A couple of weeks ago when walking the dogs, as we were leaving the park we saw a man that we saw a few times a week as he trained with his personal trainer. While he trains his wife walked their dogs but she avoided other dogs, keeping one of the dogs on a lead. It was a breed we thought could be narky so we always called the dogs away. We have always acknowledged him with a smile or a hello and since we have had Muffin, the puppy who breaks down all barriers, he has said a little more (but he is working out) and his wife has spoken to us. The dog was kept on a lead to keep it from running as it had a problem with its insides.
When I saw the man this particular day he was sitting on the railing fence, facing into the dog park. He did not acknowledge us as he usually does but I yelled out hallo. How are you? He stood and sobbed “my dog has died.” With that I handed Muffin’s lead to Roger and went over and embraced him. Not a fluffy tentative hug but one where I held him to me like a mother would a baby that someone was trying to snatch away. He returned my hug just as hard, him sobbing into my shoulder and me with tears falling as well. If you have lost anyone or any animal that is a family member you feel the pain. We stood like this for ten minutes, maybe more. Then we talked about pain, dogs, grief and Muffin. Finally it was the right time to leave and I left to catch Roger up.
I would never have written about this occasion which happened over two weeks ago except that Monday I saw his wife first, walking the dog. She told me her husband had a present for me. I said that was unnecessary but she said he wanted to. He had been carrying with him to training but when we didn’t come by (we were not walking Muffin that way because she was on bed rest after her operation) he’d left it at home. Would I be going through on Wednesday. I saw the man on Monday and he stopped training, came and gave me a hug and thanked me. Wednesday they waited for me to come through and he gave me a present.
What brought the smile to my face was what he said to me rather than the gift (which was very nice but as I said not necessary). He said “you have no idea how much you helped me. Just cuddling me and letting me cry. I’ll never forget your kindness to a stranger.”
The difference we can make in lives just with a smile, a hug and a bit of caring.