For those of you who do not know, I have an elderly dog named Barnaby. He is around twelve years old, sleeps A LOT, and is generally quirky. Case and point, he is absolutely terrified of his water bowl.
You heard me right... he is afraid of the key source to his survival. Trust me, I have tried switching the bowl, it makes little difference. This dog will pant heavily in the living room after a long walk, clearly parched for water, and he will not touch his water bowl. But, if you let him outside in the back yard, he will drink out of a dirty puddle or a clogged drainage pipe any day. What!? I literally will smack my forehead over his shenanigans.
Pets can be a hassle, take up our time, and are sometime just down right weird. But, they are our secret weapon when we neighbor. Without Barnaby, I would have never met a single neighbor when I was back in Dallas. Nearly every neighbor I have met on my street so far in Wichita has been because of Barnaby. My next door neighbors? Barnaby jumping out of the car and running over to them. My neighbor down the street? Barnaby drinking out of her gutter. The guy a few streets over? Well he does not know my name, but he knows Barnaby.
Pets are natural block connects, whether the know it or not. Yesterday, I realized it does not even have to be your own pet that helps you meet a neighbor. I was on a jog Thursday morning and saw a dog in front of me. I slowed down a little bit because I was not sure if it was "friendly" or "unfriendly." That ultimately did not matter, because it ran up on to its owners porch as I got closer.
As I passed the house, I heard a voice ask from across the street, "Is that your dog?" I turn to see a small boy with his backpack, on his way to school. "No it's not mine, I am not sure whose it is." I replied. "Well whosever it is, they shouldn't let it run around outside their front yard, " the boy responded. "What is your name?" he asked. The boy and I talked for five more minutes after we both saw this dog. I learned his name, met his brother, and we talked about school. We laughed about how strange dogs can be and then shook hands as we said goodbye.
Pets can bring us together in surprising and unexpected ways. They are good at helping us to meet others, especially when we do not want to meet anyone because we are too "busy." So, be grateful for your funny furry friends, they bear a surprising gift that can open us to new relationships.