Maybe it is not just humans who prefer a quiet life. Here is a lovely story of Cooper the dog and his new friend Jasper. Thank you to Theresa Smith who has written this story especially for the SI Network.
Cooper just adores to meet new dogs on his walks. He bounds over to canine strangers and wants to say hello, engage them and hopefully play. He knows he is a bit bolshy with his intentions and - over time - he has learnt that not everyone appreciates his forceful approach.
Jasper isn’t like feisty Cooper. He likes the quiet. He likes peace. Noise makes him agitated and he gets jumpy if something happens unexpectedly. He sees other dogs proudly wearing their colourful collars and wonders why, when he has to wear his, he finds it so itchy and uncomfortable.
Sometimes all his senses become overloaded and he can’t deal very well with how he is feeling. He barks or lashes out because he’s confused and scared. Luckily his owner understands how he feels and gently helps him with soothing words, removing noises and turning off bright lights. He also enjoys and feels calmed by getting stroked nice and firmly because lightly stroked feels tickly and unpleasant.
This is who Jasper is, so he seeks out a calmer world and avoids things that make him feel stressed.
But just because Cooper and Jasper have different preferences with interaction, doesn’t mean they can’t be friends. Cooper understands he needs to be less barky and full on, so as not to make Jasper uncomfortable. They spend time together not playing the active and loud Chase Me game, but in more sedate pursuits. They like to amble through the sides of the large field hunting out woodland smells and debris. Nothing wrong with that.
In fact, Cooper thinks it’s quite nice to have a change of pace.
What can you learn from your dog?
We are all different and it’s great to have a variety of friends. If you’re the sort who loves loud, busy gigs with loads of buddies, keep a beady eye out for those who turned down the invite. Would they appreciate a one-on-one lunch time meet up instead? We have more than one gear, so move up or down to meet your friends’ level and enrich your life with those varied experiences.
See more from Theresa at The Barklife Way: life lessons from a dog.
Note: This story has been written by a non-therapist. If you are looking for a Sensory Integration therapist, you can see some useful information here.