“Pick up the battle and make it a better world”

A few weeks ago, my nephew Mitchel was walking their small family dog, Barney (pictured here in all his cuteness).

They took their normal route around the village, which included walking through fields and woodland. Plenty of other dog walkers do the same in this beautiful part of England. Unfortunately, one of those walkers did not keep their dog properly under control and it attacked poor Barney, resulting in the need for a trip to the vet, who prescribed antibiotics to ward off infection. Perhaps more significantly, the episode traumatised Mitchel, causing him great distress and undermining his confidence in going out for a walk.

My sister posted a concerned message on Facebook, warning friends and family about this aggressive dog. She received lots of sympathy and a few suggestions about possible next steps. What none of us expected, however, was the following reply:

“I am so sorry Rachel. It was our dog who went after your little dog with no provocation at all. I still don’t know why and I can’t apologise enough. Your son was crying and so was I. All dogs are off the leads in the woods so they can have a good run. Please let us have your vet’s bill. We live in [X] and everyone knows us. Please forgive us. We were at the School sports last week and you were wonderful. XXX”

How very brave of the owner to come forward like this. How easy it would have been for them simply to stay silent. Instead, Rachel was able to thank them very much for speaking up, and very importantly was able to help Mitchel to recover from the incident.

The owner’s actions reminded me of the following short but powerful video, full of wise advice from Dr Maya Angelou. (This is part of a series filmed for the Oprah Winfrey Network, another edition of which I featured in this post.)

In just three words, Dr Angelou gives us an unbeatable way to assess how we should behave in life. I have watched this video a few times now, and I love the way in which Dr Angelou articulates a potentially complex philosphy in such straightforward and undeniable terms.

I think most of us know, in our gut, how to act in a way which chimes with our core values. Of course, for myriad reasons, we don’t always take the decision to follow through on that action. But we often know in our heart that we should/could have chosen differently. How much better, then, to take the ‘right’ course in the first place. As Dr Angelou says, such action will ‘satisfy your soul’; it will enable you to engage with the world on your terms and make it better.

The dog owner in my sister’s case has done exactly that. Bravo to her for doing so, and for setting us all an excellent example.




15 thoughts on ““Pick up the battle and make it a better world”

  1. Oh, Liz! A wonderful life-affirming post that inspires us to seek positive outcomes and live life in the best way possible. The one quote that I take with me always is this one: “I did then what I knew how to do. Now that I know better, I do better.” Maya Angelou

    Liked by 2 people

  2. That is wonderful and just wonderfully honest to reply , apologize and pay the vet bill. There are some people out there with a big heart. Hope the little dog is ok and Mitchel is feeling better too.

    Liked by 1 person

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        Liked by 1 person

  3. That’s an amazing story, about the dogs–I am so impressed with that impulse to ‘fess up and do the right thing. It *should* be the commonplace but I’m afraid most people would’ve either become defensive and aggressive themselves, or just laid low and avoided responsibility.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I’m so glad he’s going to be okay and the owner came forward! Two of the tenants in one of the sheltered housing schemes where I work have recently had run-ins with other dogs off their leads, allowed out in the village by themselves. In one case the owner took the brunt of the injuries by intervening, and needed hospital treatment, but the other it was the little dog that was hurt, and amazingly pulled through the most awful injuries (costing his owner thousands of pounds). What struck me about your piece was how closely it echoed what they had said to me about their trauma on behalf of their dogs, and how they had to make themselves go out for walks again as soon as it was possible, and not let the fear of it happening again alter their lives. Just so glad all the little dogs and people are okay!

    Liked by 1 person

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