Friday, August 20, 2010


We could all learn a lesson or two from our dogs.

This became clear to me the other day while I was at a dog event at our local park. Because it wasn’t a show or a competition, the dogs were relaxed and happy and the owners were relaxed and happy, too.

There were dogs and people of all shapes, sizes and colors. Big Great Danes with their young, cool, hip owners, and nice older ladies with their tiny lap dogs who sported even tinier clothes.  Business types with terriers and kids being pulled along by dogs twice their size. I saw Goldens and Labs. Poodles and Corgies. Doodles and even a hairless Chinese Crested. 

What I noticed was that even though these dogs looked and acted differently from each other, when it came to meeting me, the dogs were all the same. They didn’t care if I was old or fat or white or black or if my heaven was really big or not. They were just, to a dog, happy to meet me. Their whole bodies wiggled in anticipation of a good pet and more than one gave me a complete face washing.

Because of their superior sense of smell, a dog knows in the few seconds it took for me to scratch him behind the ears, what I had for lunch, which one of my farm animals I petted last, and whether or not I took a shower that morning And the best part is, he doesn’t care. All he sees is a human that likes him, and for a dog, that is enough.

This is in striking contrast to some nice people I met in the last week.  The first were two men whom I met at the county fair. I was telling them where I lived and one rolled his eyes and said, “Oh that is where all the __________ live.” Both men then laughed. I was saddened by their attitude, but not surprised.  They had lived in the area all their life and probably didn’t like the change that came with new residents. The next one was a woman I met at the dog event.  Being young and from the cities, she proved to be the polar opposite of the two men. I was extolling the virtues of my town, and what a great place it was, when she said, “I could never live in a small town where, you know, a bunch of__________lived.”

I couldn’t believe my ears. Here were people with radically opposing views and yet they were united in their small mindedness regarding groups of people they have never met.
I have purposely left what they said blank, as, if you are like me, your mind filled in the blank for you. We can’t help it, as our fears and prejudices come with us and it is up to us to fight against it and judge everyone we meet on their merits and their merits alone.

Dogs don’t care who you are going to vote for, whether you attend church or not, and who you chose to love. Dogs only care if you are kind and fair and have a treat in your pocket.  I think I am with the dogs on this one. I prefer to live in world where I don’t have to fill in the blanks at all.

Barbara O'Brien Photography is located at White Robin Farm in the beautiful rolling hills of western Wisconsin. Images are available for reproduction. Please e-mail or call with intended usage, size of print run, distribution. Barbara O'Brien Photography 612 812 8788 cell 715 448 3456 home  Email: 


afinstrom said...

That's the way I like to see it too! What a neat article.

cobault said...

Nice article Barbara. What a wonderful way to make your point. Thanks for sharing.

laurie said...

hooray for dogs! i learn from mine every single day--mostly, how to slow down and pay attention.