I’m always looking at the non-verbal cues. A person’s posture, countenance, and muscle movements. I read too into them really but I can’t help but be attentive to them.
Take the expression of “AH! IT’S GOING TO KILL ME!” for example. I’ve been a bit of a gimp for the past several months thanks to the sciatica issues. I’m slightly hunched and wobbly when I walk and I push against my left leg, that the nerve pain shoots down into, with my hand to sort of prop me up. I do have a crutch but, I try to avoid any attention so I only use it when going to work or I have to walk far.
So here I am, hobbling along while my dog relieves his bladder. He’s done and I’m done being outside in the muggy heat so we turn around. Lo and behold, one of our neighbors is leaving his home to go somewhere. Our overly hyper dog does what he always does when surprised by a stranger—barks his head off and looks like he’s going to lunge at them. No teeth bared, just annoying barks and pulling forward. I already look like a weakling who can’t hold him so this kind of rattled the man a bit.
Alas, the intimidating display is the result of a dog who has no idea how to properly greet others. And weirdly enough, all he wants to do is sniff them. After I calm Buddy down, I apologize to the recipient of the barking and ask if he may meet them. They usually agree so he chokes himself just to finally get near them, sniffs them, maybe lets them get a pet in, and he’s done. He can resume his normal, chill behavior. They get to pet a crazy fluff ball and continue with their day.
Our neighbor seems to have had either bad encounters with dogs, no experience with them whatsoever, or just has a phobia. Also, I realized there was a little trouble with hearing or communication when I did the usual “Can he meet you? Can my dog meet you?” in which I’d receive a “Huh?” I repeated myself several times, even trying to articulate clearer than the last time out of fear I was talking too quiet like I sometimes do.
Finally after processing what I said, he smiled, nodded his head, and moved aside alittle. I briefly wondered why he moved aside but figured he was making room for Buddy to greet him. I then loosened my grip on the leash to let Buddy finally get a whiff of our neighbor. The man screamed and held his hands up in the air as Buddy rushed up to sniff the man. Not jump on him or greet him. Sniff. The man stood still, hands still raised, the entire time.
It was at that moment I realized that the man thought I asked if I could pass around him and I had surprised him by letting Buddy get close. To hopefully calm the man down I pulled Buddy back some and said “He’s just smelling you. This way he can get to know you.” I’m sure everything I said was just white noise while Buddy continued trying to sniff the man as I was pulling him away to go home.
I felt worried and sad that I misunderstood the man and scared the living daylights out of him. It almost sounded like he was muttering “that bitch” as I was walking away, lol…or maybe it was something else in a language I don’t know as he was walking out to wave at someone he knew that was currently parking their car. My worry doubled when Sean informed me that yesterday, while he was crazy tired and letting Buddy out to pee, Buddy had scared another neighbor. It was possibly the wife of the man Buddy startled before because she rushed back to the same apartment he had come out of.
She was jogging when the event occurred. The enclosing clops of her sneakers startled Buddy so he turned around and did his bark/lunge routine. She shrieked her head off and Sean stood there, eyes half closed, mumbling “Sorry.” What made it kind of worse was Sean looked disheveled and his expression looked like a hooligan you don’t want to mess with. To top it off, his tone really didn’t have any remorse because he knew Buddy wouldn’t harm anyone and he was just too tired to care about anything at the moment.
Apparently, she was fumbling frantically with her keys to open the door. Instead of causing her further distress by walking past her to our apartment, Sean took the long way around with Buddy which is pretty much walking in a big half circle to enter from the other side of the outdoor hallway.
I had a nightmare that leasing contacted us saying that they received complaints of a fluffy menace creating chaos on our block. 😦 It’s hard to live around non-pet people. I always have to walk out in fear of someone else misunderstanding our dog because the little cute, turd-bucket has to always act like he’s a siren alerting everyone that someone is there that he must sniff.
*sigh* I can’t wait until we can move.