This is why. If I accidentally step on one of my children’s feet, or sit on them when they’re on the sofa or something like that – I’m not really too bothered. They complain for a minute and shove me off, or complain too much and I shove them off (more likely to happen). But either way there’s no serious injury and all the whingeing stops you feeling bad about it anyway!
But our dog Dougie. Dear sweet, gentle Dougie, with his sad eyes and his big silky, floppy ears. When I bump into Dougie, or stand on his paw – oh my god the guilt! I can’t bear it!
When I hear him give out that little yelp! And then to make it about a thousand times worse, he comes to me wagging his tail all eagerly as if he did something wrong! I’m such a bad person!
You can see the problem though. The children are all big enough to look after themselves and make their needs known. They don’t want mummy to kiss it better, and apart from any of that, they do actually know I didn’t mean to hurt them.
But how can poor Dougie possibly know I didn’t intentionally close the car door on his tail that one time? Does he think he’s being punished for some reason? Is he wagging his tail and asking for a hug because he thinks he’s done something wrong?
The trouble is, I’ll never know. I’ve read that dogs can learn how to fake pain and illness when they realise they can get treats and attention in return. But I can’t really be sure he’s faking it, and even worse, I won’t ever really know if he knows I didn’t mean to hurt him.
I’m just going to have to live with the guilt and the doubt. I’ll add it to my ‘guilt and doubt list’, along with ‘I definitely deserved all the cola bottles out of my 3 year old’s little plastic Halloween pumpkin bucket’, and ‘That Bratz doll head just totally came off in my hand’.
I’ll just have to find a way to go on!