The Gift Of Vulnerability, As Expressed Through A Small Grumpy Dog

(NOTE: Based on time elapsed since the posting of this entry, the BS-o-meter calculates this is 7.236% likely to be something that Ferrett now regrets.)

Shane is a dog who doesn’t get a lot of love. Oh, his owners love him, but he’s grumpy and little and he bites – so when the neighbors drop Shane off at my mother’s house while they run errands, Shane tends to be the literal underdog.

Of course I love him.

I’ve been at my mother’s for the past ten days, tending to her after some surgery and some complications, and I’ve been petting Shane a lot even though yes, he nips. And slowly he’s been coming round, hopping up for pets, even though if you actually pick him up he’ll bite.

But today was a special moment: I was laying down on the bed, resting, when I heard a little whine from outside my door.

I looked over; Shane was sitting outside my room, looking plaintive.

“C’mere, little fella,” I said, and he trotted over to be petted, rubbing against me, his whole body vibrating like he really needed this.

And then, after a few minutes, he turned over and let me rub his belly.

And it was a strangely satisfying moment – not because of the belly rub (Shane has a pretty bony belly, truth me told), but because Shane, who is normally a gruff little barker, showed some vulnerability and let me comfort him.

That honesty is a gift.

And I think of how rarely people offer me that opportunity to comfort them – and how much I’ve treasured it when they have.

I think of my sweeties visiting, those days when we should be spending these dwindling moments fucking and visiting and conversating, and instead I’m just bringing them tea because they’re worn out and they trust me enough not to demand that they have to entertain me 24/7 for us to be dating.

I think of my friends when they were supposed to come over for a long visit, and they give me that text that says, “I’m sorry, I’m too peopled out for tonight,” with that subliminal fear of You understand what it’s like to lose an evening to introversion, right and me being able to say Yes, yes I do.

I think of my mom, not making a fuss because yes, I will be sleeping on a cold hospital floor next to her tonight because the hospital is out of sleeping cots.
And she might need someone to get the nurses’ attention during shift changes, but she doesn’t fuss and tell me “You should go home, get a good night’s rest” because she needs someone to guard their well-being and that duty falls to me.

There is an honor in someone being vulnerable to you. There is a pleasant duty in realizing that your relationship consists of more than just good moments – that you have been let into this sacred space where the real shit happens, where the people you loved have stopped fronting and started trusting.

More importantly: There is pride in carrying out that duty successfully. And I think of those moments where I have fallen, where I could no longer be Ferrett The Funny Public Speaker and instead shrunk into Ferrett the Self-Harming Crazy Stutterer, and people loved me regardless and I’m not sure how to trust that and I do.

Today, it was a tiny dog who opened up her needs to me. Last week, it was my mother. But the one act illuminates the other.

And honestly?

I’m just happy to be there for anyone who needs it.


  1. clodia_risa
    Jul 2, 2019

    This was exactly what I needed to read this morning. Thank you.

  2. Anonymous Alex
    Jul 4, 2019

    I keep wanting to say something inspired by this and not coming up with anything worthy. So I’m just here to acknowledge that I was touched.


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