Fearless kids and wagging tails
Living in a country where dogs are not as common as in my home country The Netherlands, brings some new situations with it. However, I must add I never had a dog myself while still living there. My husband and Eva came as the best package deal I have ever seen. Nevertheless, family members and friends back home did have furry family friends, so I do have an idea of what it could be like living there while having a dog. Four-legged friends are so normal in day-to-day life, people might not even notice how many families have one (or two, or three…).
Moving to a different part of the world, where dogs are not as common, shows a different side. Not only are dogs less culturally accepted as family members in this region, although I do feel this is rapidly changing, but Dubai is also a melting pot of many different cultures. Some of them are very used to living among dogs and others are very much the opposite. For whatever reason people may not like to be around dogs, it is their right to feel so. Maybe they’re scared because there are many street dogs in their own country, they were bitten as a child, or have been told dogs are unclean. As long as people don’t hurt dogs, not everyone has to love dogs the same way I do.
This fear or unfamiliarity, becomes very clear during Eva’s daily walks. Over the past years, when we took the elevator to go out for Eva’s stroll in the park, initially some people jumped when the doors opened and they saw her. And it’s usually adults who have such strong reactions. Eva loves people and has difficulty understanding not everyone loves her. She gets excited when seeing anyone and her tail starts wagging enthusiastically.
But lately, I’m noticing an opposite movement. Many, brave, small kids are fearless when they see Eva. Perhaps they feel she means well, and Eva feels their harmless, curious energy. Nowadays, when the elevator doors open on the way to the ground floor, we often see small children staring back at us. Usually accompanied by a parent or nanny. Their guardian tends to be a bit hesitant to enter the elevator, but the fearless girl or boy runs inside with their arms stretched forwards. Eva and the children are automatically drawn to each other. Perhaps because dogs are at the same level as small kids, both height-wise and, according to some research, intelligence.
Eva loves it. She loves all the attention she can get. Sometimes she sneaks in a little lick of their fingers. Or she presses her wet nose against light-coloured pants. But that’s the price many people are now willing to pay, for a bit of golden love. I noticed a change in my reaction to the elevator doors opening as well. Before I used to feel more tense, a bit anxious to see who would be on the other side. These days, I’m more certain we’ll be able to leave people with smiles (me included). Eva worked her magic on me again. Just as I shared in the blog post about 5 life lessons my dog taught me.
"...initially some people jumped when the doors opened and they saw Eva. And it’s usually adults who have such strong reactions."
I guess that’s an amazing positive side of living in a melting pot of cultures. Some of these children may have grown to be more fearful of dogs in their parents’ home countries. But here they get the opportunity to find out their feelings themselves. Perhaps they may still not prefer to be around dogs, and that is fine too. But at least they are given the opportunity to try for themselves.
Has your dog been spreading smiles around as well? Let me know your stories.
Thanks for reading and see you next week in another weekly column about living with a dog!