This morning I was lucky enough to have time to go for a nice stroll with my furry traveling buddy, Hayley. We made it to the park nice and early before the heat of the day took hold, and although it was early and a holiday, there were plenty of others out enjoying the morning as well.
As Hayley and I entered the park we could smell the fresh vegetation, hear the birds singing their sweet songs and feel the fresh air on our faces. Ahhh, what a great way to start the day off. Hayley was out in front of me taking in the many scents that were demanding her attention while I casually followed, happy to share this moment with her.
It wasn’t long before we saw the first of many people walking in the park on this fine morning. Our first passer-by was a middle-aged man walking at a brisk pace. As is my habit, I tried to make eye contact with him and say, “good morning.” He mumbled something back that very loosely resembled, “morning,” and hurried past us without looking up.
I shrugged my shoulders, and wondered how someone could already be having a bad day at only 7 am. Hayley and I continued on but barely made it fifty feet when we encountered someone else: a woman walking her golden lab. As we closed in on one another I noticed that both Hayley and the lab were pulling toward one another eager to meet. What Hayley didn’t notice, that I did, was the dog’s owner looking at Hayley with wide-eyed discontent – it seems she had correctly identified Hayley as a pit bull and was letting her uninformed mind run amuck.
I respected her space and didn’t let Hayley interact with her dog (much to Hayley and the lab’s dismay), and continued on. We passed many more people and dogs as we made our way through the park, and I continued to greet everyone who passed by with a happy, “good morning,” and a smile. Some people pretended they didn’t hear me and hurried past us, while a few were quicker than me and greeting me before I got a chance. Interestingly, a large majority of the people I hit with my “good morning,” responded with a look of shocked excitement. The returned my cheerful hello and seemed grateful and happy for the interaction.
What I find interesting is that it was obvious that if I didn’t say anything to them they would have just walked right past me not even bothering to look at me. If they are friendly people, and indeed it seemed that they were, then why not make the first move and greet people right away?
In contrast, I watched every dog look genuinely overjoyed at the mere sight of fellow canine and downright insistent upon greeting them. I say, if our dogs can do it, why can’t we?
As always, our dogs seem to really know how to live life right. So the next time you’re out for a walk or heading down the hallway toward your office, try to greet the people you pass like a dog: with a smile and a tail wag (just watch the butt sniffing).