Two rowdy boys, about 4 and 7, came in with their father and the biggest most hyper great Dane. These two boys were terrorizing the hospital cat, they were egging on their own dog, they were getting into all the brochures and flicking them all over the office.
The youngest boy came over to me, and looked at Jack.
“It’s OK,” I said, “You can pet him. His name is Jack. What’s yours?”
He told me his name and began to pat Jack really softly – so much softer than I thought he would (and so much gentler than he had his own dog). Jack rolled over onto his back.
“He loves belly rubs,” I said and so very gently the little boy began to rub his belly while talking to him. After a few minutes, Jack moved his face towards the little boy to lick him.
“He loves to give kisses” I said. And then the little boy looked at me and said, “Does he like to get them?”
That question took me off guard and made me smile. Here was this rowdy kid, destroying the cat, the floors, the shelves and probably his own fathers patience but he was thoughtful – it wasn’t just about getting for him, he wanted to know about giving, too.
“He loves getting kisses” I said. And the little boy put his hands on Jacks side and began to softly give him little kisses.
We left shortly after. I, with the reminder to not judge, and Jack with a lot of kisses.