A new word courtesy of the A to Z challenge team: xenodochy. It means “Reception of strangers; hospitality”. In other words it’s something Missy and me don’t really practice.
Not because we hate people (well, in fairness we don’t love them either) but because we’re not in the habit of receiving people in our home.
It wasn’t a conscious decision but somehow our home of the past 2.5 years has become a cocoon. But it’s not necessarily good.
Both humans and dogs, we have our coping mechanisms to protect ourselves from trauma and pain that we experienced before. Some become angry, aggressive, trying to hurt others before they can hurt them, others retreat to their own world avoiding situations where they can get hurt.
We’re both avoiders. That’s why our bond is so strong and special because the one thing we trust with our whole heart and soul, is that the we won’t hurt each other no matter what happens. To me, this gave strength and confidence to open up to other dogs.
Just this week we met a lady and her dachshund after almost a year of not crossing paths in person (I did smell them a couple times in their neighbourhood), and she pointed out how I changed:
“Look at little Mia, she has become so confident!”
I was surprised she remembered my name, and very proud that my behaviour was so clearly different. I gave her a courtesy “huff”, my special happy grunt that made her laugh.
“She’s getting cuter every day,” she said before waving goodbye – the little dachshund pulled her away, either from jealousy or from just wanting to confirm the lingering smell of that fox I already checked out two houses before. (Fox was long gone but was a regular visitor in that particular garden.)
I knew Missy was proud of me, too, and I wanted to feel the same for her but the only time she takes me to the company of other humans is either her work or her family. There should be more. She needs more.
So maybe this xenodochy thing is something we need to work on: to have the safety of our home while having people over. Let’s see if I can get Missy on board.