I walked my poodles in the pouring rain last weekend. They absolutely loved it, and thanks to my new waterproof trousers, so did I. One thing I noticed and was surprised at, is how many other crazy dog people there are in the world! I expected to be the only one walking with my daft dogs but no, I passed 5 or 6 other dog walkers, like me, wrapped up and in waterproof clothes and enjoying some time out from the rat race whatever that maybe. Avoiding a nagging spouse, cranky kids or a boss that wants more and more work from you. Maybe there’s a poorly parent to be looked after or maybe just maybe amongst these people there might have been someone not very well themselves but while we are all walking around this soggy parkland, we smiled at one another, the odd one gave a nod and two people even stopped to comment on my dogs and I theirs and pass pleasantries about the weather and time of year.
In all breeds at the minute we seem to be suffering with this overwhelming negativity in the ranks and it makes me wonder where it starts or grows from.
Is it the element of competition between breeders I wonder? it’s not even exclusive to show breeders. I know of some cross breed associations that have squabbles between them too always resulting in people having their feelings hurt, not feeling able to speak out and ask a question to better their breeding practices and everything having to be kept cloak and dagger for fear of being cast out by whichever breed association or hierarchy of old skool face breeders.
Is it because we are passionate about our respective breeds and want the best for the breed or does it boil down to money and who is selling puppies and who isn’t and who has a well-used stud dog and who doesn’t? Is it about personal reputations and who doesn’t want to be knocked from the top spot by someone else rising the ranks of the breed be it by breeding more puppies, “better” dogs or within the show world winning more classes or CC’s?
Is it purely that there are some nice people out there, those who would help anyone, chat to anyone and be warm to anyone and some maybe just not so nice people? Is it that simple that its just natures way, survival of the fittest?
When a chosen hobby or career choice, as breeding dogs is for some a job, brings a group of people with the same attraction together sparks fly as they would in any institution such as the police service or people who work together in a café for example.
Maybe it is just a sign of the times with social media being what it is that we are automatically as a race on the defensive or are willing to scrutinise the lives or practices of others without judge or jury.
We’ve all been there for the gossip …”well such and such has had a litter with 3 eyes” …. Really … !! hey, Mrs such and such did you hear mr blah blah had a litter with 3 eyes and I heard another grew a 4th!! … and so it continues.
Sometimes these stories have some element of truth, but without knowing the background behind the story, or the personal issues of the person involved how can it be used as stick to beat them publicly?
And more recently the threat of choice between camps seems to be “I’ll report them to the council” ?
Why do we never sit back and think hmmm I wonder if the person at the receiving end of the group abuse is ok, have they got private issues or reasons why the litter was born with 3 eyes?
By the way, I have no idea why I’ve used that as an example. It was the first thing that came to mind and just to be clear, no I haven’t nor do I know anyone that has produced a litter with 3 eyes!!
Why does no one pick up the phone anymore and ask “are you ok? I heard your litter has 3 eyes, do you need any help”
The call recipient might just burst into laughter and explain that in fact the litter doesn’t have 3 eyes at all, or they may well burst into tears and explain the 3 eye issue and ask the caller for help and advice. In any walk of life there’s the new starter that doesn’t know and the old timer that has the experience to share and together they can learn going forward. After all, none of us know it all now do we ?
So, while I enjoyed my walk with the poodles I the pouring rain I enjoyed the peace, both physical and metaphorical.
Not one person I met along my route commented on he said or she said …. Not one smirked and passed negative comments on my attire, my personality or my dogs. It was nice, it made me smile walking home and made me feel good. For that hour, in the park, we were comrades, the other dog walkers and I. We had a common interest, a shared reason for being there and a mutual respect for one another …. Maybe just maybe … it’s just nice to be nice ?