All Sentiment and Tender Heart

I’m often told I’m not dog friendly or pet friendly in general. Well, on this occasion I would like to say publicly that it is true, I am not, only, I would like to point out that I don’t actually feel this sense of aversion towards animals in particular, but rather towards their owners. I know that for many of them a dog, for example, may represent the company, the friend they need or for somebody even a child. It is family, I understand, but what you have to understand as well that for me it is only a dog: an animal. Therefore, I am annoyed when they are without a leash and run freely in the street: “Don’t you worry, it is harmless” said to me smiling a pit bull owner once, while that delicate beast was on the point of attacking a paralyzed me. Harmless? How should I know it? Furthemore, I don’t like to see dogs in places where food is sold or served like bars, markets or restaurants.

I remember one day Mr Run and I were in a restaurant, when a couple with a beautiful, big, majestic dog arrived. Everybody welcomed it with common deserved admiration and it did receive our praise too, till we saw that the couple and their dog approach the table near ours and sat there. We couldn’t say anything as that restaurant allowed dogs in. By the way, I couldn’t but laugh, when I was saw the hairy tail of the dog at least half a meter long wagging and tickling the head of my husband while he was about to eat. On one side it was hilarious but on the other it was irritating as for the couple that was a normal behaviour. We had been totally ignored. Of course, we had to say to them to place their lovely beast somewhere else far from our heads at least.

Animal lovers are used to flooding their Facebook walls with lovely pictures of their pets which usually receive hundreds of likes and sweet, heartwarming comments. These people are loving and caring indeed, in fact, every time they come across some little foundlings they are organised in a way to find the little creatures nurturing and a house as soon as possible. That is why I felt enraged when on one of these walls I read this post :

“If I land in any foreign airport and I do not have the documents in order I cannot put my feet out of the airport. Nobody tells me that I am held prisoner. You cannot enter any foreign country ignoring the rules. This must also be applied to the illegal migrants of the ship”Diciotti”.

Wow, so the fact that nearly 200 people, who had been rescued from the Mediterranean on 15 August and trapped on the Italian ship Diciotti in Catania in terrible unhealthy conditions, as Italy’s Interior Minister Matteo Salvini had denied the coastguard vessel permission to disembark the majority of them until the EU would agree to distribute the migrants across other countries, could not arouse any feeling of compassion in them or shame, because as Italian I feel deeply ashamed .

This reminded me or some lines from the Prologue of The Canterbury Tales when Chaucer describes the moves and the attitude of the Prioress:

“As for her sympathies and tender feelings,
She was so charitably solicitous
She used to weep if she but saw a mouse
Caught in a trap, if it were dead or bleeding.
And she had little dogs she would be feeding
With roasted flesh, or milk, or fine white bread.
And bitterly she wept if one were dead
Or someone took a stick and made it smart,
She -was all sentiment and tender heart”

Of course “She -was all sentiment and tender heart” with her animals, but Chaucer doesn’t say anything about human beings. Maybe he forgot about it.


17 thoughts on “All Sentiment and Tender Heart

  1. I am blind and a guide dog owner. My working guide/assistance dog helps me to navigate safely and under UK law (the Equalities Act) its illegal to refuse to admit a visually impaired person to restaurants and other food premises when accompanied by their working guide dog. The dog is trained to lie quietly under the table so does not cause a nuisance to other dinners. I suspect that you may have similar legislation in Italy? It would be wrong to ban guide dogs from restaurants and similar places as by so doing one would be restricting the mobility/independence of the blind assistance dog owner.

    I understand that not everyone likes dogs. However my present dog, Trigger has prevented me from walking out into oncoming vehicles on more occasions than I can remember. He is also very affectionate and loyal so the bond is not merely one of servant and master, but more one of friends.

    Generally I agree that when push comes to shove that people are more important than animals. However in the case of a choice of saving a mass murderer or child killer from a burning building and saving my dog, I would. In all honesty save my dog. But where there to be an innocent child in that same burning building I would, I hope save the child and let my dog take it’s chances.

    All the best – Kevin

    • Dear Kevin, as I said in the post I perfectly uderstand the peculiar nature of the affection that grows between a dog / cat and its owner, let alone when that dog is also the guard to your safety, freedom , independence and I respect it . What I cannot tolerate is the total indifference to the feelings of those who are not used to sharing their daily lives with an animal. As you said you dog is trained to lie quietly under the table but there are others which are allowed to dust the heads of nearby customers with their tails as it happened to us and I can draw a list of rude behavior I witness every day. Were people respectful, civil, there would not be any need of laws or fines, we could live happily together: men, women and…..dogs.

