Thursday, February 16, 2012

Hops in the Right Direction: Dealing with Others' Reactions

When people see Prada, they have a limited number of reactions:  either they feel bad for her ("Oh, that poor dog!"), or they don't notice the amputation at all and feel obliged to point out to me, the negligent dog owner, that my dog is limping.  Let me tell you, it gets frustrating pretty fast.

Prada is, frankly, undersocialized.  We're working on it, but the world is still a pretty scary place to her.  When I take her out, I make sure I have my "this is a grand, fun adventure" face on and do everything I can to ensure each outing is a success.  I'm absolutely that crazy person having a conversation with my dog as we're walking in public.  It's hard to keep that posititvity up when people are pushing their pity (and sometimes disapproval) on you.  They aren't trying to be rude, exactly--but curiosity and concern are hard to overcome.  One of the major reasons we go out is specifically to encounter new people, and their reactions to her mean they aren't treating her like they would any other dog.  If someone does want to approach her, they treat her like she's very fragile.  Dogs sense our feelings--when someone is uncertain about how to approach this "disabled" (I hate that word) dog that looks and moves so differently, it makes Prada anxious, too.

To some extent, this is unavoidable, and I guess it's good practice for Prada to get accustomed to the way people are always going to treat her.  Still, I do my best to help the other person see my dog, not the space where her leg would be.  I frequently borrow the tagline from  "It's better to hop on three legs than to limp on four!" 

Bud recently had his leg set in hopes that will help his injured leg heal properly.  He's a great little lab mix who loves kids, other dogs, and even cats, so you know he's a pretty easy-going guy.  All he needs is now is that special someone to hold the other end of his tug rope.


  1. I'd just be all happy to meet Prada, I darned sure wouldn't be counting legs.

  2. Oh Prada you are so cute! Thanks for the props for, come visit us and share your adventures, we'd love to hear more.