We have another dog. She is a delight so far- been here around 5 hours. Her name is Belle. The others have been gently wonderful with her, giving her space. Quietly indifferent . Oh right, its you. She is an older collie, older than the rescue said. She is a little chubby after having her two gorgeous pups. I haven’t actually told many people, and I am wondering why that is. Usually a new dog is heralded by social media posts, and joyous delight, and not this slightly guilty, secret excitement.  

It fluttered across my mind today that maybe I am wary of being judged.

Usually I can maintain a thick layer of self protection (A boss who I had locked horns with in my short and not at all enjoyable spell in her team, gave me a mug coaster depicting a rhinocerous as a Christmas present once. You get the general picture of me presenting as thick skinned. Incidentally I still have it). This caution is therefore a different experience for me. I have more dogs than I have money for. I guess that is part of the guilt. Maybe it is that  she is not what people will expect? Maybe people will think I am greedy? Or maybe I am just so damned lost since loosing Izzydog that I am not making sound choices?

I am fully aware that most of us judge, all the time. It is part of being human. It doesn’t always have to be a bad thing, to make a judgement about someone, something. Especially if you can do it with kindness. At its most basic it can keep us safe.  In my line of professional work I make “assessments” all the time, and have been doing so for many years. Is an assessment just a judgement without our own baggage attached to it, a more cool, clinical  and objective look at a given set of circumstances?  There is huge emphasis on being “non-judgemental” in my line of work, and I know I can be that, mostly.

I also know that I do judge, sometimes not kindly. The woman in her pyjamas at the shopping centre at 3 in the afternoon, who is dragging her small child along whilst screaming at her that she is “a fu**ing bitch.” In a flash I judge that even if she was doing the best she could with whatever she was carrying from her own past or current life (whatever it was I’m pretty sure it was not kind, or good) that what she was doing now, was not good enough.

When I see social media posts of horses obviously terrified with their eyes bulging, froth dribbling from a tied down mouth, and all the other horrors we subject them too, I judge that to not be good enough.

When I see dog owners yanking their dogs about, or ignoring them completely when out on a walk with their eyes glued to their phones, I work hard to not judge, although a little voice whispers in the background “that it is not good enough”.

I always thought my father, with all the hardships of his early life, born in the 1920’s, mum dying young, his father an alcoholic, did the very best he could as a dad, but still, sometimes, I found myself judging he did not always make the “good enough” standard. I was comfortable with accepting that. I knew he tried.

The second friend I tell about Belle, (the first one is simultaneously overwhelmingly supportive and quietly resigned to my dog madness) the new collie dog, this sweet elderly lady with little white feet, and soulful eyes, without my asking, informs me “you don’t really need another dog do you?”

And then I  re-discover that, after all, I do not care about being judged.

Say hello to Belle. Go ahead and judge if you wish.

I am comfortable with that.  

One thought on “Wintering

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