hugging the hug


Photo from “Your Dog Hates Hugs.”

I made an FB rant in response to handsome TV celebrity vet Chris Brown’s post refuting the recent news going around that dogs actually do not like being hugged.

A hug is not the same as soft cuddling, stroking, snuggling.

A handsome TV celebrity vet may be attractive but he is not always right.

It is dangerous and yes, even harmful, to push personal agenda over that of our animals and indeed even the neurologically differently wired.

Chris Brown says very wisely, “If you see wide eyes, ears that are down… etc…” Yes, agree… but when you are hugging (remember hugging is not the same as cuddling, stroking, snuggling) how can you see any accurate signs of these? Besides, you will be too emotionally centred to want to be observing, wouldn’t you? Isn’t that the whole basis of hugging?

Is it not time to consider – yes, just merely stop a moment and consider – the paradigm of the other Being that we say we so adore and love, to find out whether their modalities for affection are being properly recognised, alongside our own?

I hate hugging humans, but they make me hug them anyway – they even have ABA ‘scientifically proven methods’ that make people like me learn to appear normal and like hugging etc, and we comply because why? We wish to please and we don’t want to be beaten down anymore, that is all. BUT… I would LOVE for this so-called ‘non-scientific’ observation to be wrong, because I love to hug my Lucy, she’s the only one I want to hug. But I know there is grave truth in the concept that dogs do not really like being hugged. Because I can feel her muscles. And I have hugged many of my family dogs. Enough to know that I have made a practice of ignoring them since age 5. Luckily, I was not bitten. Just because one celebrity vet tells you it is ok, then it is science? What about the many many non-celebrity vets who tell you otherwise, from their own experiences?

How does your dog like to show affection, without prompting? Lucy likes to lick me. I do not like it much, but there is some comfortable compromise to be made. Lucy likes to paw at me, and ask me to stroke her ears, while looking at me intently. I am not keen on looking in the eye much, so I look away after some time. I want to hug her, and she endures it for my sake, but I now minimise it because I can feel her muscles subtly tightening, even though I cannot literally see those things that Chris Brown says to look out for – because when you are hugging someone/dog/cat you just cannot see those things, can you? Anyway…. long rant…

All I am saying is, please, people, try to look at those you profess to love from their native modality. Try. Just try. I still get it wrong. Lucy is a patient teacher. I am not a very good learner. But I want to keep trying with an open mind. That is ALL I am saying. That there are possible paradigms that are not our own, and I just want to explore those from within Otherness, rather than insisting on my own needs and my own concepts. If that is pushing my own agenda, then it is true. My agenda is to try and learn from the modalities of the neurologically differently wired from myself, while at the same time persuading the normative social community to try and step into my different paradigm.

This was on my own FB space. But the Bunny had previously offered a frank opinion on a friend’s repost, and got promptly accused of pushing my own barrow, and then the thread was deleted. I respect my friend’s right to do so. It is, after all, a personal FB wall and he is entitled to his opinion. I actually thought we were having a nice intellectual debate, I failed to see how intensely he disliked it, and I guess I was being insensitive in that instance.

No, I will not stop being honest with my thoughts, but I will from henceforth try to be more sensitive about dishing my thoughts out in this way to this particular friend’s personal FB space. The lesson I learned (and continue to learn with each new experience) is exactly the same lesson that I am trying to convey: let’s make effort to empathise with Other from their native framework, instead of our own. So, now I realise my friend does not like this kind of disagreement and does not see my intellectual discourse as what it is intended to be, I am responsible for putting a lid on it, after all, it is his space. I will refrain – cease and desist – henceforth. (Different scenario if it were my space.)

We do need to keep wanting to learn. Empathy is an Endeavour. That was my whole point where it came to my comments re. the dog-hugging argument anyway – but people who are too emotionally heated up tend not to perceive logic in a … well… logical way. And yes, fact is, in this framework of emotionality or emotion-focusing, the babbling autistic does indeed come across as irritating, annoying and “pushing our own barrows” (steamrolling really). How do we strike a good compromise? I do not know for sure, but I am learning from Lucy. She is a patient teacher. Maybe I will learn enough to apply it better to my human interactions? Go, Lucy Angel!


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