I love Mr. Rogers. As a child I watched his show. My children watched it. We visited the Mr. Rogers Neighborhood exhibit at the Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh. We are going to the movie.
Like Mr. Rogers, Pettigrew has his Neighborhood. There’s territory we cover. Every day. After all, Pettigrew has things on which he needs to check.
Closest to home is Sparky’s house. He looks up her driveway to see if she is heading out. If she is, he will pause to exchange greetings.
Around the corner he’s on alert for a Callie or Will spotting. I’m not sure whom he likes more. He watches the driveway to see if they are getting in or out of the car. He watches the front door. I think he peers in the windows for signs of movement. That’s the only explanation I can come up with for why, when I have seen no one, he tugs me across the street toward their yard and suddenly Will, and sometimes Callie too, burst into the yard to say hello.
Callie is good for some sniffing and maybe a bit of tag, but Will indulges Pettigrew with a long rubdown all the while reassuring him that Will knows Pettigrew must be neglected at home. As if!
Pettigrew’s even affected Will’s buying habits. Will used to offer Pettigrew Callie’s treats. But Pettigrew is a connoisseur. When he wasn’t turning up his muzzle, he would take the tidbit gingerly in his mouth and spit it out.
The last time we ran into Will (Callie was out for the day at doggie day care), he slipped into the house and reappeared with dried liver! Nirvana. I’m not sure who was more pleased with this success.
Another stop, of course, is Stella’s house. Even though her family has been back for a week, Pettigrew still believes we should be visiting her daily. [For more on our weekend with Stella, please see her guest blog, In Her Own Voice.]
Past other homes he’s on alert for aggressive, barking dogs. Peering through the shrubs and fences for signs of movement. Ready to respond in kind.
On our walks, I practice Constant Vigilance, owning and making my own the motto of Mad-Eye Moody from the Harry Potter series. I scan for mail carriers and their trucks and try to remember where all the barky dogs live. If I forget, Pettigrew will be sure to remind me.
When I think of Mr. Rogers, five words come to mind: Respect, Compassion, Acceptance, Love, and Curiosity.
Those words, perhaps in a different order, capture Pettigrew pretty well too, unless, of course, you are a barky dog or a mail carrier, at which point all bets are off.
For more on how Pettigrew has helped me get to know my community, see Pettigrew’s Pals: A reactive dog makes friends.