Recently, I received a call late in the afternoon. It was my husband, and he said that he would be home late that night, and so I decided to venture off on a dog walk without him. I don’t normally do this, in fact, more often than not our dog Mars goes on a walk with my husband alone; and if I go it is a threesome.
Anyway, my Fitbit was short of steps that day and so I decided to venture into another part of the neighbourhood to increase my distance. Mars loves long walks so I was sure he wouldn’t object. About a kilometer away, I am walking in an unfamiliar area for me, and around the bend comes two boys, one about 8 years old and another about 12 years old. The younger one is on a skateboard and the older one is riding a bike. Without missing a beat, both of them see me and Mars, hop off their equipment, vacate it in the street and proceed to start interacting with Mars.
They pet him and talk to him. At first, I feel the need to say things, like, “he’s friendly”. I’m a little nervous, I don’t know their parents, and even though Mars has never snapped at a human ever, it feels strange that they would just snuggle up with a strange dog on the street. But when I look tentative, they say, “Oh, we know Mars, we see him all the time”. One even proceeds to hug and kiss him, and then they say goodbye and they are off on their merry way, talking about him as they leave.
I’ve often said that what Mars is missing in his life is a young boy, and now I know that he isn’t missing anything at all.
Very honestly, Mars is a nice dog. He loves people. He has that golden retriever temperament. He lives for hugs and eye contact and despite his poor initial circumstances (he’s a rescue) he seems very unafraid of strangers. He makes friends everywhere, so much so that I will admit to being jealous of it.
So what is it about interacting with Mars that is so different from what most people tell me is their experience with HR? Why don’t people naturally gravitate to us like they do to him? Why do they feel that it will be a distanced interaction? How come we aren’t fun? And why is it that so many HR folks I know have dogs?