I hate the conversations that begin with “Does your dog bite?”
Especially when he/she is holding a squirmy, sticky toddler. There is no good out that I have yet figured. If I say no, she will ask “Can Bitsy pet it?”–it’s always “it” like I’m walking a table.
If I say yes, they draw back in horror, though I am 10 feet away and Zephyr, turned askew, is busy grazing the lawn like a cow. Today I said “No, he doesn’t” and the above question ensued. Except, I smiled and said “No, not right now.” She was upset and pulled back her child. I can’t win.
Here’s the thing: I am not your petting zoo. And I am not going to let your sticky little kid grab at Zephyr’s ears, nose, whatever. It’s invasive. I don’t ask to run my fingers thru juniors hair. Sigh.
But, here’s thing, I DO like the quiet, singular shy kid who is drawn to Zephyr from afar. They creep closer and closer, with very small steps, wanting SO badly to pet him, like they are witnessing this grand being, a mythical lion.
They never, ever ask to pet him. And with their parents permission I almost always let them. i encourage them too. They reach out their hands with such trepidation. Zephyr will reach out his nose and they jump, goosebumps from head to toe, beaming. Often I have to show them how to pet a dog, like they have never done this before. They are always so gentle.
Beyond Zephyr, it is my own personality that likes a wide arc of comfort space. Come near me slowly, talk softly and don’t be too pushy or demanding about it. Don’t drown me in personal questions. Don’t lecture me or take up debate. Keep it simple, let me reveal myself to you in my own time.
Zephyr is the same way. I guess we are a true pair.