Linda and I pulled into my driveway late Sunday afternoon. We were both tired from our successful time in Maine and Minnesota so when she asked what a dog was doing in my backyard, I wondered if she was seeing things.

DogLookingUpFrom where I was standing, I could see my neighbor’s dog. I thought that was the dog Linda saw. I kept trying to explain that my neighbor has a dog and Linda kept asking things like, “But isn’t there a fence that divides your two yards?” I couldn’t understand why she was so confused.

Then I walked over to where she was to point out what I meant. Then I saw it. A large – large – dog in my yard. My yard!

Linda loves dogs so she marched right up to it. I stayed further back. My neighbor came out to tell us she saw it in my yard often while I was gone. Such a mystery.

When Linda reached over the fence to try to look at the dog’s tag, he jumped away. He clearly wanted to play. But, he was very obedient so he did settle down. Linda was able to hold the tag long enough to read me his name and the phone number.

Before Linda left to go home, she tried to give Blake some water, but again, he was much more interested in playing. We were surprised, assuming he would be both hungry and thirsty if he had been dumped in my yard. He did eventually drink the water we poured into a bowl. Then he played with the bowl.

I called and left a message with the dog’s owner and waited for a phone call as I ran quickly to the post office. I was hopeful. Eager. Anxious. Watching the clock. I would have felt desperate, but Linda promised to come get the dog if I didn’t hear from the owner.

Phone rang.

While on the phone beginning to explain the circumstances, I walked toward my backyard only to discover the dog wasn’t there. I was confused. But, while talking with the owner, I walked into the yard and noticed the dog and two others in a small backyard that shares about 8 feet of fence with my yard. As the woman explained she and her family weren’t home, I watched as the large dog dug at the dirt and slithered under the fence and back into my yard. Noticing me, he wanted to play. I didn’t!

Mystery solved.

The timing was great since I could explain what was going on. The woman promised they’d be home soon and we hung up. Soon I noticed a second dog in the yard. They played and romped and walked between the bushes and my picture window to take turns staring at me.
About an hour later, I heard someone call the dogs and they were quickly gone. I haven’t seen them since.

I’ve reflected often on this encounter.

First, how often might miscommunication be due to seeing different things or perspectives? Might arguments be prevented if one of us just moved to make sure we were seeing the same thing?

Linda and I kept going back and forth. We started many of our statements and questions, “Yes, but….” It took me moving to see what she was seeing for me to understand.

Second, Blake needed to play and run around. Linda and I believe he escaped his small, crowded yard so he could run around in my much larger yard. He needed space. He needed activity.

I just returned from some speaking events where I talked about the value of today’s children playing with each other and their parents rather than just sitting and using technology. Frankly I can get concerned about children who don’t play enough. I wonder if some would like to escape their environments for better playgrounds much like Blake did. Do some want parents more available to play with? Let’s look around and see if changes should be made. Then, let’s make them!