My Dog Calling: Why I Only Wave to Dogs
On my walk to work, I average about 10 “Hellos.” All of them are directed at dogs.
I’ve lived in a big city for over six years, and as a result, I’ve become kind of jaded. When I first came to San Francisco, I would smile at everybody and even make a little eye contact on days when I felt especially confident. But after encountering some confused glares and one guy who screamed “Quit looking at me with those teeth!” I learned that sometimes smiling at everyone makes you look like a rube.
But you know who never thinks you’re a rube? Dogs!
Every dog I smile at or say hello to smiles back at me. They don’t expect a conversation. Plus, they never say anything rude — which is why I suspect that kind of talk is called “catcalling.”
I’m lucky to live in a city with almost as many breeds of dogs as there are people, so I get a lot of variety. I give a tiny wave to the Chihuahuas peeking out of purses, a hearty hello to the lean retrievers jogging beside bicycles, and a double wave to the mutt walking next to a stroller and the baby inside. If I can wave to an English bulldog, I consider it a personal victory.
Lately I’ve taken this habit off the streets and into the many dog-filled bars and restaurants in my neighborhood — sometimes with awkward results. Me cooing “Hi there, handsome!” to a cute puppy resulted in his owner’s girlfriend giving me a funny look. It could have been worse, though. I could have offered the puppy a belly rub!
Saying “Hi” to so many dogs as I walk around is one of the highlights of my day. In a world that’s so fraught with pain, worries and day-to-day stress, it’s a simple pleasure. And it’s great to look into the eyes of someone who is purely joyful. Dogs don’t know about war. They don’t know about taxes. They get more happiness out of seeing a squirrel in their periphery than most people get all day. Dogs get it. They really do.
Who knows — maybe one day people will be kinder and friendlier and have less to worry about. But until then, I’ll keep waving at dogs.
Where’s your favorite dog-watching spot in your neighborhood? Tell us below, and explore our Happy Spots map for dog-friendly spots near you.
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