I start my day with an hour of walking Ezra, my husky puppy. It’s a great way to start each day, it gives me some very precious quiet time or the break I need to listen to some podcast episodes.

Sometimes, we run into people. They’re all very excited to see Ezra, since he’s a very cute puppy. Some even lean in, wanting to pet him. But when he doesn’t react, when he just ignores them, they seem flustered, some get even angry… Why doesn’t he stop? Doesn’t he know what I want right now? What’s wrong with him? What kind of dog is this?

In the beginning, I wasn’t quite sure how to react. My initial impulse was to apologize for him, but I quickly got over that, since it really had no effect. Once people feel rejected, even by a dog, they shift to a very strange emotional place. They tend to want to blame evrything and everybody – in this case, the dog and his owner: he wasn’t socialized enough, when little; I need to teach him to be friendly; he must suffer from something. These are all things I heard, in one way or another.

How did we end up here? How can such high expectations be placed on an interaction with a dog? How can someone react like this to not being “the most important thing” in a totally random dog’s eyes? What’s wrong with people?

The sad part is that the answer isn’t that difficult to grasp. We all see it around us, we are living in a “me first” culture, which is slowly shifting to an “only me” world view. Heck, we’ve all embraced some of this new culture’s low hanging fruits, such as those micro-doses of happiness that come from those likes you get. I know I have.

Is there a way to salvation? Is there a way out from this house of mirrors we find ourselves in? Sure: stop being an idiot. When you see a random dog, don’t assume you are his one and only master, just because you’re a human. It doesn’t work like that. Dogs will reward you with kindness and attention, if you offer them kindness and attention. You know, just like with everybody else in your life.

But even then, in the mornings they will be busy with other things.

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