The other day I pulled into my favorite deli-style restaurant for a bite of lunch. I walked in, and was very pleased to see there was only one other person ahead of me in line ~ pleased because I was H U N G R Y, and with only one person ahead of me, the line would move quickly and I would be able to enjoy my lunch.
Wrong. The young woman ahead of me was talking on her cellphone and couldn’t be bothered with the man behind the counter as he was trying to take her order. Nor could she be bothered with what I thought was the perfectly civilized action of inviting me to go ahead while she finished her conversation.
No, she managed to hold up the workers in the deli and me and the people who were now forming a rather lengthy line behind me. I found myself thinking very uncharitable thoughts about this young woman, her cellphone, and whoever she was talking to, and realized that oblivious cellphone people is one of my top pet peeves.
As soon as I thought ‘pet’ peeves, I began to wonder what a pet peeve looks like from a pet’s perspective. When I returned home, I asked my animal companions and received these replies:
- My horse Shiloh: “Just because you’re human and it’s your idea, that doesn’t always constitute a good idea.”
- Teddy, my 16 year old perpetual puppy: “You opened the car door, I jumped in, and now you’re telling me to get out? I don’t think so.”
- Pookie Princess, a deceased cat: “Why did I have to live with that overly enthusiastic dog?”
- Billy, my 8 year old cat: “You didn’t tell me I was going to have to stay at the vet all day.”
In the volunteer work I do at a local humane society, a lot of the animals tell me they are miffed by not being included in discussions that directly affect them or procedures which are done upon them. They say they are usually the last to know what is happening to them, even though they are the ones most affected. I also hear frustration from some of the animals because we humans don’t follow examples they set specifically for us. For instance, during one stressful week at the shelter, the dogs were perplexed because the humans were not following their examples of ‘watch and observe’. The dogs said the humans were making it harder on themselves “by not watching us watch and observe. It is only by watching and observing that you can truly see what is happening around you and respond to it”.
I wonder if a pet peeve from the pet’s perspective is actually an invitation for us to change something – perhaps an uncomfortable situation or a knee-jerk response? Could a pet’s peeve actually be a learning opportunity for us? Could the pet be acting as our teacher, if only we are willing to listen?
I don’t have the answer, but the next time your pet is obviously peeved about something, take a moment to dig a little deeper and find out what is really going on, and what he is trying to communicate to you through the pet peeve.