The golden rule

Is this what has become of “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you”?

Every morning and night I walk my dog along the same path. She is 45 lbs, long and lean like a greyhound. She is shy and cautious around most dogs, and excited to see others. She could care less about most people. She has never bitten anyone, even another dog who bit her.

The majority of people who walk the path are not dog owners. When they see us coming, they walk way around into the grass. They never say hello or smile. They act as if the sheer presence of my dog is an inconvenience to them.

So to be neighborly, I do things to try to make them more comfortable. I reign my dog in so that she is right next to me. I make her walk on the grass. I look them in the eyes and smile. I say hello.

None of it helped. The people still walk way around us and stare as if my dog is going to lash out and bite them at any moment. They make no effort to get to know me or my dog so that we can all walk together on the sidewalk.

So after a few years of this, I’ve finally given up. Anytime I pass someone on the path, I keep my head down and my dog and I both walk way around them in the grass. I no longer smile. I no longer say hello.

I feel like a leper in my own home.

All this because I choose to be a dog owner.

I can only imagine what it must feel like for people who are something that people are afraid of and that they can’t change.

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