Coming down to earth from nine days of Baptist meetings in Jamaica had its positive and negative aspects. The upside was finding several ripe tomatoes on my vines, enough squash for multiple meals, and plenty of bell peppers for stir-fry. I’ve eaten a whole tomato at just about every meal since I’ve been back.
The downside was coming home to an antsy dog with an ear infection that needed attention, along with the routine care that comes with harboring animals meant to wander the woods in one’s home. I couldn’t get away from the dog even while in Ocho Rios. The neighbor who was caring for him in my absence sent a text about midweek to confirm he’d had all his shots, as he’d managed to bite another neighbor’s dog while she was walking him.
The neighbor was not happy, but what’s a mid-sized, curious, and relatively high-strung mutt to do when he’s confronted by four aggressive little yappy dogs at once? Apparently the touching of noses was followed by a confusion of leashes and a flying of fur. When I’m home, I know better than to walk anywhere near the yapster pack.
It’s amazing how territorial animals can be. Banjo has a barking fit whenever someone comes near our house, and the two shi-tzus next door run to the wooden fence and raise all kinds of ruckus whenever I try to sit on my own patio — as if I’m threatening their homeland security.
I’m reminded that we humans can be pretty territorial, too, especially when it comes to people who are different from us. In our communities, our clubs, and even our churches, visitors who speak a foreign language, sport a different skin color, or have a non-majority gender orientation may be viewed with suspicion and subtly (or not so subtly) unwelcomed, lest they threaten our comfort level.
And that bites.