Both dogs were straining at the end of their leashes. It was just past 6 am and some kind nurse was attempting to hold the door open for us to walk through. No doubt it was a reflexive, good-natured instinct.
However, the problem with her gesture was how she was holding the door itself. Our nurse was still on the inside of the building. She had one arm holding the door open and the other waving for us to come in.
My dogs responded with their standard, “HELLO PERSON WHO CLEARLY IS HERE TO LOVE ON ME.” Not “us.” They independently think “me,” and proceeded to respond to her obvious (in dog speak) invitation for attention.
They’re just dogs. When it comes to new people, they’re in it for themselves. It’s how it works. Selfish bastards. Poorish unsuspecting nurse.
The ensuing doorway traffic jam took a minute to clear. First, we untangled the nurse from the spaghetti’d leashes, and then I held the door open for her while holding back the beasts. She thanked me and started to apologize. “It’s early,” she said. I agreed. We both laughed.
I told her not to worry about it. She, after all, was the one trying to be nice – my dogs just wanted her to know how nice they can be too. She was never going to win. She never even had a chance. “The rest of your day will inevitably be easier than this,” I assured her.
It all happened in a minute, but let it be a reminder: what counts is that we try. To say hello. To hold the doors. To clean up the messes that inevitably happen. To laugh and move forward. Even if we’re not officially working together, we’re still working together. All of us.