I am always looking for potential things that my blind dog could run into, and by far, poop is one of the worst! At first, I am slightly irritated when I see another dog’s poop left behind…and judgment starts to creep in….”careless, irresponsible dog walker” type thoughts…and as I pick up that stray poop and secure it in a doggie bag, a sense of righteousness sets in, a feeling that “I, the responsible dog walker, will do what is right.”
Then that moment passes and my thoughts turn to gratitude…”Well, at least the owner is walking the dog outdoors!” and I am thankful for that dog being given an opportunity to exercise in the fresh air. There is a palpable energetic shift…and then judgment falls away to be replaced by softer more compassionate thoughts. Maybe the walker is a senior and can’t bend over easily to pick up the poo. Maybe the walker is a 10-year-old boy who is anxiously walking his new pet for the first time and he lacks experience. Maybe the owner is going through a really rough patch in life and is so distracted by their suffering that they don’t even notice that the dog is going poop. Maybe today was the one day that the doggie bag holder ran out, and on every other day of the year, the owner does in fact pick up the poop. Maybe the walker is coming back later to get the poop! In any given moment, we are striving to do our best with the knowledge, skills and attention we are able to bring to that moment.
When I stay present with the moment and let my judgments of others and myself subside, compassion bubbles up and softens the experience and the heart.