My little dog and I were on a long, meandering Sunday beach walk when I came across a fellow neighbourhood dog owner sitting with a friend. She is a large, elderly Eastern European woman and I can never remember her name. I always remember her dog’s name though and, in my mind, refer to her as her dog’s mom.
I waved to her, smiled and asked where her dog was. Her face crunched into a funny look and, in her thick European accent, she told me that she had given her dog up for adoption. I stared at her. He needed an operation she couldn’t afford she continued, so now he’s living with a family up the street. I was shocked. She and her pup seemed inseparable. Do you get to see him, I asked. Before she could answer, her friend piped up “The last time he saw her he looked at her like you’re my mama. Why did you give me to these people?”
I looked back at the former dog mama and saw her eyes well up with tears. In that second, I realized that the last thing this lady needed was my judgement. Everything about her energy told me that she had not had an easy life and her friend was, right now, attempting to pile more guilt on an already heartbreaking situation. I moved towards her, looked her in the eyes and said “You did the right thing” and gave her a big hug.
Did I really think she did the right thing? It doesn’t matter. She needed a little love and compassion and I was honoured to give it to her.
Sometimes we all let our egos and big opinions get in the way of just being there for another person. But when we just let the ego and opinions go and allow ourselves to support someone else without judging, it feels beautiful…for both people.
A world without empathy and compassion would be a horrible thing so I thank my neighbor for reminding me of this today and allowing me to let my better self shine through.