I recently got a dog. This is the first time I have owned a dog as an adult, and very easily the first time I have felt so connected and in love and protective of a four-legged furry friend of the dog-like persuasion in my life. She is without a doubt my child and my sidekick, alongside my existing fur-babies – Frank and Pepe the amazing kitties.
Daphne, named after the lovable and feisty physiotherapist on classic television show Frasier, was six months old when I adopted her from Peninsula Animal Aid. She was (is) boisterous, loving, and absolutely my shadow.
Already, she has taught me a lot of things.
On a recent weekend though, she opened me up to a wonderful experience, which while not exactly ‘new’, was something that I think is experienced nowhere near enough in today’s world.
I speak of course, of our society where the ‘eyes down/on the phone, headphones in, sunnies on, don’t make eye contact’ approach rules.
The society where saying hello on the train/bus/plane can have you looked at like you have three heads.
The society where people are suspicious of an agenda, closed off, plain not interested, or even fearful.
More often than not, attempting to start up a conversation can be seen as freakish, and your motives are almost always questioned.
At least, that is how it seems for the most part from what I see around me.
Anywho, a few weekends ago I took Daphne to the dog beach that is a short drive from my home for the first time.
On that occasion, I was too scared to take her off the lead, looking at the large group of dogs and their five or so very competent looking owners standing in a huddle in the middle of the beach; knowing how my little boisterous puppy is still very much in the learning stages of her discipline as I am in the learning stages of this whole puppy socialising thing.
The next weekend when I returned, the beach was a lot quieter, and so I pondered whether to take my girl off the leash and let her run free (under close supervision of course).
Then, we went to get out of the car, and my little miss was confronted by a massive dog – a very happy and non-threatening dog mind you, but one that was many times the size of my little Daphne. This saw her decidedly not interested in getting out of the car.
Well, today I thank the powers that be for delaying our exit out of the car the few minutes it took me to get her out, after coaxing her from one side and then moving to the other side to encourage her further.
I am thankful because, in that time, a young boy came up to be behind the car at the exact moment I got her out, leading him to excitedly ask me questions about my girl.
I of course answered as I lead her past my car and towards the beach and he trailed along, and I asked him about his own pupper which he had already started to tell me about.
When we came out the other side of the parked cars, his mother was there and had their own pupper on a lead. Daphne approached to say hello, and she (we will call her Kate) expressed delight that the two pups seemed to get along.
We walked down towards the beach side by side, we were both going the same way after all, exchanging thoughts about how great it was that they had been happy and friendly to each other.
Then, her dog was let off the leash to run, and my Daphne wanted to go too.
I let her go, and they went nuts running and playing and having a great old time. In the meantime, Kate and I chatted.
First about our dogs, and then about kids, partners, the area, dog parks, beaches, the differences between Amsterdam and Townsville and Adelaide and Brisbane, and everything in between. We even got around to talking about work, and found that the copywriting services I offer in my business could be of help to her, as she had been considering starting a blog for her photography business and had thought about getting someone to help her.
By the end of our hour long visit to the beach and with two very tuckered puppers in tow, we exchanged details and agreed to meet up for doggy dates again in the near future. We followed this up with some FB messages that night, liking each other’s business pages and agreeing another beach visit would be on the cards soon, and exchanging piccies taken of our playing puppers the day before.
So, why am I rambling on about all of this. I guess my point is this…I made a friend. Never once feeling like I was pushing the conversation, or that we had to force it.
This doesn’t seem ground breaking, but when I was telling my partner about it that night, he said to me – that is so rare.
And you know what, it is.
I can’t remember the last time I made a new friend as an adult in the context of a one-off chance encounter, rather than a long-term or repeated exposure situation such as meeting in a workplace, where relationships are built over time.
So now, I have another great reason why Daphne is so amazing – as well as being my own amazing little friend, she also helps me make new friends 🙂