It’s Not About the Dog!

I wouldn’t call myself stubborn. In fact, some have said I’m a pushover. A nicer way to put that would be easy-going. A less nice person might say I had no backbone. In the course of a conversation, I’ve been known to flip-flop between opposing viewpoints depending upon the persuasiveness of the other speaker or speakers. Okay, so maybe that means I’m open minded. Or wishy-washy. Negotiable. Or lacking any solid opinions or values.

At best, I’m generous. At worst, a people pleaser. Best: compassionate. Worst: mindless bleeding heart liberal.

You must be getting the picture.

My husband and I live at opposite ends of the political spectrum. I love my husband, so I’ve learned the art of compromise. I’ve learned to try to look at every position the way an opposite thinker might. I’ve learned that no matter how strongly I feel about an issue, there are good people who see it very differently. Right vs. wrong?  Good vs. bad? White hat, black hat? No – most of the time, just different.

I was raised in a working class family. My father worked long hours in his little meat market. My mother stayed home. All through my young years we saw the generosity of our parents. Relatives and virtual strangers were welcome to stay at our home when they needed a place. Need food and have no money? See my dad. There were endless other examples. We didn’t really think about it. It’s just the way it was – the way it’s supposed to be.

I’ve continued in that mold in my adult life. Sometimes my husband feels people take advantage of our generosity. But I prefer to think they just feel comfortable with us. No one has ever asked for money – which to me would be a sign that they might be edging from the comfort zone to the take-advantage zone. Friends and family have invited themselves to visit. We live on water in a popular vacation area. I’m glad they enjoy coming here.  If occasionally they stay a day longer than planned or bring a few extra people or animals along, what’s the big deal? I don’t expect one-for-one reciprocity. But I would expect that the spirit of our hospitality would be reciprocated.

One such visitor brought her heavily shedding dog with her several times a year for nearly 12 years of the dog’s life. They were welcome, as was whatever man was in her life at the time.  I love dogs, and my dog is a member of my family who does not get left behind when I go on vacation.

So imagine my disappointment and yes, anger, when this visitor built a new home and announced that my dog would not be welcome in her home. She and her partner had decided to make their home pet-free, no exceptions. My husband and I were welcome, but the dog would have to be left behind. For me that was like being told we weren’t welcome – and indeed, there’s a part of me that thinks this decision was by design, so they don’t have to be bothered hosting us the way we’ve hosted them for years.  I can’t comprehend the level of selfish, self-centeredness this represents, the disregard for how hurtful this is.

It’s been a year since that “Not Welcome” sign was hung on their doorway. We didn’t speak for several months. I couldn’t absorb the betrayal. The total callousness and lack of consideration and seeming lack of any sense of obligation to treat us the way they had always been treated. We’re speaking again now – as I said in my last posting, it’s important to show caring toward the people in your life, even when they hurt you, and double that when it’s family. But I doubt that that sense of betrayal and the intensity of the hurt will ever go away. Maybe I expect too much of people. As corny as it sounds, I just try to follow the Golden Rule.

So you see, in spite of how this person views the situation, it’s really not about the dog at all.

About Dawn Essegian Lajeunesse

I, like so many others, am a novelist struggling for recognition. My last three novels, THE EYES HAVE IT, IN HER MOTHER'S SHOES and STAR CATCHING, are available in e-book format through Amazon and other formats by request here or on my website. AUTUMN COLORS was my first novel and is still available through Amazon and B&N in multiple formats. My early writings are women's fiction, one also suitable for YA. My work-in-progress is a historical fiction about the Armenians who settled in Troy, NY in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Come visit me at my website:
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