A Weeping Woman, A Girl And A Three-Legged Dog

I’ve taken lately to spending some mornings upstairs in my local McDonald’s. It’s warmer up there, away from the constantly opening automatic door, and it’s a lot quieter, too. Most of the time I have the room to myself while I drink a coffee and read a book.

Yesterday morning, however, a woman came upstairs, placed her tray down before her on the table and took a seat. As she opened the sachet of milk to pour into her tea, something tore a sob from her. At that very moment she became aware of me, and held up a hand that quite clearly said I’m alright as I am, leave me be.

The gesture allowed no approach, so I simply nodded. She continued with her morning meal, her mind evidently focused on some inner conflict. I continued to read for a while, then finished a final chapter and rose to leave. As I put on my jacket I looked out of the nearby window, down onto my town outside, and saw a child-a young girl, with presumably her mother. Suddenly the girl snatched her hand away from the adult and hurried towards a man with a dog, ignoring the calls to come back.

The dog was one of those Staffordshire bull type dogs, nothing remarkable in that, but one of its front legs was missing. It gave a shuffle-hop as it moved, and the girl, obviously moved by the sight, crouched down and gave it a hug, wrapping her arms around it and holding it close to her chest. The man was speaking, perhaps telling the girl’s mother that the dog was friendly. The dog stood there, rapidly wagging its tail.

When I turned I saw that the woman who had been weeping was also watching this encounter, a thin smile upon her face. On making eye contact with me she quickly turned her attention back to her breakfast. Perhaps that girl’s act had moved her, gave her fresh insight and perspective. Who knows?

I left but kept thinking of that scenario: the woman and then the girl, the weeping and then the embrace.

We are all in the same boat here. Some are broken; some are ready to help others put the pieces back together again. But I think it has to be by consent-we have to be invited in.

I had a conversation once with a local priest.

“I thought there’d be more vegetarians within the church,” I’d said. Apart from myself, I knew of only one other.


“Well, I think that, both morally and spiritually, the strong have a responsibility towards the weak. Be they people or animals. Also, if, as we are told, that we are called to lead a life of compassion, then I don’t know how we can if we are eating the flesh of slaughtered animals.”

I’m no activist. And it is not my place to moralise, and far be it for me to preach to a clergyman! It was just a thought I’d had. He replied that maybe it was a deeper kind of faith that I practised.

But I was thinking beyond religious faith, more as a rule of thumb as we go about life. Of course faith should inform all areas of your life, not something you pick up again when you go through the church doors on a Sunday to set back down again on the way out.

We can attempt to live a compassionate life, but we can’t go around forcing compassion upon others. That woman was quite clear about what she needed and wanted at that time.

And I think she may have got some of it unexpectedly, from watching that little girl and the three-legged dog from a window in the local McDonald’s.

16 thoughts on “A Weeping Woman, A Girl And A Three-Legged Dog

  1. Oh my, what a morning so filled with the variety of human experience!

    And as a personal aside, I do truly hope one day humans will come to love all animals…not just the ones they don’t eat.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. This post has been waiting to be read on a leisurely morning where I could give it the attention it clearly needs…I’m glad I waited.
    Beautifully written, its message is sent forth with no pre-packaged insistence upon what the reader should think…
    So in tune with the phrase: “We can attempt to live a compassionate life, but we canโ€™t go around forcing compassion upon others.”
    I, too, am no activist – yet as an American there is this almost unwritten rule that if you don’t approach social injustice in certain activist-ways, you’re just one of ‘them’ (apathetic-establishment)…I think you Brits have a more balanced innate ‘cultural’ approach; even if my Italian roots would go crazy at having to be suppressed in the name of ‘propriety’ HA! (no offense intended, please understand-and I think you do)

    BTW: your Micky D’s sounds like a classy place – upstairs? Cool.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Yes I do ๐Ÿ™‚
      For the activist part, I do think that with organisations/governments/people etc that oppresses or marginalises certain types of people it is wrong to be apathetic. It is good to have a voice. That is where the strong having a responsibility towards the weak comes into play.
      I had in mind the more personal, one to one situations-it is not for me to tell someone they should give up meat and become vegetarian.

      And if someone like that upset woman tells me she doesn’t want my help, I guess I should accept that and respect her wishes.

      I should say, that the irony of thinking about vegetarianism while in McDonald’s is not lost on me-even if I was only drinking coffee ๐Ÿ™‚

      Liked by 3 people

  3. Andy, you have the most interesting encounters. What a sweet little girl to be so moved by the dog. I also wonder if that little girl helped restore the woman’s faith in humanity.

    I love that this child did something, rather than stand there pitying the dog. She reached out, and perhaps helped heal the weeping woman.

    Liked by 2 people

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