First of all, how is it March 8th already? Goodness. This year is moving by quickly. I feel like it was just January 1.
Anyway, I took Buttons out into town today. Since we left New York he hasn’t had much socialization, other than people who come to our home.
He’s a Shiba, so he’s naturally aloof with people, but he has serious anxiety in public situations. He shakes like a little furry leaf around strangers. He’s not aggressive with them, thank goodness, but he just gets so nervous. He was this way in NYC, as well, and it was a real challenge because we could barely walk 10 feet without someone coming up to us wanting to pet him.
Today was really no different. There was an onslaught of little kids and adults who were completely enamoured with the little guy. Because of that, I heard a lot of sad stories today.
One of the first people to come up and pet Buttons was an 80 year old man. He was telling me about his 17 year old goat that he’d just had to put to sleep. A goat seems like an odd pet, I know, but to this old man, she was no different than a dog or a cat. He used to be a farmer, and she was one of the last goats on his farm. Eventually, he kept her in his house, like you would any other pet. She died of cancer – for which he felt responsible because the vet told him she was more prone to cancer because she was never bred. It was very moving to hear him talk about her. He kept saying “I’m lonely now that she’s gone.” My heart broke for him and I hope that for the few moments we talked and for the few moments he spent petting Buttons that he wasn’t lonely.
I also met a couple who sat with Buttons and me twice during the day. The woman loves Shibas. She is one of those rare people who actually recognize the breed. She spent a long time just petting Buttons and talking to us… mostly, she talked to Buttons. A little while later I was sitting outside of a different store and her husband came out. He said “Hi Buttons” and he sat down to pet him while his wife shopped in the store. The man was sad, I could tell… he was pensive. He told me how he and his wife just put down their Border Collie at Christmas. The pain was still raw for him. He teared up when he was telling me. He told me that he waited longer than he probably should have to put the dog down, but he just couldn’t part with her. Again, my heart broke for him. He sat with me for a while and he just kept petting Buttons. Then when his wife came out of the store they took pictures with Buttons.
Now, my little guy is asleep on the couch because he had a very long and exhausting day. I don’t think he has any idea that he made 3 people feel loved and less lonely today. He has no idea that he made a difference. To him, he was just being a dog and doing what dogs do best – which is love.