the friends

‘Tisn’t it the Season to be Jolly?


The beagle and I have not missed a single walk since she was diagnosed. Because walks are medicine. They stimulate her immune system, they help the flow of her lymphatic system and they get oxygen to any anaerobic infections that may be present in her lungs.

Yesterday I smiled and said hello to a couple we encountered. They were on a (dog-less) walk of their own.

The woman responded, “I hope you are as warm as the dog.”

I chuckled and nodded.

Maybe she couldn’t think of anything else to say, I thought. Maybe what she meant to say was, “I like your dog’s coat.” or “Your dog looks nice and warm.”

Maybe she meant to say it with a smile.

But her tone and her look were disapproving.

I was wearing a hooded sweatshirt under a very downy down jacket. The hood was pulled up unto my head, my hands were mittened and my feet booted.

Clearly I was as warm as “the dog.” As my sweet dog.

Did she think my dog was too warm in her coat? Did she think I was cruel to put it on her? Did she hope I was as too warm as the dog?

I wanted to tell her that my friend’s little belly was shaved for a CT scan and the fur hasn’t fully grown back yet. It needs protection from the cold.

I wanted to tell her that senior dogs have difficulty regulating their body temperature. Just like cardigan-clad senior people.

I wanted to tell her that my friend was shivering by the end of the previous day’s cold, damp walk.

I wanted to tell her that my friend has LUNG CANCER.

So quit judging.

But we just kept walking.

We saw them approach a second time as we rounded the final bend.

The beagle stopped to wait for them, tail wagging.

She’s a greeter.

But the couple did not acknowledge her.

Clearly not dog lovers. Clearly her earlier comment was not out of concern for “the dog.”

Clearly she doesn’t deem dogs worthy of warmth.

“Come on little Be. Let’s go home.”

The Be didn’t move.

“Are you worn out little friend? Have you had all you can take today?”

I kinda’ hoped Mrs. Crabby Appleton heard my questions. I kinda’ hoped she realized that there was more to the story.

On today’s walk the Be is going to wear her silver “American Beagle” puffy jacket. Because it’s cold and windy and the jacket is warm and adorable.

Fa-la-la-la-la  La-la  La-la.



10 thoughts on “‘Tisn’t it the Season to be Jolly?

  1. Mrs. Boots says:

    Always under scrutiny, always under judgement.

    I think it’s worse for children, because they don’t limit their judgement to a disapproving tone or look. They escalate it into cruelty. When I was a child, I was so confused about how to fit in. I wanted to so badly. But when I grew up, I attempted to rebel against that scrutiny by making it very obvious that I was not seeking approval. I became one of those pierced, shaved-headed, weirdly dressed young people (long before it became so normative). But that is a reaction to a problem, not a solution.

    When I became a mother, I felt that intense scrutiny, where we judge each other’s parenting choices.

    Even as a Christian, I found that judgement. What Bible version we read, what clothing we wear, what type of hymns we listen to. (Not saying that all Christians are judging all this, but I fell into a church for a while where they really missed the grace part.)

    As a person with an invisible disability, I have discovered that we even judge people’s illnesses and disabilities. (She got out of her wheelchair — look, she can walk, she is faking! I saw him without his walker yesterday, but he has it today, he must be faking!)

    And of course we have liberals judging conservatives. Because they can’t possibly be telling the truth about being anti-socialist and pro-capitalist. Or anti-nanny-state. They must be racist and anti-gay and anti-woman.

    And now it turns out that we even judge pet-owners for not doing it right! I don’t have a dog, and I have to admit I’m not really a dog person. I would probably never notice if your dog was wearing a coat or not, and I would never think to stop and pet a dog (sorry) but I really shouldn’t be surprised that we even find ways to judge people as pet owners.

    It’s a petty, petty world, and we are all way too eager to ascribe motives and render judgment on others when we have no idea what’s in their hearts.

    Sorry for the monologue. Once I started thinking of examples it was hard to stop! 🙂


    • Mrs. Boots says:

      P.S. I should have also said that your poor little doggie looks adorable in the sweet little coat, and I hope it keeps her nice and toasty warm.

      Non-dog people can be so narrowly-focused sometimes in their cold human-centric analysis and never stop to pet the doggie!


    • Thanks for the monologue, it felt supportive. Yes, it is a petty, petty world (or a no-petty world, as the case may be.) I didn’t expect the woman to actually pet Bebe (she might be allergic to dogs), I just thought she might acknowledge her enthusiasm with a smile. I don’t stop and pet other people’s dogs unless their tails are wagging off the hook and they are clearly thrilled to see me. Even then I ask permission first.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Oh well, some people simply talk before they think! And what they say is meaningless. Those are the people we are pondering about for a while although they are least deserving to ponder about their statements.

    Liked by 1 person

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