Let me picture a situation;
Me, a white Dutch woman and my dog in a islamic desert country.
In Holland most people don’t have big gardens or yards where we can keep our dogs. So most dogs are inside the house and part of the family.
For the usuall toilet needs, we take the dog outside, into public area’s. Again, there is no space for gardens and yards. Besides Dutch people grow up with the idea that you don’t befoul ‘your nest’. Most ‘good’ dog owners will not allow the dog to do his needs on places where people tend to walk/play or sit and pick up the poo and throw it away in special bags, so it won’t bother not-dog-owners. The rain will flush away the rest.
Now in Qatar. I learned most people consider dogs as dirty and scary, maybe some consider the dog as a friend, but certainly not as a family member.
The stares Dibbles and I get, when I walk him outside on an empty plot of land where he can run free, are very uncomfortable.
It took me a while before I figured out that it’s absolute uncommon for a woman to walk outside alone and then there was the dog! They could not picture him worth to take risks of, yes of what?? I avoid crowded and public spaces anyway, as dogs are nowhere allowed.
And then I saw a guy how he put out his shoes and wriggled his feet in pure enjoyment in that little piece of free grass where Dibbles just…….. well you get the picture.
It opened up something in my mind, why do I let my dog do his toilet in public places? I could see the good part of why people keep their dogs in gardens or yards and not train them to do their needs outside.
Yet I’m convinced it’s better for dog and boss to have a walk for at least half an hour everyday. A dog needs physical exercise even more then us humans as they don’t have to work at all anymore to get their food. But I also know not everybody has got the space to keep the dog in the yard.
So there’s the dilemma;
Cultural sensitive as I am, I see and understand why people, who don’t own a dog, don’t like dogs in public/open areas, even if they clean up. On the other hand I also know how beautiful it is to share the friendship and love with a dog. I treasure my walks outside everyday and taking him everywhere I go (In Holland that is and my dog is well trained) He makes me feel save and is my ambassador to other people.
If I would act cultural sensitive I would stop my walks and train Dibbles to do his toilet in a catbin(??), or something like that.
Someway that would be stupid as Dibbles and I would both suffer from not enough exercise and outdoor experience and won’t become a happier and open minded person, as I would hate the whingers who made me imprisson my dog.
So we must think of a cultural smart/intelligent way in which we consider other people as my -wigly toe grass man- but also my needs.
That’s what Cultural Intelligence is about; not just about management, team work and politics, but also about all the small things in life, about living together.