      • I agree with you that, in the ideal world there would be no need of laws.

        As a responsible dog owner, it causes me great annoyance when other dog owners allow their dogs to walk (unleashed) on the public pavements. Recently a lady and her dog passed by me and her dog (which was not on aleash) distracted my working guide dog. So, even amongst we dog lovers there exists irritation regarding those dog owners who refuse to properly control their four-legged friends.

        I agree with the person who drew a comparison between children and dogs. I also like children and understand that they get bored (particularly very young children). I have lost count of the number of times when I’ve been in a restaurant, pub or similar and a young child has begun to scream at the top of it’s lungs. The responsible parents (if they are unable to soothe the child quickly), take it into a rest room or somewhere else away from other customers until the screaming ceases. Unfortunately the inconsiderate parents simply stay in the eatery/pub etc allowing their child to continue to cause a disturbance. I sympathise with young children who easily get bored tired (I and everyone else has been young once) and I blame the parents and not the children.

        Best – Kevin

  2. I understand that everybody does not like animals, but as an animal lover I have a responsibility not to let my dogs lose anywhere where people can get annoyed or afraid. I keep my dogs on a leash and let them free in the forest and fields, and on the beach without people. You can never say “he’s not dangerous, don’t worry”. I learned a good lesson with one of my collegues who is not afraid of dogs – but allergic.
    Restaurants that allow dogs are not very many here in Sweden – which I think is a shame. During summers it would be great to be able to sit outdoors and eat with my dog on a leash. Dogs cannot stay in the car when it is hot. And you could reserve special corners outdoors for people with dogs. At least in Sweden millions of people are dog owners. I think we are discriminated in some ways. Good that you wrote on the subject.
    And I agree with Kevin as well.

    • You named one of them Totti πŸ˜’, if I remember well. If everybody had your responsible behavior, there would not be any problems. A dog owner should think that a person could be afraid , allergic or simply uneasy with a dog nearby while eating.By the way, whenever I say this I am considered unfeeling. πŸ™†

  3. Much of what you say about dogs I also apply to kids (all the way until they are adults).

    Namely, I opted not to have kids. Mind you, I like both kids and dogs but I opted to have neither for a very good reason . . . I don’t want the bother. You can imagine how I then feel when someone else’s dogs or kids intrude in my life.

    I also agree that any displeasure I have with various encounters is always directed at the owners or the parents.

    Basically, as far as I can tell, the vast majority of parents and dog owners have little consideration for others and they are also the ones with unruly kids and dogs. Considerate people would keep a muzzle on both dogs and kids.

    I do have a solution for restaurants . . . have the kids walk the dogs while the parents and dog owners eat their meals in the restaurant.

    • Sometimes I wonder whether you actually are my twin brother who lives on the other side of the world, Emilio. That is exactly the reason why we didn’t want children and I love them, after all I have chosen to be a teacher.

      • I do have a half-sister somewhere but you’d have to have been born in Yugoslavia (now Slovenia).

        Melisa and I both like children and are actually very good with them (and also dogs; we’ve been sitters for both when friends had other obligations or went on vacation) but didn’t have the desire for a life-long commitment to that kind of responsibility.

  4. I’d like to think one could have compassion for humans and animals simultaneously. After all, humans are animals, even if they’re not as cute and cuddly as kittens… πŸ˜‰

  5. I know a lot of responsible dog owners, and I know some for whom their pets are child substitutes. But I too get aerated by owners who are oblivious to other people’s reasonable requirements for privacy, hygiene or convenience. They seem to have left their functioning rational brains in a jar in a locked locked room!

    1. The owners who say ‘They’re only being friendly!’ when their pet runs up to you and jumps up:
    I wonder what they’d say if their child put their muddy hands on my trousers or took a sniff at my crotch.

    2. The owners who bag up their pet’s faecal matter and hang it on a tree by the path:
    They’ve got half the message, that dog faeces causes toxicaria, but not the other half, which is that plastic doesn’t biodegrade. That’s not to forget that, bagged or not, it’s an eyesore.

    3. The people who let their dog poo on the public footpath and, particularly, outside our front door:
    Imagine their disgust if I suggested allowing one of my grandchild to poo in public right where they regularly walked? Or maybe they wouldn’t care…

  6. You have taken the words right out of my mouth, and eloquently so! The humans who are not responsible pet owners, as well as parents who are not responsible for the actions of their annoying children, are really the problem.

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