We see a lot of people on our walks. A lot of dogs, too, but dogs always say hello in one fashion or another. People not so much. As a social animal, this is disturbing. I mean, how much effort does it take to nod or wave or even say something like, “Nice day for a walk.” Even more amazing is that when we say hello, the majority of people don’t respond.
Sometimes they will smile, though rarely. Mostly they just keep walking or looking at their phones with their thumbs madly typing. I don’t mean to complain, but it’s a bit rude, don’t you think?
I beginning to think that dogs have more ways to greet each other than humans and perhaps humans are bored with their greeting options. Well, here are some ideas compliments of my friends and clients from today’s outings.
I suppose it’s silly to start with the most social dog in the bunch, but Monty has a distinct greeting style. When he sees someone, particularly someone walking a dog, his head rising to it’s full height, his bottle-brush tail stands erect, and he marches right over to the person and says, “Why hello there!” It’s truly irresistible and yet still people resist. Monty’s approach is very direct and occasionally it can get him into trouble because not everyone (nor ever dog) likes dogs, particular forward dogs, but still he persists. As the official Canine Historian for the neighborhood, he feels it’s his duty to greet everyone with the same kind of enthusiasm.
Oshi and Perrito
I suppose it’s not fair to lump these two together since they do have very different greeting styles. Perrito’s is more gleeful than Oshi’s as he races up to any and everyone and says, “Don’t you wanna say hello? I wanna say hello. Let’s say hello together at the same time, okay?”
Whereas Oshi holds back and says, “Are you worth saying hello to?” The answer is mostly a “yes” but there are occasions when Oshi would rather ignore the world and just get back home to his warm bed. Still, he makes an attempt, which is something I can’t say for every person I meet.
Rosie is a hesitant greeter, but she greets nonetheless. When she sees someone, particularly someone walking behind her, she stops. I don’t just mean she stops and waits. No, she digs in her paws like fence posts and no matter how hard you pull, Rosie will not budge until she either greets the person properly or they pass her by. That’s when you’ll hear her shyly say, “Hello!” in almost a whisper-like voice. Surprising given the fact that she looks like such a tough girl with her wide face and legs covered with scars.
Gemma is an unpredictable greeter. Generally she loves everyone, but occasionally she wants to pester people, especially people who have dogs. While the majority of these meetings is fun and social, there are times when Gemma decides she wants to bark at a particularly cantankerous dog and then Dog only knows what will happen. But she’s stubborn and she’s strong and it sometimes takes all of our strength to walk away. All the while Gemma is saying, “But I just wanted to say hello. Why can’t I say hell0?”
Zoe is a energetic greeter. She says hello even if no one is around. She walks around saying, “Hello, hello, hello, hello, hello!” like a stuck record. And when someone actually answers back, watch out. Zoe thinks she’s a small dog and really has no awareness of how big she is. She charges forward like a 10 pound puppy, but if you’re on the receiving end, that’s no 10 pounds let me tell you. Still, she doesn’t have a grumpy bone in her body so being greeted by Zoe is like receiving the best furry hug you’ve ever received in your lifetime.
Very much like Zoe, Saber is energetic and happy. On top of which, he’s heavier (if you can believe it) than Zoe so while he bounces around thinking he’s a tiny dog in a gray suit, he’s really a walrus in dog’s clothing. Where Zoe says hello repeatedly, Saber tries out different greetings. “Cheerio,” you can hear him say or “G’ day, mate!” or “Howdy!” or “What’s the haps, dude?” I guess he is still young enough to be trying to figure out his signature greeting.
As for me? Well, contrary to what you might think, I’m a shy guy. I stay back, nod my head hello, and take in the situation. I might sniff you, I might even approach you, but I rarely let you touch me unless I know you really well. It takes about 5 times of greeting me before I decide to be what you might call enthusiastically friendly. And when I really know you and you’ve been included into my circle of close friends, I perform a greeting dance, weaving under your legs and singing, “Oh, I’ve missed seeing you. Hello, dear friend, hello!”
Humans could take some lessons from us, don’t you think?