I Did a Terrible Thing
I did an unspeakably terrible thing today [hangs head in abject shame].
I wore a hat.
A tan baseball cap with a dog embroidered on it to be exact. It was a cool morning (52F) and along with the warmth the cap provided, I needed something to cover my unwashed hair. I put it on without a thought and I went out to the kennel where Charlie is staying.
Charlie likes me. In fact, he seems to like me a lot. But when I walked into the room wearing that baseball cap he saw me as some kind of ungodly, depraved beast. And he reacted accordingly.
Because he’s small and in a sturdy kennel and I’ve been around a rather large number of staring, snarling, slavering beasts I reacted to his castigation by calling his name out sweetly. He paused briefly, obviously recognizing my voice – then continued his tirade. ‘Cause, you know – I had done this terrible thing.
I took the hat off and calmly, quietly walked to the kennel door. I didn’t affect a passive or assertive posture. I was as completely neutral as I could be. When I got to the door I turned sideways and crouched down. I spoke softly to Charlie and let him decide when he was ready to approach and sniff me. In seconds he was the soft, happy, wagging teenager I know once again.
I stood up and gauged his reaction to my change in posture. Soft and welcoming. So I opened the door, went in, petted and leashed him and walked him out. When we were out of the kennel I made of show of picking up the Hat From Hell and presented it to Charlie. He stood quietly – but suspiciously – at my side and I calmly held it out to him. He slowly stretched his nose forward, feet still locked in place, and tentatively sniffed the rim of the hat. I remained motionless and said nothing. He sniffed The Evil Thing again, then sniffed my hand.
I saw wheels inside his pretty little head click into place as Charlie realized that the hat smelled like me. His posture softened and he grinned up at me with a look that said “Okay, I get it”. So I put the hat, which was now just an ordinary hat, back on my head and took Charlie for a walk.