toe.

And our oldest dog is Tyson (also called Ty For Short) who is now about 10 and has been with us since she was 5. If we'd passed you on the street, she would have wiggled SO HARD all over her body that you would all have fallen down from laughing so hard. She is so happy to see everyone, especially kids who are happy to see her. In this picture she's snuggled up to take a nap with Rodney but she loves to go for a walk and she loves to meet new people. She's not so great at walking on a leash because she gets so excited about seeing people and smelling smells and walking and butterflies and birds...well, you know the feeling. But Ty would have learned from you, you would have learned from her, and the kindness we all showed each other would have helped us all grow. So we would all have been happy to meet you, grateful for your attention, and glad to answer questions. And I'm really sorry the dog person you saw today didn't do those things.

I hope you all keep learning from your parents and each other, because it seems to me that you all have kindness at your hearts. This doesn't mean you're not REALLY mean to each other sometimes, because that happens to all of us. But it does mean you know how to be kind, how to be polite and certainly in Rose's case, how to use your sense of humor to keep your balance. Finally, here's a picture of a hat your mom made, with Rodney in Boxer costume and Meg keeping him honest. I included it because it's a picture of senses of humor in action: your mom, who good-naturedly made it, and Rodney who is actually brave and funny enough to wear it out in public, and friends like Debra, who are good enough to notice it and comment on my blog.

I hope you guys liked meeting the dogs. They send lots of love, and dearly hope to meet you, walking down the street one day, with a chance to say hello, wiggle their Boxer bodies, maybe give some kisses, and almost certainly learn a tiny, precious lesson about being kind. Thank you, Rose, Olivia, Maxine Jane and Elijah, for being kind enough to forgive or overlook the unkind people who crossed your path. Thank you, Blogging is for Dorks, for sharing. Tiny, precious lessons. What a gift.

Eat Here credits: Ultra Cute Crochet by Erin
Photos by Angie, except
Sitting Meg (c) Rodney Christensen, 2009


  1. Awww! I can't wait to show them this post tomorrow. (They're in bed right now)

    Ironically enough a lady walking her dalmation stopped and let the kids play with it for a minute today. She was very nice and the kids were very excited.

    I'm not an animal person so of course all of my children love animals...I get a lot of requests for a 'puppy'. Olivia told us the only thing she wanted for Christmas was one. We got her several stuffed and mechanical ones instead.

  2. I think this is my favorite Eat Here post so far. But you know, I do love boxers. Well, as much as I can love a dog.

  3. Those are all good looking woofs, even if one of them somehow has hidden 20 pounds :-) Yes, I said good looking, so please pass that along to Meg :-)

  4. Erin - Thanks; I hope they enjoy it. I'm so glad to know another dog person redeemed the behavior of the rude lady. It was so fun to me, putting the dogs pictures and personalities in print, and then setting that off against a Boxer hat you made for Rodney.

    Ms. Moon - I know you're a Boxer lover; your Pearl is an inspiration; as I recall she is nearly 15 now, an almost-unheard-of age for a Boxer. Thank you for your kindness.

    Suldog - I am giving Meg a little belly rub and some ear scratches from you, and telling her how beautiful she is. If I learn how it is that Calvin manages to hide the 20 pounds, believe me, I'll share the news with the world.
    Love to you all.

  5. Good-looking dogs, although I would be scared to approach them. It doesn't have to do with them being Boxers. Any big dog (even Labs) frightens me from the time when I was bit by the neighbor's German Shepherd. But I had dogs as a kid: a border collie and one I'm not quite sure of the breed.

  6. Michelle, this seems like a familiar story to me...people who had some bad childhood experience of dogs find that it stays with them forever. And we've had Boxers who needed some work, mostly because they're adopted or purchased by families who aren't prepared to deal with their energy level (which is pretty high especially when they're young). But the three you see here are the biggest babies in the world. Especially the one wearing the hat... :)


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