Please Be Mindful…

February 27, 2012

… sometimes well-intentioned advice can be very insensitive.

The cause of my rant today is actually because of a stranger. Last summer, DH and I would walk Cassie as much as possible. Many in our neighborhood came out to see her and ask how she was doing. They would also ask how the girls were handling the situation. Cassie was an ambassador to the end for greyhound retirement/rescue, whatever you want to call it. One gentlemen we enjoyed seeing because he is a woodworker like DH. He was familiar with greyhounds through a friend. With the gorgeous weather today this gentleman was out so I thought I’d take Crook and Heddie to meet him. He first asked if we had gone with a local group and I said no, it worked out that another group had the greys we wanted. Then he said to me, “I told my friend about you and he was very concerned that you may not have had all the information to make the right decision–there is so much they can do for them.”

I wasn’t upset with the neighbor. I was upset with the other greyhound owner. It is a very personal decision and yes, we had all the information available to us (from a vet that promotes and supports at least one of the local groups). We made the best decision for OUR greyhound and OUR family.

But don’t we all do it? The unsolicited parenting or health advice. We’re all perfect parents until we have children. Or we have a friend who has that exact same condition so we feel qualified to tell you exactly what you should be doing. I am so guilty of this. (I swear by cinnamon and chromium, btw.) Maybe we should be spending more time just listening rather than speaking, unless actually asked for our advice. And even then, if the experts cannot agree or see a condition in the same light, take it all with a grain of salt and respect the decisions and opinion of your friends.

We should keep quiet especially if we are perfect strangers or have no personal experience (knowing someone who has a condition or is going through a similar situation really does NOT count). I was having a private conversation in a library and was asked how I was progressing with the PsA (btw, with all the drug information pamphlets I get on a daily basis now I have learned the correct abbreviation is PsA … I have no idea what disease is PA) and a total stranger felt compelled to give me advice on what supplements I should be taking for arthritis. My rhuematologist believes in supplements–just not for PsA–so I’ll continue following my doctor, thank you very much.

No two people are the same and no two dogs are the same. I’m sure this other greyhound owner would be horrified to know we keep our greys in the basement, even though the whole family spends all of our time down there except to eat and sleep. And we have managed to be paired with the three most oddest duck-dogs out there that seem to be perfectly content to sleep in a room separate from the family. That’s one of the first things I tell people: our greys have generally been the exception and not typical greys.

I know the saying is “walk a mile in my shoes” but even then, they’re your feet and you still won’t experience the exact same thing… ever. I hope I think twice about offering unsolicited advice. Now I have to go apologize to a friend…



  1. Yeah this is something we’re all guilty of, of course. I get it a lot from perfect (or near perfect) strangers about the fibromyalgia, divorce, ADHD (my son), anxiety, depression…everything. I just don’t let it bother me anymore 🙂

    • I think I was just stunned because Cassie was an agonizing decision and not one we made lightly. I got me thinking about my own behavior and thankfully the person I needed to apologize to (an expectant mother) was very understanding. I can’t change the world but I can work on myself and if by blogging about it I make at least one other person think then these lessons are worth it.

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