Morning Dog Walk Day Bazillionteen
Dave stopped abruptly and bent over. What initially appeared to be a thick twig in the road at second glance became an alligator lizard, badly injured with two violent red gashes in its tail. Maybe it had escaped the claws of a neighborhood cat. More likely a hawk had snatched it and Lizard wriggled out of its talons, dropping to the road.
Nudging its side with his finger, Dave asked if it was still alive. Lizard arched defensively, understandably angry. I offered to take the dog leashes but Dave said he could manage. The dogs, surprisingly unfazed by our pause, didn’t even notice Lizard.
As Dave gently scooped it up in one hand, Lizard whipped its long neck around and bit Dave’s finger. Quietly he responded, “Yah, that’s okay. You can bite me. You’re hurt, I get it.” Like he would comfort a squalling infant. He took a few steps off the road and placed Lizard in some ivy, sufficient plant cover to hide it while it (hopefully) recovers in what must look to a small being like a jungle with a thick canopy of foliage.
Most people would have stepped around Lizard and continued on their way. On my own, I would have. That’s not how my guys roll, though. While this was an unusual encounter, it was not out of our ordinary.
What stands out to me, however, is that Dave didn’t even flinch when Lizard bit him. He allowed his own momentary pain for the sake of moving Lizard to safety. If only it were so easy with people.
Lizard’s injuries were obvious. The wounds most people carry are not.
If more of us could learn to respond with gentleness to the bites of others, understanding that they are acting out their pain, what a different world we’d live in. I’m not advocating that we allow abuse or become martyrs, but that we try to learn (for most of us it’s not a natural response) to take a deep breath. To handle others carefully. To move everyone a few steps toward safety.
Just a thought.