For the last couple of months, there’s been much talking at home about “Bella.”
One day while walking little Zhibbi in our local park we noticed a new dog.
Big & evil looking “American Bully XL.”
The sort of breed one would normally expect to see only “up to no good” folks with.
The scary dog was slowly moving towards us as we started to feel rather weary and protective of our Zhibbi.
Behind a tiny woman followed, saying out loud: “Bella, Bella come here.” She was so small, Bella looked like a pony in comparison.
After a bit of struggle, she put her enormous baby on the lead and walked away, leaving us utterly petrified and glad no harm had come to Zhibbi.
Not one day has passed since, without us discussing the “Bella situation:” what kind of trouble was this woman in? Why did she choose a breed she clearly cannot control? Was Bella going to attack our beautiful girl? And why would anyone name such a scary dog “Bella?”
Surely the unlike duo meant trouble, both my husband and I concluded.

The woman and Bella became “the others” in our little world.

Because that’s what we all do in our way: we create “the others” in the big world out there.
And since I don’t like “living small,” after much resistance I welcomed this as an opportunity to grow a little.
Earlier on this morning, I decide it was time to go and meet “the woman.” And maybe Bella too, but that depended on whether she was going to show me her teeth or not.
As they both sat under a tree, away from the hot sun, I slowly walked past them trusting Zhibbi would let me know if this was a bad idea.
I am happy to report that not only we are all still alive, but the tiny woman has now got a name.
It turns out that Jade’s ten year old son insisted they should get a dog a couple of years ago. Not a little one. A big one. One of those that would make him feel safe and would scare everybody off. When his mum sensed that perhaps there was more to his request, she chose the scariest breed. Because that is the extent a mother would go to take care of her pups. Human and furry ones alike.
Jade always wanted a sausage dog, but she welcomed Bella like she was a child of her own. As we spoke, the scary dog now not so scary, was rolling herself onto the grass.
She reminded me of a big kid, just wanting to be loved and have fun. I went down to pat her belly and even though I was aware she could take my hand off in one bite, I was very happy of meeting both ladies.
I guess it is true when they say that dogs resembled their owners, and I felt like this very tiny and gentle woman really has a big and soft furry child.
We exchanged numbers and agreed to meet in the park soon. As Jade & Bella walked away, it was nice to sense so much space around.

The others.

When we create “the others” the world becomes small and scary. We dehumanize them and turn them into a threat. When we give them space and hear their story, we realize that all stories are rather similar in the end. If we could take a step towards one another, soon we’d be meeting half way.
And in the middle, the world looks always big.
Beloved friend, may you be a “space giver” and see in the other the seed that awaits to grow. Hidden away under fear and pain, it craves for room, light, and air to sprout freely. Just like the very little seed you carry within your heart too.
And so be it.

Antonia Lyons

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