On Corgis on Wheels we have discussed support- where you find the emotional and physical support you need as you care for your disabled dog. Family, friends, physical therapists, and veterinarians were all named.
Today's blog is not about support, it is about lack of support.
Without getting into too many details, I took a car trip with two other people, one of whom this story is about. I expected the trip to take only three hours, and planned to leave at 8 am, so thought Merlin would be good left home during that time. Well, as often happens, we left over an hour later, and things took longer, and instead of being home before noon, we were still 45-50 minutes away at 12:30 PM. At that point, I expressed my concern about getting home quickly.
We got into the car, and this other person announced we were going to stop and fill up a gas can for a boat on the way home. To be charitable, I don't know that she initially did this just to provoke me, she could simply not have understood the urgency. I objected, suggesting she could go back and get gas after dropping me at home, which is about five minutes from the gas station. I explained that I was concerned that Merlin would have to pee and would end up lying in it, and I needed to get home as fast as possible.
At that point, instead of agreeing and expressing concern over Merlin, this person insisted she was going to stop for gas if she felt like it, and told me I could call and get someone else to let him out. I explained it wasn't a matter of letting him out, someone needed to put him in the cart and express him, and no one knew how. She said I just didn't want to stop because I wanted my own way, and as the driver, she would do what she felt like.
I realized soon that she was making sport of upsetting me. Nowhere in her game was any concern for Merlin, he simply didn't enter into the equation. To her, the argument was just like an earlier one about gay marriage, it had nothing to do with Merlin or my feelings, it was just sport. She has no empathy for animals and can't understand why someone else would bother to go out of her way to care for a dog. It's possible she thought the argument was just a game for me, too.
Now I know this isn't really about DM or Merlin. But it is the existence of people like her that makes searching for support both difficult and important. Difficult because one never knows the reaction another person might have to concern about a dog, and important because loving, supporting, caring individuals are needed to counteract the selfish and uncaring ones. I'm lucky that this insensitive person is not someone I see every day, and really feel for those who have spouses or children or parents who fail to understand their care and concern for their dog.
I did get home in time to take Merlin out, and he definitely had to go. Bottom line, there will always be insensitive people, who lack the experience to understand and the capacity to empathize with animals or with the feelings of other people. And I am glad I am not one of them. And I think, in the long run, those of us with the capacity to love and care for an dog, and to empathize with the feelings and needs of other living creatures, human or not, are the lucky ones.