It’s come to my attention that not everyone knows the rules to waving to pets. This is not something you just guess at. There is protocol. There are rules. It is an artform. It is a science.
Let’s go over the importance of waving to pets by highlighting a story where the rules were not adhered to.
I was outside with my dog. She was sniffing around, doing her business. Or scoping out a spot to do her business in. Across the street, I saw a man, 40’s or 50’s, walking his small dog. I am in my 30’s, if it helps you visualize. My dog is small too.
So, here we are, two adults, both out with our small dogs in the morning, on either side of the road. As a dog owner, sensing another dog owner, you usually acknowledge that the two of you are one in the same and exchange greetings in some form. I waved. He waved back.
Then, I looked at his cute, little dog. I commenced with how I wave to the dog. I slightly hunched over, maybe just a few inches. This does nothing practical, I am by no means closer to the dog. But it is the form one takes when beginning a wave to someone’s pet. My hunch… and my eyes redirecting towards the dog, signifies that I will now be acknowledging the dog.
I do not do my regular-full-hand-wave-at-a-human. I contort my hand into pet-waving form. The pinky finger and ring finger have been deemed useless, clutched up into the palm of my hand. I press my index finger and middle finger together, as if I am making one large finger. I stiffen my thumb. And I repeatedly bring the index-middle-finger down while bringing the thumb up in unison, resulting in what looks like an alligator’s mouth quickly opening and closing over and over.
I pair this with one of the classic “waving-at-a-pet” noises. I did not opt for the kissing sounds. I went with the more manly tongue-clicking noise. I will attempt to spell it out for you. “Tt-tt-tt-tt-tt-tt” similar to a “tsk-tsk” but far less judgmental.
Now, I have done this, the dog looked on, and what did the man do? He waved back to me in the same waving-to-a-human fashion that he just used!
No! I wasn't waving at you, man! I was waving at the dog! I just did a real cutesy wave at your cute, little dog… and YOU returned it, as if I was clicking my tongue at you and making little baby waves at YOU!
What he SHOULD HAVE DONE, if he wanted to emulate his dog waving back at me, he should have also hunched over like I was, and then said something to his dog like, “You want to wave back?” Or “You want to say hi?” And THEN done a similar cutesy baby wave back at me. Representing that he was waving FOR the dog.
Now, instead, he is waving back at me, while I do cutesy waves at his dog. But for anyone passing by, for anyone who just walked by and has no context, they’re just going to see two full-grown adults standing on opposite sides of the road waving at each other… and ONE OF THEM is doing cutesy baby waves… and that one is ME.
So, do you see how his lack of understanding or lack of practice with the correct rules to waving to pets made both of us look silly… especially me?
So, do yourself a favor… learn the rules. Practice good form. Be aware of the situations and how to navigate them. If you don’t, you can easily turn a cute situation into a horrid one. Because people did walk by during this fiasco. They did see a man waving to me and they did see me waving in return… with my baby-alligator, tongue-clicking wave. I would never wave to a human being over the age of 18 months in such a way.
That’s a baby wave. That’s an animal wave. And now people will think I wave to full-grown adults in this manner. And THAT is just unacceptable.
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Excellent work. Looking forward to reading more!
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