Who am I?

Some time ago now, I wrote a Post * which covered a number of circumstances where people demonstrate that, while they are clearly very interested in learning about any dog they meet, they display little or no interest in the dog’s owner! They ask questions about the dog, but don’t even ask the owner’s name. Many people know Ray’s name , but I am just “Ray’s Dad” …. if I have a name at all!

When Ray takes me/us to OMHS**, the visits are generally predictable. He goes in and makes eye contact with the counter staff immediately. If they are busy, he will simply put his front paws up on the top of the reception counter and stare. He gets a huge smile and “Hello Ray. It’s nice to see you again. Would you like a treat?” which of course simply confirms that his approach works.

Various other staff and volunteers would pass by with “Hi Ray! How are you? You’re looking really good.” Then of course there would be an individual, probably a volunteer, who does not know Ray but other staff introduce him and, after a brief petting “He’s a lovely dog. His fur is so soft.” Then one of the trainers would pass by on her way somewhere “Oh Ray. I haven’t seen you for a while. You look really good. Would you like a treat?” On a number of occasions, Ray has shown excitement at seeing somebody that we do not know. Invariably it has been a volunteer dog walker who used to take him out regularly during his time as an OMHS resident.

This is a typical visit. Most people working there either know him directly, or at least know about him. Even visitors, who are simply contemplating adopting an animal, see Ray and often ask if they can touch him! It should be stressed that he has been taking us there on a regular basis for the past 2 years (with the exception of his forced home confinement for health reasons) so it really is not surprising that they are so familiar with him.

In addition to Ray’s frequent desire to take us there so that he can see his friends, we have also steered him in that direction so that we can talk with the trainers, or perhaps buy something from the OMHS store, or perhaps just to make a donation to them.

I am rather hoping you are now getting the picture that OMHS would appear to be a second home to Ray, with all the friends, attention, and treats that a home could provide. Knowing that every time Ray has visited them I have been with him, you can probably imagine my surprise with the following situation.

A few days ago, all three of us visited OMHS and I bought some rolls of poop bags from them, together with a small fundraising shamrock leaf. When the receptionist/assistant was just about to write my name on the shamrock leaf she suddenly looked up at me and said “I’m sorry. I know Ray well but I have no idea what your name is!”

I guess I perpetuated my identity crisis by simply suggesting that she puts Ray’s name on it! Did she then ask me for my name anyway? No!

I rest my case!

*Doggone Etiquette – Jan 1, 2015

**Oakville & Milton Humane Society

13 thoughts on “Who am I?

  1. I’m guilty as well. When we moved to a new neighborhood a year and a half ago, I met several dogs on leashes but couldn’t begin to tell you the human’s names.
    However I’m used to the treatment. My daughter played sports all throughout school, so I was pretty much known as “Asia’s mom.” When she grew up I figured I would gain my own name, just to find I am now referred to as Ray and Julius’ mom.

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    • You are correct. I guess somewhere in our “progress”(?), we have developed a deep insecurity about this social aspect. As a child, I was brought up with the “don’t talk to strangers” rule, which I totally ignored because I was very independent and needed assistance occasionally! Clearly I survived!

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      • I’ve never understood the ‘don’t talk to strangers’ thing – obviously, it is important to talk to strangers in many situations. Not just police officers or people who you may need help from, but waiters, people in shops, etc. And what about other kids on the playground? They’re strangers (then again, I’m pretty sure most kids never get to play unsupervised these days, so perhaps they never do need to talk to other kids or strangers).

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        • Yes it really doesn’t make sense, but I suspect that it was never meant to be taken literally. We were certainly not discouraged from talking to officials, shopkeepers and other kids. This was in the late 1950’s/early 1960’s when perceptions were very different from today. Immediate post-war Britain was a “different” place to be brought up in!

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  2. I’m guilty. I remember the dog’s name, but rarely the owner’s, though once I know it, I rarely forget.
    On our walks in Lincolnshire, the dogs recognised me and the biscuit pocket, or should I say the biscuit pocket attached to me, but few people knew us by name. Ho hum!!

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  3. I can understand this! I have no excuse, however I’ll offer my explanation. I sux at names! Although Ray does have a human name, I tend to remember a noun rather than a proper noun. My Oreo looks like an Oreo. Easily remembered.
    When I’ve forgotten a human name, I usually remember the dog’s and greet the pair with the dogs name. Makes me look like I remembered something!
    There’s no excuse for my lack of memory, however I wanted to offer an answer.
    And of course it’s because Ray is so cute and cuddly that who cares about who’s on the other end of the leash!

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    • It’s a really interesting aspect of human nature. Of course one explanation is that we are hesitant to ask a stranger their name, but feel relatively comfortable inquiring about their dog’s name. The unfortunate side to this is both “you” and the stranger have an immediate connection (the dog) and yet probably never develop a conversation beyond that point. Considering we are inherently social creatures, it seems a little odd!


  4. Huh, Colin (luckily you put your name in your tagline!) – it must be the same all over the world, as that happens here in Australia! I’ve always known other dog walkers by their dogs’ names. Although it’s different now – other dog walkers tend to avoid us and it’s not easy to shout greetings from 100 metres away while your two antisocial nutters are going crazy on the end of their leashes 😉

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  5. 😀 So typical of humans to ignore their own species in favour of dogs. Can’t blame them though, we are fascinating creatures. Keep up the good work at OHMS, Ray!

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