A hug:Weekly Smile


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.

For other weekly smiles visit Trent

About Irene Waters 19 Writer Memoirist

I began my working career as a reluctant potato peeler whilst waiting to commence my training as a student nurse. On completion I worked mainly in intensive care/coronary care; finishing my hospital career as clinical nurse educator in intensive care. A life changing period as a resort owner/manager on the island of Tanna in Vanuatu was followed by recovery time as a farmer at Bucca Wauka. Having discovered I was no farmer and vowing never again to own an animal bigger than myself I took on the Barrington General Store. Here we also ran a five star restaurant. Working the shop of a day 7am - 6pm followed by the restaurant until late was surprisingly more stressful than Tanna. On the sale we decided to retire and renovate our house with the help of a builder friend. Now believing we knew everything about building we set to constructing our own house. Just finished a coal mine decided to set up in our backyard. Definitely time to retire we moved to Queensland. I had been writing a manuscript for some time. In the desire to complete this I enrolled in a post grad certificate in creative Industries which I completed 2013. I followed this by doing a Master of Arts by research graduating in 2017. Now I live to write and write to live.
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26 Responses to A hug:Weekly Smile

  1. Deb says:

    How touching! Your act of kindness certainly made me smile! But it’s a bittersweet smile. I’m so sorry he lost his dog!

    Liked by 2 people

  2. TanGental says:

    that is delightful

    Liked by 1 person

  3. trentpmcd says:

    That is a great story. I’m sure it was very comforting for him. I know what it’s like when one of my furry kids passes away and it is very hard.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. noelleg44 says:

    What a touching story – and how kind of you to support that man when he needed someone to help him with his grief. Losing a pet is losing a piece of your heart.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. You did a good thing, Irene. I have always believed that a kind act rewards the giver as well as the receiver. Many people do this daily, but regrettably, some never do. They just don’t get that very important message!

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Barbara Marincel says:

    Beautiful story. You have a wonderful heart…that’s a lovely, deeply human, connection the two of you made. Such a simple gesture but it made all the difference. It’s so rare in our society that we are willing to journey with another through their grief. Thanks for sharing your story!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you Barbara. I hadn’t seen it as something out of the ordinary – I thought most people would do the same – but from his reaction I gathered it possibly wasn’t normal and I hoped by writing that it might awaken the compassionate side of those that would have avoided the situation.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Barbara Marincel says:

        I think the more we share stories like this, the less people in similar situations will hang back because they are unsure if it’s “okay” to offer that kind of comfort and support. But just imagine what our world..our country…our neighborhoods would be like if everyone responded from the heart!

        Liked by 1 person

      • You have expressed Barbara exactly the reason why I posted something that normally I would have kept quite private and I hope that perhaps it will have that effect even if only in some small way.

        Liked by 1 person

  7. You are truly a Blessing. Like an Angel that appeared at just the right time. I understand how the man felt because my cat Weezer died Dec. 22nd right before Christmas. Fortunately I still have my other cat Sylvester and my brother Stephen spent the holidays with me. Still a pet loss is very painful. God Bless you for your compassion and understanding. ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Deborah. I’m sorry about Weezer. A pet loss is hard because they are a constant part of your life and they leave a huge hole. That is why I was surprised at the man’s reaction – I had thought that we would all show compassion. I hope we would.


  8. What a lovely thing you did, Irene, just being you.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Lisa Reiter says:

    This is a lovely story Irene. Such a lovely insight to the sort of person you are. A nice hug to start my day and a smile 😀


  10. Norah says:

    What a warm compassionate act, Irene. I’m sure there are many others who would have just walked by. One small act can change the world – for someone.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Corina says:

    Sometimes I wish there were someone around to give me a hug. I’m sure you worked wonders for that man and I can certainly understand why he was so thankful.

    Liked by 1 person

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