Rosa is my little white doggie. She’s not that different from most humans since all she wants out of life is to be able to curl up in a comfy spot on the couch. Rosa had a little sister who she treated like the brat she could sometimes be. ‘Get this child away from me,’ was the silent scream in Rosa’s eyes. But when Perla died, Rosa cried and cried and wouldn’t eat. So I got her a new playmate. This one is even more playful than the first. Rosa spends most of her time trying to get away from her new sister Marigold, but when they are genuinely separated Rosa cries. See, she only takes social interaction when it is forced on her but when she doesn’t have it she cries. I feel you, Rosa. I’m the same way. If I had my way I would never interact with anyone, but I know if I don’t eventually I will cry.
At the dog park Rosa hides behind me. There are a few moments when she is curious enough about another dog that she forgets that she is afraid. She follows after them for a few paces before scampering back to home base.
Maybe after enough times at the dog park Rosa will gradually become like those well-socialized dogs that run around in packs and chase balls and play with everyone they meet, but not likely. In fact, if she did she would cease to be Rosa. It’s more likely that she’ll grow a little more comfortable but never love dog parks. Maybe ideal social interaction for her is a playmate who is just like her, who wants to cuddle up with her in relative silence while they lick their paws. Or maybe it’s some combination of the two—her becoming a little less afraid, and also finding some friends who are better suited to her. Until then, I keep her sister near but also a little ways off, I am there to swoop her up when she is feeling overwhelmed.
See, I’m like you Rosa. I force myself to socialize but I also need my cosmic handler to be ready to swoop in and rescue me when someone is not playing very nice. Knowing that there’s a force that is looking out for me helps me to keep getting out there. I’m sure I’ll grow gradually over time and learn to enjoy people more, but I won’t become a completely different person. So finding some companions who are easy to be with would also be nice. Maybe I’ll even find someone who wants to cuddle up and people watch and mostly not talk. Hopefully some combination of those things.
Until then we just have to keep at it and keep trying. It will get better, Rosa. Remember there is someone looking out for you and let that give you courage. And just keep trying to like people (and dogs) because staying at home alone and crying sure does suck.