The Price you Pay for Writing Online

I really didn’t expect my most recent post about guide dogs to receive such attention. I always feel a vague sense of confusion when I see that people are visiting my blog, sharing my posts and discussing them.

Dog ownership is a really contentious issue. I suppose a lot of things like that are, just put an Apple fan and a Microsoft fan in the same room and they might well kill each other! I knew when I wrote the post that a lot of people wouldn’t agree with me. Many people I’ve spoken to absolutely love the attention getting a dog brings. They tell me they feel less awkward because instead of having to worry about receiving help and trying to find them, normally people will approach them directly. I think that’s great, really. It definitely isn’t how I feel but just because it doesn’t reflect my experience doesn’t mean it’s not a valid viewpoint.

I write this blog as a look into my life. I definitely don’t represent anyone other than myself, and I hope that people recognise that. I actually enjoy the disagreements that come up, or should I say interacting with people with differing views to mine. Often, people who cope well with something now didn’t always, so receiving advice can be helpful, and I’m open to trying anything. Having said that, there’s definitely a difference between disagreeing with someone and getting personal. You can say that you think the pros of dog ownership out way the cons, and even that you think I’m a little crazy to even be considering not getting another dog. I’m pretty sure a lot of people think like that, and there isn’t anything wrong with that.

But some of the comments I’ve received deal with my ability to care for my dog, and whether I even deserve one. Firstly, I work my dog. I shouldn’t have to justify it to anyone, but seeing as people are beginning to question it, and I have absolutely nothing to hide I’m happy to talk about it. I work Isla every day. When I was in Spain I naturally worked her across town to get to school. My school was in the centre of the city and I lived at the university out of town. Back home, we go to town, shopping, out with family, just wherever really. I groom her regularly, measure how much food I give her, make sure she has toys, a bed that she likes, can go in the garden to play. She visits the vets every 6 months for a routine check-up, and sometimes more often if I need to pick something up or get her claws cut.

Not liking an aspect of dog ownership has nothing to do with my actual dog. I was talking about how the general public feel, not how my dog makes me feel. As far as I’m concerned they are totally separate, and I’m really disappointed that some other dog owners can’t see that. Criticising the attention I receive does not reflect my view of Isla. I’m the kind of person who loves to be alone. I dislike being the centre of everything, especially when strangers are involved. I would feel this way whether I used a cane or a dog, unfortunately owning a dog means people like to approach you. I hope that people can actually think about what they are saying when they choose to comment. Yes, I write publicly, so people have the right to say what they want, but I wish they would also inform themselves first.

Think of it like this. If you were a new mother and needed to go out and buy groceries and people kept asking you how old your baby was, what his or her name was you might not like it. Some parents love chatting about their kids, others just want to buy the bread and milk and go home. They are busy, working to a tight schedule and just don’t have time for all of that. Or maybe they are naturally more reserved, and so the attention makes them feel a little uncomfortable. That doesn’t make them bad parents, they are still caring for their child, they are still happy that they have a child. But they don’t enjoy all the questions. People are different, and so because one person likes it doesn’t mean another will, or should.

Thanks to everyone who has both agreed and disagreed with me. I really enjoy reading your comments, it doesn’t matter whether you think my viewpoint is the right one or not, it’s interesting for me to read about other people’s experiences, after all that’s partly why I keep a blog. Most of you have not tried to put words in my mouth, or make assumptions about my ability to take care of my dog, so thank you for that.

  1. Flash Bristow left a comment on June 16, 2015 at 11:48 am

    Hi Holly, me again!

    Wow, I’m shocked that anyone might question your ability to care for a dog. I never would. Partly cos I figure that Guide Dogs have got that covered (wouldn’t let anyone have a dog if they can’t look after it) and partly cos *it’s none of my business*. I hope I’ve never inadvertently given that impression. Judgy people are rude (News at Eleven!)

    I think you’ve done well to identify that at least people are reading. I have a saying that it’s no good being the nicest person in the world if no one knows you exist. First, I want people to know who I am – only then do I worry about whether they like me or not!

    You’ve got people talking, and thinking, and that’s a good skill to have. I enjoy your blog, so please don’t feel you have to second guess yourself – keep on writing honestly 🙂

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